What’s on the menu?

Alas, I blog a bit late this week. Between sunburns, earaches, evil sinuses, teaching, and lab work, I felt like the White Rabbit. Well, if I’m honest, I always seem to feel like the White Rabbit as he races through Wonderland chanting, “I’m late, I’m late…”. In addition, my befuddled brain, absorbed with the derivations of hydrophobic descriptors for molecular modeling (made your brain go into sleep mode too, didn’t it?) failed to latch upon a topic. Until….


Have I mentioned I love food? Granted, sometimes it’s a love/hate relationship, where I love the food in question but it doesn’t love me back. Gluten and dairy are the haters. Shame on them.

In case my list of hobbies discussed in prior posts gave no indication, I adore variety. It is the spice of life, the saying goes. Which, circles back to food. I never could understand people who only like one certain type of food, or only ever order vanilla or chocolate ice-cream. What about all the other marvelous flavors?

Once upon a time I was married. Since I’m game to try most foods once, I ventured into trying Indian food, which was my ex’s ethnicity. I added it to the list of likes. After I got tired of seasoning my cooking attempts with Worcestershire sauce I decided to try cooking Indian as the ex complained incessantly about “American” fare. Sure, it took a few not quite right attempts and familiarization with the spices, but I can proudly say that I can toss together a curry or make a paratha quite well. My repertoire, in fact, exceeds that of my Pakistani friend whom I knew from high school. She joked that I was not allowed to inform her husband of what I could cook or else she might have to learn to cook it as well.

Especially after Smarty Pants, Miss Diva, and Miss Drama came along, I mixed it up more. I added the dreaded “American” foods which were more palatable for small kids, along with Italian, Asian, and Mexican. I began baking as well. I loved it all. Kids being kids, many things were hit or miss, and often they changed their minds with as much regularity as I changed diapers.

I can claim at least a partial success with the kids. They eat most vegetables, a fair amount of fruits, and don’t automatically refuse a new dish, well, at least that is true of the older two. I give Miss Drama another year or two before she realizes her negotiations always end with her eating everything I served her.

In the spirit of the concept of viewing America as a melting pot, I have no problems pairing dishes from various cultures. Why not?  For example, tonight’s dinner was a chicken curry with peas served over Basmati rice. Dessert? Dutch crust apple pie (Gluten and dairy free).

I approach writing in much the same fashion as I do cooking. They are both creative adventures and I see no reason not to include something simply because it isn’t standard for a specific genre. If it works, why not? Too much can kill a dish or a story, of course, but I prefer to take a chance rather than settle for mediocre cookie-cutter fare. Does it make it harder to classify, whether a meal or story? Yes, but I enjoy blurring the lines. Maybe by doing so I’ll open someone’s eyes to the wonders that lay beyond their usual picks.


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