Cooking Lessons

It has been cold, cold, cold here and pasta sounded like the perfect dinner. I had a butternut squash and found a recipe for squash and spinach lasagna (p. 450 in the 2007 Cooking Light Annual Recipes cookbook).

And it was delicious — but it had countless steps. First, I had to peel, dice and roast the squash.

Then I had to saute the spinach with shallots. Next, I prepared a white sauce and grated parmesan cheese.

Thank goodness for no-boil noodles!

During assembly, I popped bread into the oven to bake. (Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes will make you a believer!)

While the bread cooled, I popped the lasagna into the oven.

Finally, voila! We had a perfect winter dinner.

What wasn’t so perfect was the kitchen. I’d used up nearly every bowl, measuring cup, saucepan and saute pan. What a mess!

It did occur to me, as I ate that tasty meal, that my evening’s efforts were not unlike a typical writing day. In order to translate that lovely idea in my brain to the page, I have to use a lot of tools: my imagination, of course, my computer, my thesaurus, the other books in my library, my memories, my life experiences — well, you get the picture. And most times I feel as if all I’m doing is making a big mess, just as I did cooking dinner last night.

So next time I get frustrated with the writing process, I hope I remember this lasagna recipe, which was, like story-telling, a heck of a lot of work but for a most delicious outcome.

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