You ever have one of those weeks, or months for that matter, where you just can’t seem to find your voice? Words are typed and fill the page with little depth behind them; you stare at the computer screen, imploring it to help you out a little, to push you in a direction, to give you a prompt, anything to generate words.
The last month has been one long string of writers block for me. Mostly, I’ve wasted away hours, tinkering away on already finished (or mostly finished) essays, proofreading and editing them with a fine comb.
One thing getting me through this stretch of creative emptiness is a good book. I’m not sure what took me so long to get around to reading Ruth Reichl. I guess I sort of go through phases of what I like to read and while she was always on the back burner. And then, while perusing the library catalog, I came across Tender At The Bone. It took no time to tear through it and pick up her second book Comfort Me With Apples.
Ruth has a talent for food and for writing that I can only hope I will achieve. She is witty and honest, and the stories are heartwarming and often humorous. She makes the reader feel as though they are right alongside her, sharing in the experience. I was fascinated to see all the famous people she met and how much they cared for and influenced the way she felt about food.
I found myself grinning while flipping pages, antsy to see what happened next. Her writing has kept me happily reading and given me an artistic push, in that I kind of want to be able to channel her while writing; have the humor, sincerity, care, and intimacy that she puts into writing, to be able to talk about and describe food as if I had some inexpressible, relationship with it.
Throughout her books, she tells tales of tribulation, but reminds us that life is always full of surprises – and there is always hope. That even though your best is not always good enough – and despite giving it all you got in those times, in the end, you just pick yourself up and then move on.
Food is my most reliable companion for making sense of the world. Food is never simply just provisions. Food can tell stories and sooth souls, it can make you understand and appreciate.
Each chapter in her books include a well-loved recipe, and when I came across her comforting recipe for Mushroom Soup, one which she describe as, “The most soothing soup I know, with no sharp edges to jar the palate, no sneaky unexpected spices, it’s the perfect prescription for those in need of solace,” I knew I had my remedy for writers block as well as a perfect recipe for posting.
(Adapted from Ruth Reichl recipe in Comfort Me With Apples)
1/2 lb. mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 stick butter
1 small onion, finely diced
4 TBSP flour
1 C. beef broth
2 C. half-half
1/8 TSP nutmeg
1 TSP Fresh Thyme
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste.
Melt butter in large pot. Add onion and sauté until golden. Add mushrooms and cook until brown. Stir in flour; then broth; stir frequently. Heat half and half in separate pot or in microwave and add to mushrooms. Add salt and pepper and nutmeg and bay leaf. Cook on low for 10 mins. Do not boil. Remove bay leaf and purée with immersion blender or food processor, until smooth.