I’ve never really had a hobby. My grandmother was an accomplished needlewoman (would needleperson be more politically correct?), but I never got the hang of crocheting or knitting or embroidery. I don’t scrapbook. As a matter of fact, I haven’t put any pictures in albums since around 1985 (the rest are in those photo boxes you can buy in Hobby Lobby.) I don’t collect things—unless books count…
The one thing I have always liked to do is cook (it followed naturally on the heels of my liking to eat…) And write. When I began my Gourmet De-Lite mystery series, I decided to combine my two loves by creating a heroine who cooks for a living…in Gigi’s case, healthy, light but gourmet food.
The stove and I were relative strangers until I got married at 21, and my husband and I had to feed ourselves not being able to afford take-out every night. I started with a “Make it Now, Bake it Later” Cookbook. We discovered one casserole we really liked (now that I think about it…ugh! Canned tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, pasta and creamed corn) so we decided to try another one. Well, with the experience I now have under my belt, I would know better but back then the fact that the recipe called for several slices of WHITE bread and several cans of those teeny tiny shrimp didn’t set off any alarm bells. It should have. Moral of the story: always keep a frozen pizza on hand for culinary disasters.
Then I discovered Julia Child—her show and her cookbooks. Her recipes are pages and pages long, but they are a textbook on how to cook. I started with the simplest dishes (hard boiled eggs anyone?) and worked my way up to actually boning a whole chicken, combining the chopped meat with other ingredients and stuffing it all back into the chicken skin for a really wow dish.
Now that I’m writing two series for Berkley (I write the Sweet Nothings Lingerie series under my pen name of Meg London), I don’t have as much time to play in the kitchen. But thanks to so many years spent learning the basics, I can chop an onion in no time, whip up a sauce without having it separate and know at a glance whether a recipe is going to be a winner or a big yuck!
What are your hobbies?