Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Who Wants a Snack?


Terry Shames here, answering this week’s question: Share your favorite writing snack or drink – one that gets you moving when you're stuck or allows you to relax after a time spent “butt in chair.” 

I suspect a lot of people would say chocolate, but although I like chocolate, I don’t think of it a “writing” snack. It’s more of a rare treat. In fact, I don’t think of food as a motivator for writing. Not to say I won’t reach for a snack, but not to get myself moving when I’m stuck. It’s just for something to do while I’m taking a breath. 

My favorite snack is nuts—particularly macadamia nuts. I eat them by the handful. But I’ve also gone through my pecan, almond, and walnut phases. And peanuts. And peanut butter eaten with a spoon. And pistachios. And sunflower seeds. See a theme here? 

But really, when it comes to snacks, I’m not picky. I’ll gobble whatever is handy. Today I ate half an avocado with Sriracha mayonnaise. IMO avocados are the perfect food. 

 As for beverage, I’m a tea drinker until five o’clock, after which I become a wine drinker. 

 I can’t say that any of these things “get me moving,” though. I do mindless eating, and hardly notice if I’m snacking. I’m much more likely to be nudged by a strenuous walk. I once had a thorny problem with a character who showed up and I didn’t know what she was there for. So I decided to walk up the steep hill near my house—and to keep walking until I figured it out.

I came back over an hour later, tired but satisfied. The answer had suddenly popped into my head. 

 That doesn’t happen with food. I’m actually glad, because if it did, I’d probably weigh 500 pounds from dashing for the food every time I got stuck or felt tired from working out a ticklish situation in a book. 

 That isn’t to say that I don’t use food for relaxing—but it’s in the cooking, not the eating. I love to cook, and no matter how stressed I am, cooking calms me. Last week my dear little dog, Lucy, died.

I invited my son and his girlfriend over for dinner. My husband protested that I shouldn’t have to cook after such a traumatic event. I told him that on the contrary, it was pretty much the only thing that would make me feel better. 

The last few weeks of Lucy’s life, I made her food myself, rather than buying dog food. It was a labor of love and I felt better when I went to all the trouble to cook it and process it into palatable meals. 

 An astute person could probably tell how stressed I am by how elaborate a meal I’m cooking. During Covid, I cooked. 

And cooked.

I cooked things I’d never tried before, sometimes dropping off food at friends’ houses “just because.” So for me, food is not the great motivator…but cooking can be.


Dietrich Kalteis said...

The pies look great, Terry — and I wish I lived next door. And I'm so sorry to hear about Lucy.

Susan C Shea said...

Good point - sometimes having to be in the present with an activity clears the mind of rubbish and makes room for that brilliant idea to jump in!