Daily Archives: January 20, 2012

Novel Failings of a Non-Baking Mom

Middle was asked to go to a friend’s house.  He excitedly relayed a fond memory from sleep-overs past at this particular home.  Namely that the mom makes dessert.

This triggered a memory for me: one in which Eldest told my sister (after he spent the night there baking dozens of cookies) that his mom (ie, me) didn’t know how to make cookies, only buy them.

For the record, I do know how to bake and can whip up a mean pumpkin pie–homemade crust and all.  I also only ever buy Oreos for my kids,  even though Eldest made it sound like our pantry is filled with boxes and bags and containers of these sugar-filled treats.

Early on in our marriage, Dear Hubby and I simply ate our meals sans dessert.  It was a habit we haven’t broken.  Neither of us are huge cookie fans, so batches of them mold well before they are consumed.  Ditto for cake.

In fact, we don’t even make cake for birthdays anymore because nobody in our house really eats them.

I’m a bad mom.  A failed mom.  A dessertless mom.

But…but, none of our kids are chubby, they devour zucchini and think that pomegranates are candy.  They are deprived, but not too much, as every once in a while, I will bake as a special treat.  They eat a little of it and we usually throw the rest away.

In other words, while they like desserts, their love for them is more ideological than real.

In my mind, great novels are zucchini and pomegranates.  They are roast beef and baby baked potatoes, chicken breasts and salads.  They are rare desserts on special occasions.

All the way from word choice to plot points and characterization, stable and steady is the key.  Solid, filling, healthy.  Then when we use an adverb, it really packs a punch.

Desserts–love them or hate them–too much is never a good thing.

As a reader, what do you consider the dessert of a novel?  What little things sweeten the books you love?  What makes a novel hard to choke down?

As a writer, what is your stand-by dessert, the one that usually needs cut to lean up your manuscript?

One of my shortcomings is packing too much into a tiny space.  Because I write about heavy issues, I have to be very careful not to make my novels issue heavy.