As a cook, I came into this inheritance of different traditions, of the American tradition, my Jewish tradition, my mother's family and the family she grew up in. My cooking kind of emerged from both a written inheritance, actual recipes written down by my mother and grandmother, and also in the cookbooks that became important to me, and I also involve my own approach, my own changes in recipe.
I think in a way, that's sort of what you're engaged in doing as a writer, too. You come into this inheritance of things that have been done and the ways in which they have been done, and people who influence you sort of pass along what they think is important, and what they think you need to know how to do. But over time you begin to make changes, what you think are improvements or alterations, because you like the way it comes out better. In that sense, there's less a question of rejecting or accepting the past, less an anxiety of influence kind of thing, than there is an evolution of your own culinary style as applied to language and storytelling.
You tend to make the things you like to eat. For example, I don't care for fish terribly much, so I don't waste a lot of time trying to figure out how to prepare it. As a writer, I try to write books that I think I would love to read. You cook the foods you'd love to eat, you write the books you'd love to read.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I love this quote from Michael Chabon about the parallels between writing and cooking: