MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 7:12 pm
Thanks! Oh, I could use a title too. And I have to not look at it for a few minutes but if I could cut out 20 words that’s good too.
I was the original Bride Who Knew Nothing. (Sorry, Jamie Geller. You’re going to have to trust me on this one.) SAT scores meant diddly when it came to feeding the two of us. But somehow, no one starved. Like monkeys and typewriters, give me enough years in the kitchen and I might just achieve some level of competence.
So here I was, thousands of dozens of cookies, and chicken legs, and all sorts of salads, and throw in a few fish sticks and hot dogs and jars of pickles and a surprising variety of decent meals, later, resting on some laurels, when, I first started to tweak. Not much. Just adding some of this, and some of that, and using a little less sugar, and my new bff chocolate extract. Yes!
We’ve all tweaked. Ever since the blintzes of the proverbial water-carrier who desperately wanted to taste this delicacy, after sniffing and drooling and pining for them nearly every time he delivered water to the rosh kahal. (Merciful G-d in Heaven, he gets them every day. Please, once in my life!)
His wife does her best. Eggs? Too expensive. “I’ll take them without eggs! I just want to taste blintzes!” he cries. Cottage cheese. Milk. Dear Shprintzele sets the eggless, cheeseless, milkless blintzes before Berele. His expression is one of confusion. “This is blintzes? Meh.”
My shallotless, vermouthless version of KBD Brings it Home Itai’s Four Onion chicken might just make Susie Fishbein weep. (It’s tasty nonetheless.) But I continue to tweak, and then I decide to take things up a notch. I will enter a food contest! Win fame and fortune and the respect I deserve. They want a chocolate chocolate chip cookie recipe? I got this.
Conventional wisdom dictates that for a recipe to be considered original, there must be three changes made. (Halving a 3 ingredient recipe doesn’t count.) Maybe… I can make this recipe healthier. Swap some of the margarine for oil. Put in some ground oatmeal and take out the equivalent in flour. And, the pasty resistance: Oatmeal might dry it out so – Hashem loves me, I just came across this info the week before – I add some cornstarch to make the cookies soft.
1. 2. 3. We’re good. I’m about to submit. If life has soundtracks, mine would have been playing horror movie “don’t do it!!” music. But alas, it doesn’t. I hit send.
10 days later, I get a call. I. Am. One. Of. 3. Winners. I won! I won?? Really? Now comes the fun part. The fame, if not the fortune. My interlocuter asks me to say a few words about my style in the kitchen and I babble excitedly.
Next week I rip the wrapping off the magazine and paw my way to The Page.
I do not recognize myself in the ultimate blurb. “I’m an inveterate tweaker. My specialty is cookies. Everyone loves my cookies. My kids. Other people’s kids. A family simcha isn’t complete without my cookies.”
(Can I sue, after I get my prize?) But this is not why the soundtrack voice told me to stop.
I get a call from my sister-in-law gushing about the cookies.”They’re a little flat but it must be my oven or something.” I debate asking her if she’d like the real recipe. Then, between shuttered eyes I look at the page again. It is nice to see my name in print. I scan the recipe and my stomach sinks.
I left out the cocoa.
Not one or two tablespoons.
Half a cup.
I contemplate the Witness Protection Program. A long weekend like 3 or 4 long to go help my father. Then I take a deep breath and do what I gotta do. I call the food editor and let her know. “But they were good that way,” she protests. I beg her to issue a correction. Which appears the next week.
I can’t say I don’t tweak anymore but now? Now I describe myself as a curator. Of some great recipes. Which I’m happy to share.
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 7:54 pm
Oh my g-d, Fayge! I can’t. This piece is snort-worthy of laughter. Fiction or non-fiction?
My only critique is your use of references readers may fail to understand. Like monkeys and typewriters. Or the Bride Who Knew Nothing by Jamie Geller. Or KBD Brings it Home Itai’s Four Onion chicken. Even the mashal of Shprintzele’s eggless, cheeseless, and milkless blintzes had me stop in my tracks and ask “What the huh?!”
But knowing you (and your writing style), I had a very fun and delightful read.
A suggested title for your story? I don’t know why Tweak Goes the Weasel comes to mind, but it does. Maybe it has to do with the talk of all the monkeys.
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 8:09 pm
Love. This is such an exciting read!
Echoing FF: Fiction or non-fiction?
What is KBD Brings it Home Itai’s Four Onion chicken? but I think the reference to Shprintzele’s blintzes is clear enough because you include the story, and anyways, who doesn’t know it?? 🙂
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 8:10 pm
That title’s getting the wheels turning.
Forgive me for saying but it could be you have to be a little older? (Or maybe you are? Or maybe I’m offending everyone who got every reference but doesn’t consider herself old?)
Or, I have to rework this. Possible.
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 8:12 pm
The question is who’s your target audience.
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 8:13 pm
Wow! Fayge, you got me laughing! Love it!
I know I’m repeating, but I’m also waiting… fiction or non-fiction???
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 8:30 pm
[quote quote=20440]Love. This is such an exciting read! Echoing FF: Fiction or non-fiction? What is KBD Brings it Home Itai’s Four Onion chicken? but I think the reference to Shprintzele’s blintzes is clear enough because you include the story, and anyways, who doesn’t know it?? ?[/quote]
Humor. Pretty much non-fiction.
That chicken is a recipe that calls for shallots and vermouth ;-D OK, you could probably look it up. Over the years it’s evolved in my house.
And I’m gratified that people do know the story. But I figured I should do a quick version of it.
Edited to add: Target audience is ahem women of a certain age.
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 10:36 pm
I forgot. It has a name, but it was on an earlier draft. It’s If You Give a Bubby a Cookie Contest
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 10:46 pm
This was funny. Yeah I didn’t either get most of the references, but I enjoyed.
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 10:57 pm
[quote quote=20464]This was funny. Yeah I didn’t either get most of the references, but I enjoyed.[/quote]
Re the monkeys: there’s a concept of if you put enough monkeys with typewriters in a room, and leave them there long enough, maybe a few eons, they’ll type out Shakespeare. Not our mesorah but for people who don’t want to factor in a Creator, it works. So given enough time in the kitchen, even I would bang out something passable.
Ah, googling. It’s called The Infinite Monkey Theorem. Actually, now that I read it, the idea is it’s not THAT likely, just theoretically possible. Maybe that’s even better. (Hope no mathematicians are weeping over this. I guess I have a gift.)
Yes, the pancakes story is a classic.
The KBD ( we all know that’s Kosher by Design, right? I got rid of 2 more words that way) recipe is by no means iconic, though it’s a fine recipe, but it’s one I’ve let’s just say made my own. I do this sometimes. The cookbook mechabros may or may not want to be linked with the results.
Any other references?
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 11:08 pm
Yep, that explains it, thanks 🙂
<p style=”text-align: left;”>I’m wondering if writing “monkeys on typewriters” might be more clear than “and”… Just a tip. And no I did not get that KBD meant Kosher by Design even though I have definitely heard of it. Heard of the Monkey Theorem too, even while failing to make the connection the first time around.</p>
Maybe it’s just my own slow brain…
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 11:24 pm
I’m a cookbook aficionado and didn’t know that KBD alludes to Kosher by Design. Guess I’m also having a slow day…
MemberJuly 26, 2020 at 11:26 pm
[quote quote=20467]Yep, that explains it, thanks ? <p style=”text-align: left;”>I’m wondering if writing “monkeys on typewriters” might be more clear than “and”… Just a tip. And no I did not get that KBD meant Kosher by Design even though I have definitely heard of it. Heard of the Monkey Theorem too, even while failing to make the connection the first time around.</p> Maybe it’s just my own slow brain…[/quote]
Changed the “and” to “on.”
And I’ll spell out KBD. I’m already over the word count, what’s another 2 words.
MemberJuly 27, 2020 at 1:08 am
I would have simply edited, for some reason it’s not consistently an option. I just wanted to mention that I’m not totally sure who the target demographic is, it might be broader. But I don’t need to muzzle my middle-aged voice.
MemberJuly 27, 2020 at 4:19 am
This is really funny and touches a topic that, in my opinion could use some good-natured teasing. We’ve begun to take our food sooo00 seriously!! I caught almost all the references and I’m not middle-aged so you’ve definitely cast your audience net wider than that. (Not saying by how much!)
AdministratorJuly 28, 2020 at 10:17 am
About not getting references – serious readers can often deal with things not in our age bracket – we pick stuff up by – well, reading…
Culture is another thing, though. Especially the BT – FFB gap, both ways, BC each grow up with such different concepts.
So I guess we just need to find the balance between making things clear but not over-explaining, keep in mind our target audience and hope that if someone doesn’t understand something, they won’t be shy to ask someone or look it up.
AdministratorJuly 28, 2020 at 1:00 pm
Fayge, love, love, LOVE!!!! Not only is it written with wonderful humor that is both tongue-in-cheek and self-deprecating without being self-flagellating, it is a subject that SOOOO many women can relate to (raising my hand here! :-))!
Since you are asking for specific feedback and since you need to cut a little bit, I would experiment with taking out the water-carrier story. It seemed to stop up the flow of the piece just a little bit as the reader’s attention is diverted from you to the water carrier’s blintzes. Instead, you can just make a nice segue sentence after “We’ve all tweaked” to drop us into the meat of the anecdote.
I hope you’re submitting this somewhere–it is so precious!!
MemberJuly 28, 2020 at 4:45 pm
[quote quote=20528]Fayge, love, love, LOVE!!!! Not only is it written with wonderful humor that is both tongue-in-cheek and self-deprecating without being self-flagellating, it is a subject that SOOOO many women can relate to (raising my hand here! :-))! Since you are asking for specific feedback and since you need to cut a little bit, I would experiment with taking out the water-carrier story. It seemed to stop up the flow of the piece just a little bit as the reader’s attention is diverted from you to the water carrier’s blintzes. Instead, you can just make a nice segue sentence after “We’ve all tweaked” to drop us into the meat of the anecdote. I hope you’re submitting this somewhere–it is so precious!![/quote]
Thanks. If it’s accepted (yes, it’s submitted) and I have to stick to a strict word count, I’ll happily cut it out, though I do like it. But I’m at peace with its omission thanks to your opinion.
Now I really have to plan another, assuming it’s either accepted, or they like my style but would like something else. I remember an elementary teacher who just had stuff happen to her – airplane engines failing, even a roller coaster ride – that she could talk up amazingly. I’m not quite like that but I guess I need to get in touch with my inner Mrs. B.
Which reminds me of something else, definitely worth starting another thread for, not sure which forum. 2 years ago I wrote a kids story that I thought was great, that no one accepted. Yet in the intervening 2 years, I never had the inspiration for another story with this protagonist. It makes me feel like I’m not a real writer, and also I need to sit down one day and think about it.
The title for that thread could be, how do people churn out stuff regularly.
MemberJuly 29, 2020 at 4:07 pm
You have a really unique writing style, Fayge – I love your dry humour! I’m still pretty young so I didn’t get lots of the references, yet I was glued till the very end.
MemberJuly 31, 2020 at 3:39 pm
MemberAugust 2, 2020 at 6:29 am
Love! So funny! And I got the references even though I’m not that old (wait, I’m 28- is that old? not sure- ten years ago I thought that was ancient!)
MemberAugust 2, 2020 at 4:13 pm
Elisheva, if this were the middle ages, or 3rd world countries, yes, you’re getting there. I prefer to think that middle age is 41-80. (You do the math.)
AdministratorAugust 6, 2020 at 12:51 am
[quote quote=20538]The title for that thread could be, how do people churn out stuff regularly.[/quote]
Your wish is my command, ma’am! 🙂 Great topic for a thread, and I’m sure we have lots to say about it! Right this way, ladies:
MemberOctober 16, 2020 at 1:23 pm
<p>Fayge, I don’t know why I’m late to the party (again) but I’m glad I made it! This is hysterical! 😂 Thanks for sharing a laugh with us!</p>
MemberOctober 16, 2020 at 7:53 pm
<p>Thanks! I’ll come clean. This is for LAF. I didn’t realize how overtly they want to cater to an older audience, so I might see how I can rework this and where to send it.</p><p>Meanwhile though, LAF did publish a poem of mine.<br></p>
MemberOctober 18, 2020 at 4:34 pm
MemberOctober 22, 2020 at 2:14 pm
Love it. Can totally relate. I accidentally wrote 500 grams of margarine instead of 50 grams for a local recipe booklet. At least it wasn’t for weight watchers. I love the Witness Protection Program.