Saturday, July 6, 2019

I Love the Way You Cook

I recently had breakfast at a bistro in Lexington, Kentucky, and was impressed by the fact that the cook prepared and served my food in a distinctively bistro manner. I ordered an item called the Bistro Breakfast Sandwich. Out came a sandwich of scrambled egg and bacon covered with a light hollandaise sauce and served on a grilled French knot bun. It was accompanied by a miniature bowl of a light-green vegetable which I took for pale steamed broccoli until I tasted it. Its flavor was quite unlike broccoli, but I couldn’t identify it until my daughter said, “If you’re not going to eat that mashed avocado, I’d like to have it.” The bistro chef had served me a breakfast sandwich with panache.

If I had walked down the street to a MacDonald’s, I could have ordered my usual Mickey D’s breakfast: a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit. I would have gotten a compact wax-paper bundle with a standard-sized biscuit, scrambled egg, and two strips of bacon but no condiment or fancy side dish. I’m sure I have eaten hundreds of of those biscuits in my lifetime, from MacDonald’s restaurants throughout the United States and Canada. The food always looks and tastes the same, no surprises. That’s why I keep going back.

Then there’s the Cracker Barrel breakfast. Like MacDonald’s, their menu items are a standard size and shape, but they come with some extras that lend a homespun flair to the experience. Those little bottles of maple syrup—yum! Smoke-cured bacon and ham—yes! A roaring fire in the blackened fireplace—seat me near that, please! The food will be satisfying, but the atmosphere will be even more so. The smell of wood smoke and fresh coffee will stay with me through the morning, reminding me of my home in East Tennessee.

Our writing has distinctive features, too. It doesn’t simply convey our story line. It puts our readers in a time and place of our choosing, with a panache that lingers in memory long after the particulars of our plot have been forgotten. Good writing nourishes the souls of our readers, so let’s give careful attention to how we prepare what we serve.

Fire up the stove. Blend the ingredients that make a story distinctively yours. Plate it with a flair that draws us back to your place when we’re hungry for more.

Now where’s that maple syrup?

Joe Allison writes both fiction and nonfiction, and has been a member of the Indiana chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers since 2010. He lives in Anderson, IN, with his wife Maribeth and daughter Heather.

1 comment:

  1. You've chosen a perfect metaphor. I hadn't thought of that comparison until reading your post.