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Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
The Path to Publication
Cookies, Sex, Secrets
Write Like a Rock Star
The Perils of Publication
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Creating Pure Pleasure
Making Magic with Words


Kill Electrons, Not Trees
by William Gaius
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Cooking up a Storey

by Donna George Storey

Sharing Sweet Secrets:
Cookies, Sex, and the Simple Power of Speaking the Truth

 

Cooking up a Storey by Donna George StoreyThe New Year has arrived, which means it’s time to change the menu here at Cooking Up a Storey.  For this year’s series, I’ve decided to go for something sinfully sweet and terribly self-indulgent—a collection of recipes for the cookies in my legendary holiday gift boxes, pictured below.  Every December for the past eight years, I’ve spent a solid five days in the kitchen crafting hundreds of these bite-sized treats for friends, neighbors and teachers.  Over the years I’ve refined my selection to six recipes complementary in flavor and texture.  All involve a little to a lot more work than my usual fare the rest of the year.  Inevitably I reach a moment when I curse my ambitious planning and annual servitude to custom, but the truth is, when the delighted thank-you’s start coming in, I know I’ll be signing up for another round of “Cookie Madness” next year.

Donna George Storey holiday cookies

It occurred to me early on that baking these elaborate cookies is not unlike the writing process.  Most people are happy enough to chomp on an Oreo, and indeed certain segments of your audience might prefer it, but a decent percentage of the recipients will enjoy and appreciate a more personalized offering created with care. 

  Therefore, in the coming year, I will pursue this parallel by linking each cookie recipe to the ineffable qualities that make erotica memorably delicious.

Cookies, sex, secrets—there is another link among the three in my mind that I’d like to share as we begin this series.  Thirty-some years ago, my mother and I spent Christmas with my older sister at her seventeenth-century farmhouse in the Virginia countryside.  My sister’s neighbor brought over a tin of Christmas cookies: elegant wafers topped with a single, perfect pecan half.  The cookies were exquisitely fragile with a hint of butter-pecan—brown sugar or browned butter, perhaps?  Whatever made the magic, they were some of the most delicious cookies I’d ever eaten to that point, and I asked, politely, for the recipe.  The neighbor frostily declined.  It was an old family recipe, and she could never, ever share it with a stranger.

This is an unremarkable story on the face of it, but her refusal made a big impression on me.  We were only talking cookies, but the message felt deeper.  I knew I couldn’t force the recipe out of her, although I tried asking earnestly again a day later with the promise I wouldn’t pass on the secret knowledge to anyone else.  Still she refused.  It was then I realized there was something else I could do.  And so, on that cold December day, I vowed I would always graciously share my recipes with anyone who paid me the compliment of asking. 

So, dear Reader, my recipes are all yours.

The power of sharing pleasure and wisdom goes beyond cookies, of course.  Recently I faced a daunting challenge in my own writing, and I took my problem to the Writer’s discussion group here at ERWA.  The group immediately responded with advice, perspectives and encouragement.  It truly made me appreciate how we writers can support each other by sharing our knowledge and experience.  There are many myths about publishing that are damaging to the writer—that the quality of writing is directly linked to “success” so if you’re “good” you don’t have to work at it, that agents and publishers have your best interest at heart, to name just two.  It takes a newcomer a while to figure these things out from the inside, but if we tell the truth about our experiences and respect others with the courage to do so, we will all benefit.

We have our food, we have our writing, what about the sex?  For me, silence on this topic has had the most heart-breaking consequences throughout the world and down through history.  We are all shamed about our sexuality in countless ways, whether it’s being called a slut or pervert for daring to write about sex or being held up to impossible standards of “beauty” and athleticism in bed.  Think of all the human beings who’ve felt unnecessary pain because of the mere fact they have sexual urges or because they fall short of some absurd ideal?  Beginning in the last half of the twentieth century, thanks in no smart part to the advent of modern erotica, there has been significant growth in the honest expression of sexuality.  But there’ve also been plenty of frosty folks who don’t want the sweet recipe passed around.

It takes a great deal of courage to write about sex at all, much less honestly, beyond the clichés and stereotypes.  But the writers at ERWA do this with eloquence and style.  And so, as the New Year dawns, I’d like to express my appreciation to all the writers and readers here at ERWA for generously sharing your wisdom and your goodies in prose.  Keep doing what you’re doing, and best wishes for a New Year of sharing and creating.

Ready to do some baking?

This month I’d like to start filling our cookie basket of pleasures with the simplest recipe I make, a brown-sugar drop cookie with a special twist--dried cranberries and white chocolate chips replace the classic semisweet chocolate chip.  (These particular cookies are on the bottom layer of the cookie boxes, so they didn’t make the lead-in photo, but you’ll find a loving, not to say cookie-pornographic close-up below).  Over the year I’ll be sharing all my personal baking notes, born of harsh experience, but the recipe was originally found in Dede Wilson’s A Baker’s Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies, a must-have for anyone who likes chocolate chip cookies both classic and innovative.

These are indeed a fancy variation of everyone’s favorite basic chocolate chip cookie, and yet a few small changes can make a huge difference in the cookie-nibbling experience.  The intense sweetness of the white chocolate chips mixed with the tartness of the cranberries elevates these cookies to a new level of elegance, intensifying the richness of the classic dough.  The eye-catching red of the cranberries makes them a good choice for Valentine’s Day as well.  In baking as in sex, even a subtle variation can bring new excitement to the classic act, transforming the ordinary into something quite extraordinary.  So why not get out the mixer and give it a try? 

More sweets and secrets to come!

f

Truthfully Transcendent Cranberry-White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Dede Wilson’s A Baker’s Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies
(makes about 4 dozen)

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (12 3/8 ounces on a kitchen scale)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 cups white chocolate morsels (I like Ghirardelli)
2 cups sweetened dried cranberries

Whisk flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium-sized bowl.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add both sugars gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, and scraping down the bowl once or twice.  Beat in vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl.  Add about one-third of the flour mixture and mix on low speed.  Gradually add the remaining flour mixture just until blended.  Mix in cranberries thoroughly by hand.  Next add the white chocolate chips and mix in thoroughly.

Chill the dough for at least 2 hours (I usually leave it in the mixing bowl and cover with a plate but you can wrap it in wax paper).

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Drop by 1 Tablespoon scoops, six to a cookie sheet, and bake about 12-13 minutes.  Light golden all over is perfect--some coloring on top is key, if still pale, it’s too soft--but do not let it become dark brown.  Try one test cookie first before doing a sheet of six.  The baking time is the tricky part of this recipe, and while they do soften up a little, if overbaked, they lose flavor.

Donna George Storey
February 2012


Contact Donna at Donna George Storey or at Sex Food And Writing
Donna is Cooking up a Storey in ERWA 2012 Archive

______
"Cooking up a Storey" © 2012 Donna George Storey. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written

About the Author:† Donna George Storey taught English in Japan and Japanese in the United States and has finally found the work of her dreams writing erotica. If you're really nice, she'll bake you a batch of her Venetian cookies, with layers of marzipan, jam and chocolate, that take a ridiculous amount of time to make and are (almost) better than sex. Her work has been published in dozens of journals and anthologies including Clean Sheets, Fishnet, Best American Erotica, Best Women's Erotica and Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica.
Her first novel, Amorous Woman-a semi-autobiographical tale of an American woman's love affair with Japan, Japanese food and lots of sexy men and women along the way-was published by Neon/Orion. It's currently available at Amazon and Amazon UK, and from her web site, DonnaGeorgeStorey.com.
For more of her musings on sensual pleasure and creativity stop by her blog:  Sex, Food and Writing. You can also take a quick trip to Japan with Donna's provocative Amorous Woman book trailer at: www.youtube.com



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