I pick up a community supported agriculture (CSA) box each week from a local organic farm. I am often overwhelmed by the vegetables, but at least at this point in the year I recognize all of them and have used them before. Green and yellow zucchini, crookneck squash, pattypan squash, beefsteak tomatoes, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, tri-color sweet peppers — the variety and colors are beautiful, actually.
But overwhelming, nonetheless.
Except on this Sunday, because I had sharpened my best knives, I prepped and cut everything. I cubed butternut, sliced peppers into rounds, slivered coins of yellow squash and zucchini, parboiled and peeled tomatoes. I created neat stacks of labeled and ready to use summer produce in my refrigerator and freezer.
All I have to do is put them all together in creative and compelling ways so that they are gobbled down by my family and yet not drenched in cheese and butter.
Cooking meals that are both appealing to eat and bursting with nutritional value is a bit like writing accessible literary fiction. The prep work, it turns out, is the easy part. Getting an MFA, acquiring a laptop, reading craft books, drafting stories that have been grown ripe and ready — I’ve done those things.
But now I sit here with a sharpened knife that still feels dull and an overworked metaphor, and I worry.
What’s the next story?
Who will read it?
Will anyone enjoy it?