Wednesday, April 17, 2013

#NaGriCheMo: Sauces and Stories

Remember back in November when we tried to see how many words we could write in one month? Fast forward to April when my month is dedicated to consuming massive amounts of  fried cheese product. I've even peaked in the second week with two (2) grilled cheese dinners in a row. Man, I'm killing it!

That's right folks,
April is National Grilled Cheese Month.

I've been slacking on the writing, as you can see by the lack of blog posts in the new year, but even in my slumber I've managed to fall into a wiki-rabbit-holeI spent the majority of Monday googling how to make dipping sauce for my Trader Joe's handcut fries (because I can't eat grilled cheese without a pile of french fries).

I currently own a jar of mayonaise and a cabinet of spices, so I thought it'd be easy enough to add some chili powder and cayenne pepper to a glob of mayonaise and viola - chipotle aioli.

Turns out it wasn't that simple. That's just like if I took a story premise (glob of mayonaise) added a bit of stellar dialogue (chili powder) and ended with a killer twist ending (cayenne pepper). After all that work (or what I convinced myself was work and precious time), it was still just a plain ole pile of mayonaise.

As I told you, I had done my research. I knew that all of the dip recipes called for buttermilk and adobo sauce, but I thought I could get away with just throwing in the basics. I really didn't want to go out of my way to obtain the necessary elements.

Let's take a look at the missing ingredients for a moment:

        Adobo is the immersion of raw food in a stock (or sauce) composed variously of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavor (

Hmm...making dip without adobo sauce sounds like trying to write a story without a plot.

      Buttermilk is the more or less acidulous liquid remaining after butter has been separated from milk or cream ( 

Buttermilk...sounds a bit like problem and resolution. As us writers have heard multiple times, characters need to be challenged, so they can come out a changed person on the other side of the story. That cayenne pepper ending will have a much better kick after our characters have marinated and separated.

     Additionally, all of the recipes called for garlic cloves. I skipped that detail and went with some garlic powder instead.

That's kind of like using stock cliches instead of real, dynamic characters.

So, in order to get my desired dynamite dipping sauce, I needed research, measurements, and planning. Turns out it's not too different from writing a novel.

Hope #NaGriCheMo is treating you well!
What key ingredients are your sauces and stories missing?


  1. Thanks! I don't know what happened in the New Year - months went by so quickly!