2

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

This week the Debs are singing songs from the Sound of Music…wait, no, that’s just Deb Crystal. But we are talking about some of our favorite things–the things that make us happy, that make us smile, that make us laugh. The Roman orator and philosopher, Seneca, once said, “True happiness is… to enjoy the present…
Continue reading »

12

Deb Susan’s Mind is All Tied Up

At heart, I’m a creature of simple comforts.

The things I’m most attached to are my memories.

Like most authors, I have a vivid imagination (probably too vivid – seeing as how I spend my days finding new and inventive ways to my kill my imaginary friends). Anything can trigger a memory, and almost everything does.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

When I think about writing, I think about peaceful days on the couch putting words on the page and evenings under the glow of aquarium lights (trust me – they’re all the wattage I need when the sun goes down).

When I think about Christmas, it’s joy and lights and family and home.

Memories bring me comfort, excite me to work, and encourage me to persevere when I’m feeling down. They also inspire me to create more of them – to increase the experiential stores on which I draw so many times a day.

Like some of my debutante sisters, I had a difficult time deciding what I would write about this week. I’m bound by so many loving ties that it’s hard to choose just one. I’ve told you about my family, my seahorse tank, and my penchant for offing imaginary friends. I’ve mentioned my love of turkeys and all things pun. My ninja detective, Hiro Hattori, and his Jesuit sidekick Father Mateo have also become a much-loved part of my life (and good thing, too, because Minotaur has me under contract for two more ninja detective mysteries after CLAWS OF THE CAT.)

But ultimately, for me, the most effective ties are the ones that forge a chain of memory in my mind.

One might argue that it’s memories and experiences that create our attachments to other things. In my case, at least, I think that’s very true. Cover to The Secret Supper Club

That attachment to memories is one reason I’m so excited to read Dana Bate’s upcoming novel, The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs (Which releases in the UK TODAY as THE SECRET SUPPER CLUB). Food inspires some of my happiest and most comforting memories – as well as some very funny ones – and I love the idea of basing a book on a secret dinner club (and there’s a rumor that she’s included recipes…)

What about you?

Do your memories enhance your attachments to other things? Does this time of year trigger special memories for you? Are you looking forward to reading Dana’s book? It’s open season in the comments – tell me about YOUR ties that bind!

16

Culinary Triage: Exploding Gravy and Other Holiday Traditions by Deb Lisa Daily

Christmas Day 2007 will forever be referred to as “The Day the Gravy Exploded”, joining the ranks with such other exciting and memorable days as “The Year The Cat Stepped in the Stuffing” and “The One Where We Got Five Feet of Snow on Christmas Eve and Lisa’s Big Christmas Present (a waterbed!) Was Across The Street In The Neighbors Garage.” *

*This was back in the late 70’s when a waterbed was a cool gift. (There was a sort of scavenger hunt involved — sadly, not quite as magical when you have to shovel for 7 1/2 hours to get to the grand prize.)

In my family, the disasters are always more fun than the picture-perfect Christmases. We’ll all be gathered in the kitchen, drinking, and someone will make a crack about how the the turkey was nearly set on fire back in 1974, or how my mother, in her effort to be supportive to her newly-vegetarian sister had the crazy idea of serving a quiche on Christmas Eve, rather than our traditional ham with cherry sauce. We’ve lovingly tortured her on that one for years.

The screw-ups and disasters are always met with laughter and occasionally, a bit of culinary triage. Any mishap is met with a top-notch disaster recovery team of relatives who can smooth the lumps out of gravy, make a turkey with crispy wingtips look like something Martha would envy, or whip out an emergency pie crust in 45 seconds flat. (Old Crisco, don’t ask.)

And while we may giggle about near-disasters behind the stove, the feast that makes it to the table usually looks pretty fabulous and tastes even better. And no one would ever be any wiser.

In our family, what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen.

From the year mom and I whipped our cream into butter, to the year the weird pineapple-avacado-lime jello with pistachio ice cream turned into a scary green soup, to the year the fan belt broke on the car on the way to Christmas dinner at Grandma Vernie’s house. In the middle of the desert. With 7 people in the car.

Christmas Present. Christmas Past. Christmas Imperfect. I love them all.

Lisa

Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily