I am headed to the mountains of Chattanooga today for a weekend of stitching, cooking and playing with high school girlfriends. Maggie has her bags packed with loads of books for the trip and I have my sewing kit and a book ready for a girls (and kids) sewing weekend with wine, food, reading and relaxing. Sigh. The thick smell of trees and mountain air…

A book arrived on my desk not too long ago and, unfortunately, I don’t know who sent it. In a moment of needing a break from new collections, writing the new book, working on a website update, being a mom, and keeping the garden, I landed on my couch the other night with Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West.

(Can the lovely person who sent this book please let me know as I would like to send a thank you? And apologies that I have not already, or the fact that I can’t remember if I already did!)

I am only about half-way through but Consuming Passions is a gem of a memoir and a cookbook to boot; her tales of family and the kitchen table have made me laugh until my sides hurt. Published in 2000, the lovely characters from her book could be the girlfriends that I am headed to see today (with a few of my family members thrown in for good measure).

Michael’s stories feel like a world I know and love – if only I could capture my world with such sweet and savory prose.

Working on a new book can take the wind out of my body… it feels foreign, scary and, above all, hesitant. Something that I have always abhorred – give me difficult, give me strange but hesitant?

There are so many great passages in the book about men, money and good food but I had to laugh at this quote about homemade cakes and writer’s block:

“While scratch cakes are not always moister; they please me in a way I can’t explain. Baking gives me time to mull over problems. Repetitive gestures sent to loosen up the right brain; Mama suggested that polishing silver teaspoons might be a marvelous antidote for writer’s block. I do my best thinking when I am peeling carrots, grating zucchini, or rolling out biscuit dough.” — page 12

Writer’s block? I have spent the last few days cleaning up the garden…

I will be laughing all the way to Chattanooga and looking forward to falling into the arms of girlfriends, the smell of the mountain… and maybe baking a cake.

Consuming Passions by Michael Lee West

See you Monday… have a great weekend!


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