Thought for Food

Writing, considered as a profession, can be enormously satisfying.  However, it is seldom enormously profitable; and even those writers who have achieved mega-bestsellerdom have usually traveled on a long, arduous, and often stony-broke journey to reach that point.

Which is why most writers’ personal recipe collections are big on dishes that are cheap, nourishing, and tasty . . . primarily cheap.

Lentil soup, for example.  The only things you really need in order to make starving-writer lentil soup are a bag of lentils, about six or eight cups of cooking liquid, an onion, a bit of meat, and a bay leaf, and the meat and the bay leaf are optional.  The meat can be the last leftover bits of a ham, if you’re currently well-off enough to have had a ham; it can be pieces of kielbasa or smoked sausage; it can even be cut up store-brand hot dogs, if  hot dogs are all you can afford.  Once, because what I lacked at the time wasn’t money, but rather transportation to the grocery store, I used a pound of bacon, cut up into small pieces, because the bacon was what I had.  If you’re a vegetarian, you can leave the meat out completely, maybe throw in some diced carrots or potatoes along with the chopped onion.  Season it however you like.  Some people go with curry-style seasoning; I usually go with the abovementioned bay leaf and a bit of prepared horseradish, with a generous shot of soy sauce thrown in for savory saltiness.

Cook like it says on the lentil package, for however long it takes to get the soup to the consistency that you prefer.  A crockpot is good for this; so is a dutch oven on top of the stove.

This will feed one writer for several days, or one writer and family for an evening meal, with maybe a serving left over to warm up the day after.

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