Let’s start with the recipe. It’s another one of those Busy Writer Crockpot Specials, this one known formally as Cheesy Kielbasa Potato Soup (“cheesy” in recipe-land, appears to be a code word for “contains Velveeta”.)
1 (30 ounce) bag frozen hash browns
14 ounces kielbasa, cut into bite sized pieces
4 cups chicken broth (for a 32 oz bag of hash browns, make it ~5 cups)
2 onions, diced
8 ounces Velveeta cheese, at room temperature
In crock pot, combine hash browns, kielbasa, broth, and onions. Stir well and cook on low 6-8 hours.
30 minutes before serving, cut Velveeta into cubes and stir into soup. Cover and cook on high 30 minutes or until cheese is melted.
This recipe can be seasoned further by individual diners with hot sauce, or sour cream, or horseradish, or whatever they want.
What does this have to do with writing?
First, let me tell you about the time I made a much more authentic (i.e., it contained neither frozen hash browns nor Velveeta) potato soup from scratch, including the part where I peeled and diced 8 cups of potatoes. It turned out as it was supposed to, but the only person in the family who liked it was me — and at that point in time we were six people around the dinner table, so I wasn’t going to put a dish that labor-intensive into permanent rotation when the majority verdict was at best meh.
Some time later, I found this recipe, and because I still liked potato soup, I decided to give it a try. It wasn’t terribly expensive — the kielbasa was on sale — and it looked dead simple to make. Kind of low-rent, what with the Velveeta and all, but this time I wasn’t going for Genuine Potato Soup, I was just going for a quick and easy dinner.
The family cleaned their plates and went back for seconds.
“Do this one again!” they all said.
And the way in which my potato soup experience is like unto the writer’s life experience is this: You can never predict which one of your works, or what part of a work, your readers are going to like based on how much effort you put into it.