Cindy Silvert is the author of The Hungry Love Cookbook: 30 Steamy Stories, 120 Mouthwatering Recipes. She is guest blogging here all week as part of the Visiting Scribe series on The ProsenPeople.
I always knew that I would write short stories. I didn’t dream they’d be these stories, packaged so lovingly into this silly book, but I knew I’d write. With a taste for the tragic (Paul Johnson’s A History of the Jews), the wacky (Gary Shteyngart’s The Russian Debutante's Handbook) and historical biographies (books about the guys who built this country, dreamed Israel into reality, Stacey Schiff’s page-turning Cleopatra, etc.), I was as surprised as anyone when The Hungry Love Cookbook spilled out of me. So how do I explain it?
Just as the body swells to create a natural cast, a cocoon of sorts, for an injured or delicate part, so too writing is my way of not having to think about ISIS, college funds, or retirement. I always thought that creative was my family’s code word for stupid: “Cindy is so… creative!” So after dabbling in theater and visual arts, I got myself an MBA to prove I wasn’t a complete dolt.
Still, how does a nice Jewish girl from the suburbs come up with 30 tawdry tales—and why pair them with a kosher cookbook? Isn’t kosher cooking difficult enough? If you’ve read even one of the stories in The Hungry Love Cookbook, you know that they’re a lot more innocent than they’re cracked up to be, and that I’m a bit of a weirdo. I’m that person who laughs at that part of the movie that no one else laughs at. I don’t usually get jokes printed on T-shirts and, at the risk of being labeled a freak, I’m not ticklish. Way back when, a friend (yes, a friend) nicknamed me Marshmallows and Daggers: I can be both uber-sensitive and less than kind. It’s all in a day’s work: I’m a writer.
The thing about being a writer is that, well, I’m just not that special anymore. Once upon a time being an author meant something: pouring your tortured soul and sullied past onto paper, thus making family relationships even worse while providing yet more fodder for your ever-obliging therapist. You had something to be proud of! Now everyone’s a blogger, a photographer, a social commentator. And a lot of these people are taking up excellent causes. Just about everyone on Facebook seems to have more of a social conscience than I do, and I thought I was one of the good guys. But I digress. How and why write in this deluge of thoughts and words? Well for one, at least I’m not confined to distilling my life’s work into no more than 140 characters. And frankly, I’m too old, prickly, and opinionated to get a real job.
The fact is, in every reincarnation of my career path, I was essentially making everything up. Whether I was Cindy the actor, the director, the teacher or the florist, I was inventing, creating, painting a picture or sorts. For The Hungry Love Cookbook, I’ve painted 30 over-the-top scenes that you can relish with or without food. True to my Marshmallow-Dagger nature, I’ve contrasted genres, time periods, and techniques in sharing some of my favorite dishes drizzled on top in the hopes of making you smile as you churn out meal after meal, be it for yourself or a whole clan of ingrates. If that’s you, you deserve a break. I would know.