Welcome to Wednesday Writers! Today’s guest author is Amy Anguish who will be talking about cooking and sharing an excerpt from her Sweet Contemporary Christian Romance novel Writing Home. Welcome, Amy!
When people normally think of cooking, they tend to picture the girl in the kitchen. And in a lot of cases, that’s the way it is. But in my latest release, I reversed things. My hero, Jordan, loves to cook, and is good at it. My heroine, Christiana, well, is not so great. In my excerpt below, she’s talking to her mom on the phone and decides maybe it’s time to do something about her lack of skills in the kitchen.
I admit, when I first started cooking for myself with no parents there to help, I had a few rough experiences. But though years of experience have helped, I can remember the days before. Where things cooked too fast or too slow. Or just burned.
Have you had any crazy cooking mishaps? Do you like reading about characters who aren’t perfect? How about guys in the kitchen?
By Amy Anguish
Christiana Jones dreamed her whole life of living in Huntsville, Alabama, so she can’t figure out why it doesn’t feel like home. Her relationships—on social media and in real life—seem shallow and empty. When she unearths a stack of her grandparents’ letters, it spurs an idea. Could she find something deeper with a pen pal?
Jordan White is taken aback when his cousin Tina suggests he become pen pals with her childhood best friend. What could a Louisiana boy have in common with a girl two states away? After all, he’s happily settled on his family’s property and working the job he always wanted. But every letter they exchange has him wishing for more.
As they grow closer through their written words, the miles between them seem to grow wider. Can love cross the distance and bring them home?
Mom laughed. “That’s true. What are you doing?”
“Just wondering why I bought this frozen dinner in the first place. It doesn’t even sound good.” She tossed the Asian chicken and rice back in the recess of her deep freeze and picked up another box that looked more promising.
“Are you still living off those things?” Her mom huffed. “Seriously, where did I go wrong with you? I know you can at least do basic stuff in the kitchen. And by basic, I don’t mean pushing a button on the microwave.”
“It doesn’t get more basic than that.” Chris peeled back the corner of her dinner choice and stuffed it in the offensive appliance. “Yes. I can do basic stuff. And bake. But baking is an exact science—you make sure your measurements are right and it comes out well. Cooking is a different story. You have to know more about flavors and what goes together and various cooking times. Plus, I hate chopping vegetables or touching raw meat. This is much easier. I figure it’s better to do this where I know I’m going to at least get a few vegetables with it, than to mess up other costlier ingredients to the point that I have to just throw them away.”
Like the chicken breasts she’d had to toss a few weeks before Christmas. Somehow, the outsides had been charred and the insides still pink and runny. Nope. Her grocery budget didn’t like including raw ingredients.
“Costlier, indeed.” Chris could practically hear her mom shaking her head. “Cheaper, probably, if you did it right. Let me send you some recipes.”
Of their own volition, Chris’s thoughts went to Jordan and the recipe she’d shared with him. He would probably send her some if she asked. But he sounded like much more of a home gourmet than just a simple cook. She was doing good to not burn toast half the time. No matter what she set the knob to, it never popped up the exact shade of brown desired, and if she tried giving it a second go-round, she might as well just eat charcoal. More confidence and experience would be more helpful than new recipes.
“Christiana?” Her mom interrupted her thoughts.
“Sorry. My brain went wandering evidently.” Chris stirred her dinner and then pushed the button to cook it a bit longer. “If I need recipes, there are tons online. Maybe I’ll make that another resolution or something.”
“Resolutions, huh? Had you already started implementing some of your new resolutions before the holidays? You seemed . . . different somehow. Happier?”
“Really?” Chris leaned against the counter and tapped the spoon against her mouth.
“Was I not happy before?”
“I don’t know. You just seem happier than you did the last time we saw you.” Her mom sighed. “That’s a good thing, honey. I was beginning to worry about you, thinking maybe we’d made the wrong decision when we agreed it was a good idea for you to move down there permanently after college. You were so adamant it was the place for
you, though. I blame your father and his big college tales. But you seem like maybe you’re finally settling in a little better. Have you made some friends?”
Chris thought of Danielle. And the people she’d played cards with the other night. And Jordan. “Yes. I think I’m making some friends. I didn’t realize you didn’t want me to live down here, though.”
“Considering how long you’d insisted, you never seemed to settle in like we expected. It’s like you lived there, but weren’t content.” Something crashed in the background. Her mom groaned. “Well, there’s one less figurine to figure out how to squirrel away in here.”
Chris grimaced. “Sorry. Need me to let you go?”
“Go eat, darling. And I really am glad you seem to be liking life better now. I love you.”
“Love you, too.”
Happier. Yes. She supposed she hadn’t been content the last few years. What had changed? Was it because she was putting herself out there more, trying to make friends, praying more? Or was it something else? All of the above?
She carried her dinner into the living room. Catching sight of the painting, warmth spread through her. Which path did she need to choose in her life? Stay the course she was on now? Or explore other opportunities, maybe ones that might include a move?
Could she find a place as pretty as that picture? If nothing else, she could start looking into some options.
She spooned another bite into her mouth and almost gagged. A glance down showed her dinner now a gelatinous mess of cheesy broccoli rice. Perhaps she should begin with finding some cooking lessons.
Want to read more? You can find Writing Home on Amazon
About the Author:
Amy R Anguish grew up a preacher’s kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a bossy cat or two. Amy has an English degree from Freed-Hardeman University that she intends to use to glorify God, and she wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.