As you know, I don’t read a lot of short fiction. But as we approach the end of the Hugo nomination period, various people have been sharing links to short stories and novelettes and novellas, and so I have Linda S to thank for sending me the link to “So Much Cooking” by Naomi Kritzer.
Linda said that she doesn’t know about nominating this story because it really doesn’t have any particular speculative elements, and that’s true. But if it seems SF enough for Clarksworld, what the heck, it’s SF enough for me and I’ll probably wind up nominating it. It’s a story in the form of a cooking blog, and honestly, THAT IS SO CLEVER.
This is a food blog, not a disease blog, but of course the rumors all over about bird flu are making me nervous. I don’t know about you, but I deal with anxiety by cooking. So much cooking. But, I’m trying to stick to that New Year’s resolution to share four healthy recipes (entrées, salads, sides . . . ) for every dessert recipe I post, and I just wrote about those lemon meringue bars last week. So even though I dealt with my anxiety yesterday by baking another batch of those bars, and possibly by eating half of them in one sitting, I am not going to bake that new recipe I found for pecan bars today. No! Instead, I’m going to make my friend Carole’s amazing roast chicken. Because how better to deal with fears of bird flu than by eating a bird, am I right?
Here’s how you can make it yourself. You’ll need a chicken, first of all. Carole cuts it up herself but I’m lazy, so I buy a cut-up chicken at the store. You’ll need at least two pounds of potatoes. You’ll need a lemon and a garlic bulb. You’ll need a big wide roasting pan. I use a Cuisinart heavy-duty lasagna pan, but you can get by with a 13×9 cake pan….
So you can see just where that story is going from this beginning, can’t you?
The format is just super-clever.
The narrator’s voice is distinctive and charming.
The recipes are fun to read and, at least at first, sound like they’d be perfectly usable recipes.
The tone is never hopeless or grim, even as times get dark.
Does this story actually, you know, end?
Oh, I know, you can see those last couple of paragraphs as a kind of ending, and I suppose the entire last post does provide closure of a sort. And yet I did go check and make sure I didn’t miss some other part of the story that might have continued.
If you read this, I really want to know, what do you think of the ending? Thumbs up or thumbs down? How WOULD you end something like this? After all, blogs don’t end exactly, do they, at least we hope our favorite blogs aren’t going to end. So maybe the format suggests an ending like this one: One where you can easily imagine the next post and the next as life gets more back to normal. Maybe Kritzer actually chose to end like this because of that kind of idea of how blogs don’t feel finished. What do you think?
As an added note, I also really enjoyed this brief short story by Kritzer: “Cat Pictures Please.” Sounds like Kritzer and I would have lots to talk about if we actually met! In the meantime, a google search tells me that she has written a handful of novels. Based on these stories, I think I will just slide on over to Amazon and add one to my TBR pile.