Saturday, September 09, 2006

Cooking up a Bestseller

By Keith Fisher

As I have mentioned before, I’m a Dutch oven cook. My wife and I have traveled around Utah and Wyoming competing in Dutch oven cook-offs for many years. It can be an ego boosting experience to win one of those competitions and realize that you have done well and other people think so too.

At first, we never thought much about it. We just did what came naturally and we prepared the food the way we liked it. Then we found we had to make it look pretty. Sometimes it seemed that we were being judged more on artistic ability than the taste of the food. We were lucky to be blessed with an idea of what good food tastes like, and I was blessed to have an artistically talented wife.

At this point I could tell you about some of the things that I have seen others cook but I don’t want you to salivate all over your keyboard. I could tell you about the way that I slow cook a pork roast to make it so juicy, that when you slice into it, the juices run and it’s so tender it almost disappears on your tongue. But I’m not going to do that (grin).

Besides this is a writer’s blog.

During our second year of competition, we noticed a nice little lady who attended almost every cook-off. She visited with all the cooks and watched what they did. She asked questions and tasted the free samples. She took notes in her constantly changing notebook.

Her note taking wasn’t unusual in itself. We often had spectators taking notes about how to make this or that, and how many coals to use for which size Dutch oven. Those people would go home and try our advice, perhaps build a cooking table like mine, or just get the courage to get their cast iron out of the basement, remove it from the box, and try it out.

What on earth does this have to do with writing?

Then one year at the World’s Championship competition, We discovered the same little lady who had taken so many notes was cooking and she was very good. A couple of years later, she and her daughter won the World’s Championship.

When am I going to get to the writing part?

When my friend took first place, I listened to one of my Dutch oven peers as he told me "She is good because we taught her everything we know." He seemed disappointed, like his secrets had been stolen, but I chose to look at it another way. I agreed with him that she had learned from us, but I pointed out that she had improved on our collective wisdom and made it better. I consider it to be a great compliment to know I had a small part in her success. The beautiful part is, she has gone on to help those who will listen, and she continues to take notes.

As writers in our little circle, we help each other and we learn from the masters who consider themselves one of us. If we are smart, we will take notes. If I ever amount to anything in the LDS publishing world, I hope that all my published author friends will consider it a great compliment because I admit, other than blessings from our Father, I owe it all to them.


Tristi Pinkston said...

And when do we get to taste some of that pork?????

Keith Fisher said...

Keep your eyes peeled. I may do the guard of honor pork roast soon