Thursday, June 11, 2015

Making Mole

It’s nail-biting time.

To be clear: this is not that lovely “Between Books” interval which author Ann Packer described so perfectly in her recent New York Times essay. So I haven’t just finished the final round of copy edits on a purchased, soon-to-be-published novel, I’m not casting about for a new project whilst planning a launch party, or purchasing boxes of “signings” pens.

I’m in that post-completed-manuscript-ecstasy/pre-accepted-for-publication hell.  In other words, I finished a new novel, revised it a few times, finally got the “thumbs up” from my agent (she’s a stickler, which is why I love her) and now she’s shopping it. Which feels a little scary this time around because the wonderful, wise editor for my last three books has left our publishing house, reportedly to join the circus (she was joking when she said that, but you never know …) so Baby Book and I are searching. For a new editor; possibly a new publishing house. We wait for the phone to ring.

I know there are authors out there who would use this “down time” as an opportunity to dive into a new project, and I have a little something I’ve been playing with for a while (see last week’s post and think: Australian Shepherds) but here’s the thing: I’m still living with these other characters. I’m still tinkering, still hearing their voices. I’m not ready to leave them behind and enter a new world, especially because … but no. Won’t say it. Won’t jinx it. Karma’s a B**** and I won’t tempt the publishing gods by suggesting anything about what might happen to Baby Book and what revision might follow.

So instead, I’m cleaning my office (Baby Book made a mess), updating my website, organizing closets and making mole poblano. From scratch.

Yeah, I said that to impress you. Mole poblano from scratch. It was on my Cooking Bucket List. Three types of Mexican chilies, Mexican chocolate laced with guajillo, herbs, seeds, spices, blending, rehydrating, sieving (is that a verb?) and hours of concentrated cooking time. I cranked Carlos Santana and a little Spanish fusion music while I worked, mostly because I love it but also because I’m pretty much a Spanish “fusion” with a little Irish thrown in, and while I can serve up some pretty good Cuban food and approach my mother’s arroz con pollo, I’m a total novice at Mexican food. So I needed a little cooking Karma, a little Carlos. We pretty much believe (and by “we” I mean my mom, my daughter and I) that what comes out of the oven or the skillet is a direct reflection of what’s going on in the cook’s heart and soul.

So please, dear lord, don’t let this mole suck. Because Baby Book and I need some good mojo right now.

(Note: the above pictured mole poblano got two enthusiastic thumbs up from the spouse! Kudos to chef Shannon Bard of Zapoteca in Portland, Maine. I used the recipe from her new book, “The Gourmet Mexican Kitchen.”)

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