Cooking with Maine Women Writers, part 3

Continuing our series on Maine women food writers, today we’ll look at a cookbook by writers who cook. (Or…don’t, as some of these recipes illustrate.) Eating Between the Lines: A Maine Writers’ Cookbook, edited by Paul Doiron, was published in 1998 and includes a number of Maine women writers.

The recipes vary widely in complexity and it is clear that some of these writers really love to cook and probably do it quite well, while others only cook as a last resort. Sis Deans, for example, falls into the latter category.

I think God blesses all of us with special talents, but cooking isn’t one of mine. Just ask my kids, or my husband, or my mother. In fact, the first thing my mother said when my husband and I told her we were getting married twenty years ago was, “You know she can’t cook, John.” And as the old saying goes, “Some things just don’t change.” Thus it was exceptionally easy for me to decide on a recipe to submit for this book. I choose one that my siblings, mother, nieces, nephews, and all the in-laws (brother, sister, mother) ask for every time we have a family gathering.

The “Just tell Sis to bring her Mexican dip” dip
foolproof and good tastin’
so easy, even Sis can make it

  • 1 package Old El Paso Taco Seasoning Mix
  • 1 big glob (about 4 or 5 tablespoons) of Ortega Thick & Chunky Salsa
  • 1 pint of sour cream

Stir by hand, and serve with a big, fresh bag of Doritos.

If you’d like to have another festive dip to bring to a holiday party, how about this red and green one from another Maine woman writer? Monica Wood’s avocado salsa:

My friends and family had a good laugh when I informed them I’d been asked to contribute a recipe to a cookbook. I’m well known among my intimates as a terrible and reluctant cook. […] I’ve always believed that holiday food – with all its ritual and excess – summons our deepest feelings of both joy and loss.

Avocado Salsa

Mash together a ripe avocado and about a cup of extra-spicy salsa. Cut up a baguette for dipping, and presto! I recommend the house brand salsa at Shaw’s, by the way; it’s the old-fashioned watery kind, not the “thick and chunky” impostor that seems to be taking over the world. Make sure your salsa looks more red than green. If it’s too green it will still taste great but people won’t try it, especially kids. People will be so bowled over by this appetizer that they’ll hardly notice what you’re serving for dinner – Stouffer’s frozen lasagna. Plus they’ll be so busy begging you for the salsa recipe that they’ll forget to ask why you haven’t published anything in a while.

Debra Spark, who visited us just last week to speak about her new book The Pretty Girl, contributed her recipe for broiled chicken.

I used to think I was a fairly decent cook till I got married. My husband is such a creative, health-conscious, talented chef that I’ve given up cooking entirely for dishwashing. That is the deal: he cooks and I clean. Occasionally, though, he does leave town, and I’m reminded of my single girl life. Which means: bowls of popcorn for dinner. (“It’s a good, hot meal,” my twin sister likes to say.) When I’m more ambitious, I make soup and salad and sometimes this chicken, which is easy.

Broiled Chicken

Marinate chicken breasts (overnight or for several hours) in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, thyme, garlic and pepper. That’s it. Broil till done. It’s particularly good cold (the next day) in salads.



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