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Writing Thoughts

About “How to Preserve Food for the Winter”

By September 13, 2015No Comments

reds 038It’s September and the windows are open and the air coming in is just cool enough to make me contemplate a sweater or fuzzy socks. Fall is creeping in and that seems like a perfect time to write about my essay in the Little Fiction/Big Truths Nomfiction Anthology, “How to Preserve Food for the Winter.


Fast Facts

First draft written: August 2013
Number of drafts written: 4-5
Number of rejections: 3
From submission to publication: 4 months

The idea

Well, not suprisingly, I was cutting up eggplant rounds to roast and freeze. One of them rolled under the oven. I thought about the incredible satisfaction I feel when I can or freeze or in any other way take food I’ve grown and store it away. Smug, is how I would describe it.

The first draft of this essay was much shorter; it was just the eggplant. I submitted it to CARVE for their poefictiontry category and got a personal rejection, which was pretty exciting. I sent it two other places and then kind of forgot about it.

Then I saw the call for the food anthology at Big Truths and I knew I wanted to write something for that. I tried an essay about poor man’s soup, one of the first things I ever learned to cook–my comfort food. I kept working and working at it, and the deadline kept getting closer and closer. I was about to give up when I looked at the tiny little eggplant essay. I think it was probably 2-3 days before the deadline when I got the idea to add a few other vegetables and make it a segmented essay. A kind of list.

I picked the three vegetables I feel most strongly about (does that sound weird to feel strongly about vegetables?)–tomatoes, beets and corn. I wrote the draft, edited it a couple of times and then sent it in.

My mom

I really do call my mom every time I can tomatoes to ask how long it takes. Partly this is because I really can’t remember and partly this is because I want to talk to my mother. I feel certain there’s no one else on the planet who truly understands the satisfaction that comes from sound of a quart jar sealing. My mom taught me how to can and someday perhaps I’ll teach my own daughter. When I get to the end of this essay, I tear up a little every time.

The anthology

The essays in the Nomfiction Anthology are amazing and delicious. Really. Every single one. You can order a print version of the anthology here, so go do that, now. The only thing better than eating food is reading about it.

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