Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A little fun at someone else's expense: Mixing reviews and creative writing [Possibly NSFW]

I've been following Heidi Swanson's vegetarian cooking/photography blog off and on for some time now. I like her photos, and I have really enjoyed trying some of her recipes. At the same time, I find her writing style grates on my nerves. A lot.

Thanks to Miss Heidi, I now cringe any time I see the words vibrant, spritz, jolt, drizzle, pop, and flecked. Especially flecked. Everything Heidi makes is flecked with something. It's like the Glitter Fairy threw up in her kitchen ten years ago and she's still having a hard time keeping the mess out of her food.

Heidi, some words are fun. I understand that! But sometimes words are uncommon for a reason. Unlike salt, you can't just liberally drizzle them all over everything you make, or they stick out like sore thumbs.

I'm fairly certain she'll never read this blog. I'm also pretty sure that I would never quite fit into the odd yuppie-granola category that seems to be her target audience. It's not really any of my business how she writes (and I know that her hordes of fawning foodie fans would eviscerate me if I dared to criticize her on her own territory) but it's bothered me for a while and something came up tonight that gave me a reason to write about it.

I was discussing a typical Swanson-esque blog segment with my friend Andrew. Here's an excerpt from her recipe for Buckwheat Cheese Straws:

Crispy, cheddar-flecked, and rustic, it's the buckwheat flour that lends these slender creations their convincing shade of brownish gray.

He came up with the brilliant idea to write pornography using the same words. I got on that right away, because I'm always up to a pervy challenge. Sorry, Heidi, this one's for you.

They made love in the rustic cottage until the sheets were crispy and his face was a convincing shade of brownish-gray. She knew he was sated then, and as they lay twined together in her fine, cheddar-flecked linens, she traced her fingers up and down his body. He was perfectly vibrant; her strong, yet slender creation. "I think we're all out of buckwheat flour," said Martha Stewart.

Here's another example of Ms. Swanson's flavor text. If you pornify it (yes, I know that's not a real word) in the comments I'll send you something nice!

It's just the sort of thing to slather on a sandwich, dollop over hot pasta, or you can do what I did, and work it through a bowl of plump, chewy wheat berries. The bite of the arugula is tamed by the creaminess of the pine nuts, and the saltiness of the grated Parmesan and chopped Kalamata olive offsets the wheat berries nicely.

One more sample before I sign off, a little gem that was just a few lines down on the same page:

These wheat berries have a beautiful, barely-noticeable red blush when cooked, and they plump into perfect oblong orbs that look like they might pop between your molars.

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