Finding My Point of View

When I started my website Booksquare, I came into the project with a specific point-of-view. This perspective evolved over time, as well it should have. When you write about the rapidly evolving world of digital publishing, you cannot stay stuck in the past.

As someone who writes fiction, I also know a lot about point-of-view. The reader learns so much about the story from the POV character. And when the author chooses the wrong point-of-view, it detracts from the story. This means making the right choices between first and third person (or, heaven help you, second person!) and between point-of-view characters.

Then there is a food point-of-view. This is important. So important that my husband (who cheerfully admits that everything he knows about this subject, he learned from Chopped) constantly asks about the point-of-view of meals I prepare. Hmm, is tired and cranky a POV? I think it is.

We are still working to define his cooking POV. Or maybe we’ll just stick with “spicy” and hope nobody catches on.

So what is my point-of-view? I find, just as with Booksquare, it’s evolving as I write this cookbook. I started this project as a way for me to understand how my gluten-free diet would play out. I mean, I knew I would be gluten-free, but I didn’t know how it would impact my relationship with food.

Until I realized I controlled that relationship. I could rage against the machine*, being that grumpy person who was limited by being gluten-free. Or I could explore possibilities, enjoying the amazing breadth of foods that just happen to be gluten-free. And that is how I came to write a cookbook.

So while my POV is a work in progress, I’ve settled on a few key descriptors: practical, creative, fun. What I love to cook, what I love to eat depends on many factors. Some days, I’m all about the all-American comfort food (bring on the mashed potatoes, I say, bring ’em on). Some days, I’m plotting culinary trips through Asia.

But I also work (more than) full-time. I commute at least two hours a day. I try to have a life. Sometimes I succeed. This really plays into my point-of-view: it doesn’t make for a good meal if I’m still cooking at 9:30 at night. When I have time, I love to do an elaborate meal or just an elaborate dish. I save those for weekends and holidays.

As I write and rewrite and test recipes — tonight, we’re giving the Thai Beef Basil another whirl, this time with coconut rice instead of rice noodles — I think about how they fit into my point-of-view. I like to think they mesh perfectly with who I am as a cook and person.

And I wonder…is vinegar a point-of-view or just a lifestyle?

* — Nothing against a good rage; I do it as often as possible.

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