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15 November 2019

Posted by Charlotte Fodor

To Sate

In our latest So:Write Women session, we tried writing our own recipes (not the edible kind...)




1. a set of instructions for preparing a particular dish, including a list of the ingredients required. 

There is something beautiful about recipes. They have the capacity to transform words into something physical and real, usually food-related, delicious, decadent, moreish. Magic. Their structure is interesting, too: easy to follow, formulaic. 

Having recently purchased the Frieze Food Issue, I fell in love with experimental recipe writing in its various formats -- especially the recipes that weren’t edible! Heather Phillipson’s Hot Mess writes the recipe for environmental catastrophe, the very earth itself turning to broth; Zheng Bo lists the ingredients causing a population decline in a district in Kyoto in Suujin Salad. Two very different approaches to recipe writing that I had never really considered before... 

In So:Write Women, we marvelled over Sunil Bhandri’s Recipe for Disaster, the second ingredient striking and catching on the tongue – ‘one woman, not yours’. When placed in alignment with Recipe for Living, a piece taken from an Indiana Churchbook, the two poems could not have been more incongruent: ‘1 full cup of love /1/4 cup willpower, packed firm /3 oz. determination /A dash of flexibility /1 large head of understanding’. The group commented that Recipe for Living felt a little smug and did not truly capture the reality of ‘living’ in all its messy glory. It made sense, then, to try to write recipes of our own.

Try it yourself:

Recipe writing. What would the ingredients and method be for making you? What's the recipe for a bad day / a perfect relationship / happiness? Use a recipe format to produce creative, quirky, poignant pieces. 

The results were fun; heartfelt; deep. 

We had recipes for the bad days: ingredients consisting of pressing the snooze alarm one-too-many times. The recipe for novel writing: endless cups of tea and tears. New ingredients for living: scooping up as much time as we can, for there is never enough. Endless possibilities, and an inspiring way to start us off on a Saturday morning.

Would you like to join us? So:Write Women meet twice a month on the first Thursday and third Saturday.  Our next meeting is Saturday 16th November at Southampton Central Library (10.15 – 12.15pm) and at the Art House Café on Thursday 5th December (11.15-1.15pm).

We hope to see you there! 

In other news… 

Dahlia Books are accepting submissions on the theme of 'Kitchen' until 31 Dec:


Jo has suggested a brilliant writing prompt related to kitchens below:

Kitchens. Possibly the most sensory room in the home, so take a moment to think of a kitchen, real or imagined, and write down the first answer that comes to mind to these questions: What can you see? What can you hear? What can you smell? What can you taste? What can you touch? Use your answers as the jumping off point for a story or scene set in a kitchen.

And here is another kitchen prompt we explored in class: 

'A woman should be a maid in the parlour, a cook in the kitchen and a whore in the bedroom.'

What's your response to this?! Nearly half of men surveyed only ten years ago thought the ability to cook well was the most important skill for a prospective wife...(the research doesn't go on to say how many of these men actually found someone to marry them, alas!)


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