Okay, I’m not usually one to put recipes on this site. That’s not what this is about, but as I was trying to come up with an “R” word that had to do with writing, I started thinking of another one of my favorite writers, Anthony Bourdain. Some of you may be familiar with his former show on the Travel Channel, No Reservations. Others may know him by his current show on CNN, Parts Unknown. And some may know him best by his bestselling book, Kitchen Confidential; a (hate to tell you this) very realistic portrait of life working in restaurants. But one of his books you may not have heard of is called the Les Halles Cookbook. This is a book that he wrote which includes a number of french dishes that he cooked while working as head and executive chef at the New York Brasserie, Les Halles (a restaurant I am determined to dine in myself one of these days).
Now there may be some out there who are still thinking, “Okay, great. What does this have to do with writing.” Well, as I say, Anthony Bourdain is a writer, and he has a great gift with words and imagery. And his cookbook is like none I’ve ever seen before or since. He does not simply list ingredients and steps. He tells you about the dish you are making, and gives you hints and secrets about the best way to cook it. And he does all of this with a talent for the use of language. If you can get it, I highly recommend you pick up the book. This is the only cookbook I have ever sat down to read for entertainment.
So here’s a challenge: (Completely stealing this from a public speaking assignment I had in college.) Write a recipe, or other seemingly doldrum instruction oriented piece, but do so with not only the purpose of informing, but entertaining as well. Instruction manuals, how-to guides, and cookbooks do not have to be boring to read. As a matter of fact, they shouldn’t be.