Care And Feeding Of a Writer: Cooking Hacks

Let’s face it, writing can be stressful. From wrestling with your rough drafts to crafting query letters, writers are constantly wondering if what they’re doing is good enough, relevant to their careers, and the perennial nail-biter, will I get paid for this.

Okay, maybe stressful is an understatement.

Just like Britt, the heroine in Changing Teams, cooking is my Zen.

I don’t set out to master multi-step gourmet recipes (though those can be fun, too), but I do like to eat well and use a variety of fresh ingredients. However, that comes with it’s own set of stress: buying fresh herbs gets expensive, and much like poor-ass Britt I don’t have the time or the climate to maintain my own herb garden. Here are a few tips and tricks (read: hacks) I’ve picked up along the way that both help my budget and up my taste quotient.

*Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with these products or companies, other than I’ve purchased and eaten them.

Lemongrass paste: Lemongrass imparts a citrusy, herby flavor that just can’t be mimicked. Instead of buying a whole stalk that will dry out before you use it, try this paste. Saute it with some chopped garlic and butter, and add it to white rice for a quick, flavorful side dish.

Ginger paste: Much like the lemongrass paste above, ginger paste is more economical than purchasing a whole root, and will last much longer. Use it in everything from stir fry to marinades.


Freeze dried chives are up there with canned tomatoes and frozen corn in terms of year-round freshness. it only takes a moment to rehydrate them, and they taste identical to fresh.

I love love love this chili paste! You get the flavor of the chilies along with some heat. It’s a great way to spice up everything from salsa to shakshuka.

Those are some of my favorite ingredients for gourmet cooking on a budget. What are some of your favorite cooking hacks?

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