The Culture and Cuisine Club is excited to feature Young Adult author and world traveler, Melissa Pearl. Melissa’s popular and engaging books are appropriate for young teens, but are enjoyed by a wide demographic. It is no surprise that she is able to write with such confidence – she has lived all over the world and currently resides in Auckland, New Zealand. Melissa’s cultural experiences are evident in her books and the fascinating characters she creates. She has generously shared a family recipe, her Nana’s mouth-watering lemon custard soufflé. I’m hungry!
In the author’s own words, a story about beating writer’s block…
When people find out I’m a writer, I often get asked the same questions. One that pops up frequently is, “Do I ever get writer’s block?” and “How do I deal with it?” My answer is always the same. I don’t tend to get it too much during the writing phase, however when I’m in the throes of planning out my next book, I hit blocks all the time.
For example: Is it realistic for my character to do something? If they do that, will the reason be clear to my reader? I need to find a plausible reason or explanation for why a character would be in a particular situation. Would my reader find a certain action believable? How am I going to have a character involved in a certain situation when I also need them to witness the same scene?
Those are just a few of the questions that run through my head as I’m working on an outline. My best plan of attack when I’m stumped is to walk away from my computer and let my mind stew for a while. There are a few things that are optimal for good brain stewing. Walking is one, taking a shower is another, and then there’s cooking something delicious.
Cooking is a great problem solver. My mind wanders all over the place as I slice and dice, fry and sauté, blend and stir. It is a calming, thought provoking activity that often helps me answer those niggling questions about whatever story I’m working on.
It was really hard for me to choose a recipe to share with you today. I have so many favourites. In honor of my Nana who passed away this year, I’m going to pass on one of my favourite desserts of all time. She gave the recipe to my mom before I was born and my mom passed it on to me. It’s my Nana’s amazing lemon custard soufflé. Delectable no matter how it’s served – hot, cold, with or without cream. I love it anyway it comes. It’s a refreshing, light treat that was always particularly scrumptious after one of Nana’s savory roast dinners.
NANA BENNETT’S LEMON CUSTARD SOUFFLÉ
2 T butter
4 T flour
1 c sugar (make this a small cup – it can be too sweet otherwise – I’d even say 3/4 c)
1 c milk
2 eggs (separated)
1 large lemon (juice & rind)
Cream sugar and butter together. Add flour & juice/rind of lemon. Add milk, which already has egg yolks beaten into it. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then with a spatula, blend gently into mixture. Pour into a greased casserole dish; sit the dish in a deeper dish with water coming halfway up the sides. Cook in a 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) oven for about 45 minutes (may need longer depending on your oven).
You can find out more about Melissa and her books at the following links: