A lovely evening. Any party where I both discuss echidna penises with an enthusiastic audience, AND have to clean cognac out of my cleavage is a success, as far as I’m concerned.

Also, I owe my father an apology. Tequila and hot chocolate really IS a fabulous combination, and I doubted him. Mind you, it has to be good tequila, not paint thinner.

Today, however, I find myself with a dilemma, and you, O Readers, are the ones I’m hoping can help me out.

I got a call from my agent, who is very enthusiastic about an idea I pitched her more or less at random. “Write that. DO IT.”  And apparently she called my editor and got HER excited about the idea, before I’ve even set word to page.

It’s about a wizard who works exclusively with bread and dough and whatnot, and obviously baking is a huge part of it. Integral. Very Very Important. “Think of the merchandising!” my agent crowed. “We could do cookbooks!”

And it was right about then than the ice congealed along Ursula’s spine.

The adage “write what you know,” is overrated, but writing what you don’t know is fraught with peril. And what I know about baking is…zilch. Zip. Nada. I made bread a couple of times when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, but eventually I figured out that the cost-benefit analysis between “four hours of set up, gone in 15 minutes” was questionable. And sure, I can make chocolate chip cookies by following the back of the Tollhouse bag, but there are things growing under the ice of the planet Io that can make chocolate chip cookies by that method (geothermally, one would imagine) so that’s not any great skill.

A woman with no appetite, no culinary skills, and no counter space. But it’s such a lovely plot and has such great visuals…well, I’m willing to suffer for my art. (You can freeze dough, right?)

So! I cannot become a master of the baking arts in three months, even if I wanted to, but if I’m gonna write this, I figure need to at least tackle a couple of recipes. (Also, it’s probably the only time in my life I’ll be able to write a Cuisinart off as a research expense.) I’m thinkin’ I need A) a recommendation for a book, perhaps something along the lines of Baking For Utter Morons Who Talked Themselves Into A Corner With Their Agent, So That’ll Teach You To Be Clever, Huh? and B) if anybody has links to any really awesome recipes, I’m willing to tackle ’em.

Complex pastry is probably right out–I don’t think I need to fool with filo dough–but I’d like to try muffins, cinnamon rolls, bread, and…hell…maybe something with all those stupid little layers, I guess, just so I can fail miserably…and probably a couple of other things. Something with filling. Oof. Let me stress that I don’t need success so much as the experience.

Any thoughts?

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