Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Linguistic Hotdish

Click here, then read.

What is this word "hotdishing"? What language does she speak?

While you may not be able to find "hotdishing" in a dictionary, its root word ("hotdish") has a long and colorful history in Minnesota. Simply put, "hotdish" is the Midwestern term for "casserole", which usually begins with a cream of mushroom soup base and spills unto us from the Lord with everything from rice and noodles to mixed vegetables and Cheez Whiz. There are meated hotdishes, vegetarian, transgendered varieties—one for every mood and occasion, every fridge full of leftovers. Give me your tired, your poor, your intoxicated--there's a hotdish out there with your name on it.

I'm raising the word "hotdish" away from the confines of a lowly food noun, up and out of the kitchen to a freshly minted verb, "hotdishing": to write casually about seemingly disparate topics that all fit together. I'll try to do that here, keeping in mind that my mother is reading, and perhaps only my mother. Go easy on the hot.

Which brings up a new ingredient, a tryst worth considering: Who am I writing for, and why? For me, striving to connect with readers—to entertain them or persuade them—has meant different approaches over the years. Sometimes I was writing to impress my English teacher; other times I was trying to win a man's love. Sometimes it was both at once.

Sometimes I wrote to beg for money or mercy--and I got them, too.

Tonight I'm writing for you, cuddled as you might be on your couch, or erect in your office chair. I'm also writing for the cute and funny sports doctor who electrocuted the nerves in my left arm yesterday, testing my reflexes. I always have somebody specific whose mind I want to change, whose heart I want to break, or whose smile I want to see...when I write, that is.

Outside of that, I’m just a normal person buying groceries.

I hope the electrocutioner reads this and laughs--my favorite reward, what makes the work worth it.


  1. I originally liked BLAHging soley for myself but now that I've gotten to know my modest fan base I write with them in mind. They helped me set limits and helped me to be nicer than I really am.

  2. Do you ever read what I write?

    I wonder.

    Still...I enjoy your writing, and I hope your electrocutioner does as well.

  3. Interesting post. Your writing always draws me in. It flows easily, has great detail and is pretty much free from the overused expressions du jour. I might not always be comfortable with what you write, but it's always worth reading. So - thank you!

    And, unless you have a hotdish recipe with Cheez Whiz that you are keen to share, I will have to google that. Sounds like comfort food to me.