Food & Creativity

Grilled Pork Chop
Grilled Pork Chops and Okra. This photo is from our Alabama days. This dinner was so good I have saved the photograph all this time.

Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten was made without a recipe. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten wasn’t cooked, or combined with anything else. It just was itself.

A couple of months ago I got a postcard from my mom when she was down in Key West. The postcard had a recipe on the back. It was a four-to-five step, 48 hour process, for “Mangos and Red Wine.” No Thanks. I’ll just drink the wine and eat the mangos. I don’t need a bunch of extra steps to reach the final consumption.

I love cooking. I love trying new recipes. Why not? I’ve got to eat…three times a day…and so does my husband. If I’m going to have to put minimal effort into something, I prefer to put a lot of effort into something. I’ve got a burn scar on my wrist (that unfortunately looks a lot like ringworm, I might add) from making my own tortillas to prove it. What I have a problem with is when I give something a lot of effort and don’t get the cooperation I deserve from it.

Pardon me, but I need to take this day to voice a few frustrations with food.

I severely dislike it when I spend multiple hours creating a meal and it doesn’t taste like I did. I do a bunch of shopping, storing, rinsing, chopping, mixing, sautéing, baking, resting, and cleaning…for what? In hind-sight sometimes I would have been better off just buying fresh bread and the most delicious, creamy, European butter I could find. Phil and I could sit down to a gorgeous plate of bread and butter, with a tall glass of beer garnished with a few olives to wash it down.

Plain and simple.

Apples and Peanut Butter.

Chips and Salsa.

Garlic and Oil.

Know what I mean?

I’m a reader though; and there’s nothing I enjoy more than reading a new recipe book. As I indulge in this past time I find myself drawn to recipes using, and combining, ingredients not in my repertoire. I am compelled to experiment. Like the time I found Arugula, Apple, Walnut, Parsley, and Potato Soup. It took me 2 hours to make, but what a miraculous creation it was. Fabulous culinary encounters remind me of something I once heard…

The enemy of creativity is fear.

If I’m afraid of failing a meal I may stifle the digestible creative. Who knows what other perils may follow. So even though I failed my Persimmon Cake…which turned out more like Persimmon Pudding…which is OK, but not what I was going for…Certainly does not mean that I am going to rule out Lentil Meatballs with Lemon Pesto.

Thanks for listening.