I don’t think of myself as the most creative soul on the planet but I recognize that there are many ways to demonstrate our creativity. Music is one; but for me my music has always been a largely private experience, shared only with a select few. I’ve never developed it to the extent that I might have liked or hoped but, on a personal level, it nonetheless means a lot.
These days, however, my creativity is finding its outlet as often in the kitchen as in the music room. There is something about the textures, the colors, the scents….the feel…of time in the kitchen that allows me to remove myself from the day to day. It brings me pleasure. It relaxes me.
It offers me variety and challenges as well. There are days when precision and care is called for — and times when free-lancing and improvisation are the order of the day. Then there are those mundane tasks. I like the mundane tasks. To cut vegetables. To mix dough. To saute. To steam. To boil. To spice….ahhh…to spice.
The spice cupboard at home is filled to overflowing these days…with everything from asafetida to kala namak and from cumin to oregano to turmeric and more. Just opening the door of the cupboard releases scents that make my heart sing, my mouth water and my imagination leap.
Today I was able to transform potatoes, leeks, onions and garlic into a creamy and satisfying potato leek soup. Accompanied by a salad with arugula, mixed greens, peppers, celery, tomatoes, green onions, red grapes and clementine morsels it was fresh, healthy, satisfying and, if I dare to be so bold, tasty.
In the morning, an eggless frittata with cauliflower, mushrooms and peppers, will start the day. Then there are vegan fajitas to prepare for tomorrow night and, with a bit of guacamole, some vegan sour cream, and an oil-free hemp seed mojo that I’m experimenting with, I’m excited to see what emerges.
It is true; to cook is to create but, of course, not every creation is perfect. Some dishes exceed expectations, others fail. But I hope that, wherever they may fall on that spectrum, they might please those willing to sample my endeavors.
I have joked often in recent months that my new job is as Leija’s executive chef. But I enjoy it. Very much. And preparing something that Leija, and anyone else who ventures into our kitchen, might enjoy is a pleasure, and a gift.
So today, I write about cooking, because that is what is on my mind. No great meanings. No philosophy. Just the joy of cooking…and with it today, the joy of writing…because tomorrow I’ll likely be too busy cooking and eating to write.