Food as art ...
As a follow up to my last article I thought I’d discuss the notion of food as art or as a creative outlet. For me, creative expression has always been a fundamental part of who I am. Some sew, some play instruments. For the longest time my outlet was dance and movement. As I got older and various injuries caught up with me, I quit dance and turned my attention to more academic ventures including the study of gastroanthropology. What I found was the pang of creative urges didn’t disappear and needed to manifest itself in another area. Food and cooking bridged the academic and creative gap for me, and in many ways, I have found it even more endlessly fascinating as the possibilities are virtually endless.
Consider the artist’s palate. The myriad of colors of vegetables and fruits, herbs and spices, types of proteins, plates and dishes. The only barrier is the creative urge that can sometimes be fleeting. And art, of course, is subjective, as it has always been, so I’m well aware that what I find to be a masterpiece may not be met with the enthusiasm I had in creating it. That doesn’t always matter as the fulfillment often comes in the process. Although I won’t lie, I get endless pleasure out of seeing clean plates come back to the kitchen.
Sometimes inspiration comes from a variety of places. Guest requests are one source. For example a while back, a group had been doing a Bible study based on the story of Amistad and requested a West African menu, which of course appealed to the anthropologist in me. I spent days researching the cultures along the West Coast of Africa and enjoyed discovering the individual food habits of those cultures and coming up with a menu that represented them. Out of that menu came a delicious pumpkin and peanut soup recipe that I have since added to my repertoire.
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