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Archive for October, 2009

Cooking

Sometimes I feel guilty about how much I love cooking. Mostly, I just love that I love it, but ever once and a while I feel like I’m cheating on my music with cooking. I think, I’m not supposed to love this so much, repeat: music is my passion, music is my passion, music is my passion.

But, as my good friend Shannon reminded me today, sometimes certain creative pleasures enhance our work in other areas, rather than detract from it.

Even though I tend to do most of the cooking for me and Ryan, occasionally we’ll hop in the kitchen together, and it’s a lot of fun. I think he put it well the other night when he was preparing one of his specialties, tomato and cucumber salad, he admitted, “I like cooking. When I’m cooking, I don’t think of anything else.” Without realizing it, he put into words exactly how I feel three times a day.

My goal with cooking has always been to be able to cook without recipes. Whether that means not needing to thumb through cookbooks and make lists of ingredients before going to the grocery, or if I’m standing over the stove, not needing to constantly glance down at the page, but rather to know with certainty what will happen if I turn up the heat or pour in a 1/4 cup of dry white wine.

And, I have to say my ultimate, ultimate goal, is not to just cook without recipes, but to create my own. It’s in this mission that I find the most commonalities with music and the most creative freedom. To be able to blindly smell a spice and know what it is, what other flavors would go well with it, what kind of recipe you would use it in and the manner and stage in the recipe in which you would add it. To go to the market and not have a shopping list, but come home with the freshest ingredients and just an idea of how you’ll prepare them.

Smelling a spice is like hearing a chord of music. What is the tone? Would you use this chord in a sad song, a happy song? A song that is reflective, defiant, vengeful? What other chords go well with it? Does is lend to being played fast or slow? Heard as an entire chord or arpeggiated?

It’s funny that I loved becoming immersed in these details and subtleties of music… which really are just a string of a million, small, intricate decisions. Yet, day-to-day, I agonize over making decisions. I can spend five minutes in the supermarket staring at the cans of Progresso soup: “Which ones should I get? It’s 4 for $5, what if I only find three that I want? I feel like Clam Chowder now, but what if I don’t later in the week? What if their Chicken Tortilla is not spicy enough and too watered down? Is MSG really that bad for you?” Indecisiveness really is a form of torture and I’m not quite sure why I do it to myself. It wouldn’t have anything to do with my incessant pursuit of perfection and my fear of making “wrong” decisions, would it? Nope… nah…. totally unrelated.

Getting back to the topic at hand:

At this point in my blog, I have one post about music and one about food. They have equal weight right now. The balance is level. With post #2 I think I’ve officially broadened the scope of this blog to be about music and food. And, eventually, hopefully, the blog will fill out into a lovely blog about the pursuit of goodness. (I would have said happiness, but that one’s already taken). And, what I hope to show you later (right now, it’s just a hypothesis) is how following the path of self-fulfillment can ultimately lead you to be the best servant to others.

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