Saturday, November 7, 2009
Cooking up Creativity
For example, my dad, an artist, adored making fudge. He never ate sweets, but every couple of months he'd make an enormous, vast amount of fudge, two to four pounds of the sweet stuff. He'd use all the best ingredients and spend hours creating pan after pan. When it had cooled, he'd take a tiny square to taste and make sure it worked. The rest of us ate the rest.
I've wondered about why he made fudge and have come to the conclusion that he enjoyed the process. He enjoyed using myriad ingredients, sometimes in new and different ways. And when those new and different ingredients and ways didn't work, he'd toss the batch out and start over (even if we wanted to eat the experiment). Because it was only fudge, only took a limited amount of time, and unlike his art work, was not going to go up for sale, he played while he created.
This is transferable to our creative work. When I remember, during process, to play, to try new ingredients and new ways, and to be willing to toss the entire batch out, I'm much more creative. I'm more likely to get into the flow of the work, instead of slogging through page after page.
I wish I had my dad's fudge recipes, but they were all in his head. Instead, in honor of the big food festival, follows are two recipes, both easy and delicious.
Here's a baking powder biscuit recipe:
2 cups white flour (can be unbleached)
1 teas. baking powder (I use more)
pinch of salt (omittable)
5-6 tablespoons of any oil or fat (I use canola)
2/3 c. of milk (soy ok)
Mix, dough will be stiff, I usually don't bother to roll into roll shape, 'cause I like 'em weird, but feel free to roll your dough.400 degrees for 15 minutes. Done.
Molasses Cake (This is one you can play with a lot, very forgiving.)
1/2 c. molasses (light or dark, your choice)
2/3 c. water
1/2 c. raisins (can be omitted, other dried fruits can be substituted)
1/2 teas. cinnamon
1/2 teas. cloves
1/2 teas. baking soda (I use more)
1 and 3/4 c. white flour
Boil water, combine with molasses and raisins, boil 5 minutes (to soften dried fruit) let cool.
Combine other ingredients together, add mixture.
Spray 8" by 8" pan (or oil and flour) bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
I use more of the spices listed above and often add ginger and nutmeg, sometimes even a touch of chili powder. I often add a half cup of chocolate bits and/or a half cup of nuts. This cake is a little dry and not terribly sweet, so sometimes I melt chocolate bits on the top for a quick frosting and sometimes I frost the cake, depending on mood. Plain, this makes a good breakfast cake.
So, dear readers, what are your favorite recipes for creativity? How do you bake up a wonderful novel or painting or song or?