Thanks to everyone who submitted their original, thoughtful and personal Reason for Not Eating Out #27 entries! There were so many good reasons among them — including avoiding the “drunken riff-raff” or the walloping calories of Southern eaten-out specialties. I go the sense that a lot of you are bloggers trapped in a busy person’s body. Should you decide to take up blogging (if you don’t already), I will be your first reader!
I ultimately chose to post Jess Habalou‘s ode to cooking and creativity, which made me laugh, nod and learn something new. And without further ado, the first-ever guest-written Reason of the Month post…
Reason for Not Eating Out #27: Finding Your Art
As an artistic soul trapped in the body of a dyslexic five-year-old missing a digit or two, I’ve spent a lifetime in a frustrated search for a creative outlet. I always wanted to draw, but even stick figures prove a formidable challenge for me. Forget collage, as I’m seemingly incapable of cutting out fine shapes without hacking them to bits. Even after ten years of guitar, I’ve barely advanced past a four-bar, power-chord structure (though sweet was my victory over F and B – in yo’ face!).
In cooking, I found my muse. For years, she sat in the many kitchen chairs I’ve seen, drumming her fingers on the table, chin in hand, mumbling: “Aaany day now. Yup. She’ll figure it out.” So why not eat out? Because home-cooking might just be your shaktipat, your inspiring lightening bolt to the head. It took a lot of missteps and heartaches and near-failures to figure out that food is my canvas. Whether I’m rummaging through the fridge or pantry in an effort to Frankenstein-up a one-pot meal, or meticulously picking through a bin at the farmer’s market to find the lucky tomato to bring home, I finally feel like I’m in my creative element.
If you’re already an artist, then you’re in luck. Food is as much about pairing colors, shapes and textures as it is about flavor profiles and sick knife skills. Sounds like a stretch? Think about a summer slaw: ribbons of crisp, slightly bitter purple cabbage with shavings of the freshest, sweetest orange carrot in a tangy vinaigrette. Or those kissin’ cousins from Capri: basil, tomato, and mozzarella. Green, red and white aren’t just for Christmas anymore. It’s all in the color wheel. And if science is your gig, you’re in luck. I’ve always thought there was a beautiful, complex overlay between art and science, and not just because both subjects were my downfall in middle school. The complexity, and the dance between dogma and total subjectivity – there’s a secret romance there. And cooking reveals all sorts of physical and chemical wonders. If you don’t believe it, try baking a loaf of bread. Even if it fails miserably, you can chalk it up as a lab experiment and tweak the conditions for next time.
Would I, or any of us, have figured this out if we’d stayed in the habit of calling up the same ol’ Thai place for dinner or ducking in for yet another bagel in a low-glycemic, early-morning trance? Hardly. If you’re like me – the only one of your friends without a band, studio, or BFA – try putting down the menu and creating your own artistic niche’n in the kitchen. Even starving artists have to eat.