Monday, June 27, 2011

Enjoying creativity even when it's packaged with necessity

I (finally) got a subscription to BBC GoodFood magazine as a mother's day gift this year and I can always count on it to reignite my can-do, will-do, will-enjoy resolve to keep feeding my family. I've just torn through and drooled over it the last hour during Liam's nap!

I've heard a lot of mums confess that it's all the extra washing that gets to them. Laundry is the chore they just can't keep up with. For me, it's all the extra cooking. Between menu planning, list making, grocery shopping, prepping, cooking and cleaning the kitchen - it can feel like a full time job with the family as a part-time second gig.

I do enjoy cooking, mostly just because I enjoy eating well, but I am easily bored and do not really like cooking the same things over and over again which makes it a difficult task to keep up with. I am sadly not someone with any skill at just throwing something together. I tried it one night and it didn't go over well with anyone, so it's essential that I constantly be trolling for recipe inspiration to guide me.

I quite enjoy following recipes. I love that someone else has done the dirty work of trial and error and I get to just do it one time and enjoy the perfection (that's the hope anyway). I also like the organisation of a good recipe - everything laid out in simple easy to follow steps in an exact order for efficiently economising your time. Yes, this is a bit telling of my personality and interestingly enough cooking is where I first began to regain my creative self.

My husband and I were apart for a few months when moving from America to Ireland and during this time I had the unique opportunity to live with, now good friends, Kit and Amy. Kit is an amazing professional chef and Amy is no pushover in the kitchen with her blueberry lemon cake, red velvet cupcakes and gazpacho being unrivaled! Mmm!

I had the good fortune of being able to accompany Kit in the kitchen most nights for cooking supper. The kitchen was literally the central room in their house, it's where most our time was spent and it was where very, very good things came from.

I've tried to take that way of life with me and enjoy and explore in the kitchen as much as possible. I want to raise a family on home cooking (a more distinct decision when you're from the 'fast food nation'). This can look like a chore and a necessity or it can be one of those small, daily outlets for creativity if chosen to see it that way.

For me at the moment, seeing cooking as something creative doesn't have to be big or fancy - we don't have nightly feasts - it just has to be good, it has to bring enjoyment and it has to be genuinely appreciated.

Sometimes we overlook our own creativity just because it's packaged with necessity. I say, take a minute and pat yourself on the back for the last lovely meal you made and then go indulge in hunting down a new yummy recipe to enjoy! (The pictures above are two winners I made recently!)

From the kitchen this time,

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