Have you noticed that creativity surfaces effortlessly at certain times of the day? Do you recognize that creative voice when it speaks? When is that? Early morning when the features of the day have yet to arise? Late at night when a comforting quiet cloaks the day’s activities? Do you act on what you hear, or do you suppress or ignore the voice as just another thought in the mind’s constant chatter?
I ask because I often spontaneously reconfigure portions of my day, placing my passions first, when the voice that comes through me makes itself heard over the voice that pesters at me.
So for me, a good example of this in the context of food (because so much experience in my life has the context of food) is a simple intuition to use the beautiful ingredients in my frig to put a meal together for a friend. No pomp. No circumstance. Just simple creativity.
Perhaps it’s slicing and roasting an eggplant, then layering the slices, lasagna-style, with fresh mozzarella or herbed goat cheese, fresh heirloom tomatoes, and either tapenade or basil-flavored oil. It’s a wonderful main dish, earthy, flavorful and visually stunning, and is only limited by the fresh ingredients you have on hand.
Maybe it’s using those greens you found at market (amaranth, dandelion greens, young lettuces) as the foundation for your version of Salad Nicoise with tuna, hard-boiled (or better yet, poached) eggs with small potatoes, olives and young green beans. A teaspoon or two of a hearty English or fiery Asian mustard in a basic vinaigrette makes the flavors pop.
What about grilling or smoking those vegetables (peppers, fennel, garlic cloves, even tomatoes) in your crisper, and making them the main course served over a great grilled bread and arugula salad? Add softly sauteed, thinly sliced, elegant chicken sausages if you’d like a protein bump. Top with that homemade ricotta we talked about awhile back. A plate of heaven with literally no effort.
There are two points. 1. Creativity is always present and available to us. It’s simply recognizing the voice when it whispers. 2. Employ that creativity using the ingredients you already have to assemble a meal as a gift for a friend. It is a gift, you know.
Pick up the phone. Your friend awaits.