Every morning I go exploring in my yard. I go exploring for dew drops and sunshine. (Sunshine is not always an easy "explore" here in the East, especially this summer...) I go exploring for things to eat like herbs, fruits and/or vegetables. I go exploring for birds. (In return, the birds serenade me through my explore.) Mostly, I go exploring for inspiration.
Nature has so much to offer us. Mostly She offers us up inspiration and the opportunity to create something from nothing. In this last respect, Nature is like cooking. We get an inspiration (the something in this scenario) and create food (in plain English, the nothing in this scenario.) Say WHAT Mary? You're thinking, 'Did I just read that correctly?' Did Mary really just say food is nothing?!? Yep. Yepper. Yes. Yes-a-roonie. Yah. Ne. Right-y-o. YES! Food is nothing until someone, YOU namely comes along, gets inspired and turns it into something. Get it?
Now, before you go getting upset with me, let me finish. Food, is beautiful. Pure and simple.
The way a pot gently simmers and bubbles form and curl about the edge. Poetry.
The way a late summer peach is, well, peachy, in the sunlight. Gorgeous.
The way the fragrance of a food can make you call your family because the smell triggered a memory. Pricelessly perfect.
But, lets face it, food is nothing special until we make it into something special or present it as special.
Here is an example. I love fruit. Not just because it is delicious but because of the memories wrapped up in fruit. When I was young, my brothers and I were presented with fruit as dessert. My father would grab a plate of fresh apples, watermelon, peaches or plums from my grandparents tree or strawberries from the local stand and dole out slices to us in delicious little bites. Just fruit of the season. Not candied up or dipped in anything. Fruit. In fact, we fought over the last slices! Can you imagine? Children fighting over fruit! Not fighting over the last cookies mind you, fighting over fruit. Beautiful! Memory made. Fruit elevated to something...
See? Food is nothing until it is made into something. That is the gift of food preparation and cooking. Challenge yourself today to find inspiration with a fearless heart.
Challenge yourself now to go outside and find inspiration in the "everyday". Maybe sunshine on the water in your garden (and its gifts) will challenge you to make soup such as gazpacho vichyssoise. Maybe a bird's song will challenge you to find out who is in your yard and get to know them better. Maybe, just maybe, you will learn something new along the way... I guarantee your spirit will be lifted, even if the great inspiration your garden gives you is to order take out!
Avid home cook and passionate instructor