Cooking for me, as it is for many foodies and chefs, is a form of art. Others may use pastels, oils, acrylics, etc. I paint with words in my blogs and writings and with food when I am cooking. Even when something looks simple, like tomato soup, I want people to appreciate the layers of flavor, which are beneath that red silky appearance. I have come to realize how important a few things are for me to be present in my studio and what facilitates my being in the state of flow, or optimal experience, and what can throw me out of it. One thing, for example, is not being able to find the spice or other ingredient I need at a crucial moment. Another is not being able to find the right piece of equipment. The other day, I could not find my vegetable peeler. A clear message to me it was time to do some reorganizing in my kitchen
When I have a clear vision of what I am going to create and what I need mise en place is awesome. However, there are those moments when I just feel inspired to create something and get surprised because what I thought I had, like some thyme or basil, is either not in the spice closet or in where I can find it (a few times it has mysteriously reappeared later).
Preparing my artistic kitchen, which is still a work in progress, entails making sure I have the basics so that I can be inspired by what is present, but also have everything I need to bring my inspiration into being. I am learning I must work on my artistic kitchen with the same diligence as I have my spiritual library. In my spiritual library, I have what a foodie could call my “cookware.” I have my spiritual writings from a number of faith traditions. I have my collection of Buddhist writings, the Bhaghavad Gita, the Quran, the Hebrew Bible and New Testament and a few other “pieces.” I have my “utensils.” I have my concordance, my commentaries, my dictionaries, and a few other “utensils.” I also have my diversity of “spices, staples and other good things to have on hand.” I have my oracle cards, tarot cards, inspirational cards, crystals, beads, shells, candles, water fountain, poetry, images, and “other good things to have on hand.” This well stocked spiritual library allows me to be surrounded by inspiration and to have at my fingertips everything I need to add dimension to what I feel inspired to create.
My kitchen is the same way; I must have the proper cookware for the job. It is hard to successfully create a batch of my ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies as I shared with my tarot group last night if I did not have a cookie sheet. Although I must say, my cookies almost did not come into fruition when my hand mixer died while beating the butter and sugar. This is when I was grateful for the presence of my hand beater (yes you can still find those at garage sales), which helped me to achieve a nice creamy texture to my sugar butter mixture.
As I work on refining my gifts this year, I am committing to being mindful to the development of my spiritual and culinary libraries. Something tells me the best is yet to come.