I was recently asked by a good friend ‘Where do you come up with the flavour combinations?”
The response did not come quickly as I have honestly not really spent a great deal of time exploring the answer before. The initial reply was – I just do, or it just does. In reality the initial response is a cop out. It truly is.
Inspiration can come from many sources and is excelled by your own characteristics along with the momentum of success after trial and error. This can be attributed to many skills and aspects of our lives.
Past experiences and building a history provides us with basic understanding and knowledge. We use that knowledge to build our confidence and competency when resolving problems.
Our skill base increases as we experience things, eventually we become fully confident in our actions.
I like, no love! – to have systems, charts and process in place. Seriously, I have a spread sheet for packing on our annual camping trips. My husband recently commented on my cooking techniques – “You like a structured approach to work, running the household and other things you do. You however, veer away from recipes without hesitation, change things mid cooking process without batting an eye and measure based on eye balling it and the texture of the mixture.” Hmm. He was right.
The confidence evolved from a foundation of growing up in my Mom’s kitchen where there was always something going on. Adding later the continual actions of my own cooking that is now extending to teaching my daughter. It is amazing how much you can learn by teaching someone else. At only 3 years old, she can identify the correct measure cups and spoons sizes, recount what goes in some dishes we make, has a passion to try new foods and pretends to cook like a pro in her own play kitchen. She is a great part of my culinary inspiration.
The eagerness to learn is contagious.
Often doing something for ourselves is harder than assisting someone else. It is easy to defer to the needs of another above our own. As a parent, this is all too common. Continuous learning is the key. With our biweekly visits to the library, there is a bag full of books about cars, monsters, princesses, counting and fairies. But there is at least 1 book for me. A cook book. The theme is different each time and something must be tried from each one.Take the opportunity for yourself to learn a new technique, flavour profile or ingredient. Our kitchen often has a combination of ingredients that need to be ‘dealt with’ and we often try to incorporate some new items to try.
So in this case the inspiration came from necessity and our environment.
Which is not such a bad things as the result can be quite delightful. For example the unusually hot spring and summer last year meant the grape harvest in the backyard was ready early and all at the same time. It is usually in 2 harvests which provides a more relaxed pace. So, 56 cups of concord grapes were picked as the bird would surely have a feast if they were left for one day longer. What to do with them this year? Last year’s jam and jellies were regular grape, spiced grape and grape with port (ran out of pressed grape juice for the last batch). So this year regular for sure as the supply was down from last year. Still have good supply of the spiced and the grape port. Let’s do ginger grape and some fresh rosemary with red wine (port experience was a good learning mistake). It all ended in great results over a weekend of grape jam & jelly making.
So no matter what you do all these principals can be applied. Passion if feed from the inspiration you are surrounded with along with willingness to adapt and learn. *a little muse doesn’t hurt either.
What is your inspiration?