I seem to watch a lot of The Food Network Its good clean TV for my kids to be around and there is always something amazing happening on that channel.
But my husband made a comment about my Food Network viewing that sort of struck me funny...he said that for so regularly watching shows about cooking, I didn't ever seem to change up my meal repertoire. hmmmm...
So...I got to thinking...what exactly am I watching it for?
I came to the conclusion that I watch it because it inspires me...I simply love watching those people work...and I think I'm secretly hoping that my kids pick up some cooking chops that I can't necessarily teach them.
As I pondered, I figured out that these amazing chefs teach me a lot about art in general. Here is what I'm learning from the Food Network.
1) You can make something good from very few seemingly unassociated ingredients. I'm not sure how these folks do it, but the chefs who compete onChopped always manage to take a bunch of things that don't belong together and make really great looking dishes. How do they do that!?!?! But I know in art it can be the same thing...sometimes what ties the ingredients of a project together is YOU. Now, lets be real - if I open my cupboards and find frozen fish sticks, a can of white beans, seedless rasberry jam and some corn chips, chances are strong there wont' be any magnificent dishes that come from it. But the inspiration to TRY is still there.
2) Setting a timer sometimes brings out your best creativity. If you learn nothing from Rachel Ray and 30 Minute Meals it should be that you can do pretty much anything with 30 minutes and a well-prepped set of ingredients. There are actually two lessons to this show...one is that trying to produce a complete project in a time constraint is terribly inspiring. But the other lesson is probably that your space and your supplies should be ready to go...clean brushes, a clean work surface, scissors and pens and other supplies should be where they "go" so you don't waste time looking for things when the timer is ticking away.
3) Really great things can be found in the most unexpected places. Guy Fieri really hits a home-run with Diners, Drive In's and Dives. He makes it clear that the best things don't always come in the designer packages. For me creatively, this is made abundantly clear when I see trash-to-treasure projects, up-cycled decor and the magnificent things that can be done with stuff like old books and barn wood. When you think that new isn't always better, it really opens up the creative world.
4) Challenges produce great results. Robert Irving is constantly faced with impossible time, size and supply constraints on Dinner Impossible. But this guy uses magic (and a lot of yelling) to produce amazing dishes for HUGE crowds with supplies I might not even buy for my own family. He's such an inspiration (except for the yelling) for me to really embrace challenges to my art.
5) Being true to your own way of doing things brings huge success. There is no doubt that Duff from Ace of Cakes does things his own way. The designs are out of this world and he often uses power tools and explosives to get his creations to stand out. Perhaps the best thing I ever got from Duff is that weird is good. When you aren't trolling the status quoue, you are probably being the best creative self you can muster.
6) Limiting yourself to one key ingredient can really rev up your creative juices and 7) Having a mentor to challenge you can help you make huge creative leaps. Iron Chef America is just an awesomely inspiring show...it moves lightening quick and all these people are just working away on a single ingredient. Think about this...how many ways can you serve up yellow? How about a spoon? Paper mache? and on top of that, these chefs challenge a mentor, an Iron Chef, to a duel...what if you found a creativity partner and had a challenge between you each month to use one supply or ingredient? I predict you would have some super creative results!
8) Really creative goodness doesn't have to cost a lot of money. One of the greatest things Ten Dollar Dinners With Melissa D'Arabian is Melissa's thriftiness and accessability. She can make a meal we all would eat, using things that we all would have in our pantry. And it really made me think...what could I do with my room full of supplies if I didn't buy one single thing for a couple of months??!?!? hmmmmm...
9)The art you make to comfort yourself will be irresistable to others. Nigella Lawson has had the show Nigella Feasts for a long time. She makes no bones about food being a comfort for her. The thing is that watching her cook makes me want to cook...and seeing the comfort food she makes has me thinking about fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Creatively speaking, I find that the art I have made to satisfy my own need to create is the stuff that most people end up loving...something to think about.
10) Sometimes, its good to bring experts in to help you out when you get stumped. Rescue Chef is one of thos shows where the cooking challenged get help from a pro. I have often stared at a blank page and wondered what in the world I was going to do with it. This is when I call in the "experts." I get out there and see what other people are doing with their blank pages...I look for ideas and techniques that I can use to drive me creatively...it never fails, even if what I end up doing is a complete scraplift.
What do you think? Are there shows you watch that spur your creativity?
What lessons are you learning from your everyday world?