Thursday, July 08, 2010

10 Things I've Learned About Art from the Food Network

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 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 moves lightening quick and all these people are just working away on a single ingredient. Think about 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 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?

Peace, ya'll.


Rachel said...

I love cooking shows too, Nigella being one of my favourites.

Meghann said...

I LOVE the Food Network! I watch it all the time. The two most inspiring to me are Giada & Ina. I have taken a lot of their recipes from their shows because they're so easy & tasty!

**** April **** said...

Woman, you're hilarious! I'm no Macguiver (sp?) in the kitchen either but I can certainly hold my own.

I'd enver inspire to BE on a show like Chopped, though.

Was hubs being nice about it or was he being snarky? LOL... I think that'd totally be how i tempered my comeback to his response! LOL... :) hee hee

Rachel Ray has all her stuff prepped, washed and stuff before hand. I've tried THREE of her 30 minute meals. They took over an hour and a half each! LOL. I guess when you're totally experienced you can pull that off. Not me.

I LOOOOVE Triple D! :) Guy is awesome. He can eat really big things! There are two dived around Dallas he featured and now I wanna go there!

My friend Melissa... ($10 dinners) I SO wish they would have given her $20! LOL Seriously, that woman is so amazing. I can't imagine if they bumped up her budget a little. Come ON! We can all afford twenty bucks. I was hoping they'd let her take a slant on "Busy Moms" because having 4 kids and STILL serving delicious, nutritious meals is something we can ALL relate to...

Sam said...

We used to be huge Food Network fans, but really only watch the Alton and Guy shows with a little Iron Chef now. I am obsessed with the new Cooking Channel, though - it's what Food Network used to be "back in the good ol' days".

And, April - same here with the Rachael Ray recipes. I had a few of her early cookbooks and NOTHING took under 30 minutes, they tended to be crazy expensive and I've never used one of her recipes that I liked enough to make again.

shaina said...

oh my goodness... this is such a fabulous post. because the lessons learned can be applied to all areas of life. :D
chopped is my absolute favorite!! :D
and scott conant has that new restaurant in 24 hours show coming soon... that one looks cool. :D

sharyncarlson said...

love love this post! We often watch the Food Network and you've given me a whole new appreciation!