“My wife creates art on a plate! Sometimes, it looks too good to eat.
Not really, I always eat it!”
These words were spoken by a pastor several years ago, who was preaching a sermon series about the spiritual disciplines. This particular sermon was about the spiritual discipline of fellowship. He suggested one way to practice this discipline was by offering hospitality to folks (1 Peter 4:9) and sharing a meal together. As I heard the words he spoke, my ears perked up. Why? Well, the pastor preaching was my husband and he was talking about me.
I never realized he thought that the meals I cooked every day were creative, much less art. In fact, during this particular season of my life, I didn’t feel very creative at all. For a longtime musician, this was a difficult journey to walk. One that brought many questions and much self-reflection.
Music no longer brought me joy. Because it had become so much of who I was, how people identified me and what was expected of me, I began to resent it; I suppose. It no longer felt as if I was creating something, but rather just going through the motions of something that I had always done.
Music was my life and had been since I was about four-years old, when I started taking piano lessons; through middle school, when I started playing cello; into college, when I became a voice major, singing every opportunity I was given; and now, where I found myself, teaching music in my home studio and at a local university.
Aimlessly, I was seeking out a creative outlet. Yet, here I was hearing this pastor (my husband) say that his wife created art on a plate. All my life, I had enjoyed food and all that it entailed; however, it was more utilitarian, than creative, or artistic.
In that moment, I realized cooking was my creative outlet. From selecting the tools and ingredients to creating new recipes with a variety of tastes, colors and textures, it all made sense—food, cooking, and, most importantly, sharing the two with those that I love was my creative outlet.
Some of my friends, think me odd at the joy I have walking through Pike Place Market (love the flowers, fish and fragrances), local farmer’s markets (fresh is best), kitchen stores (Browsing around Sur la Table and William Sonoma make me so happy. My husband takes me on date nights here! Can you believe?), and ethnic grocery stores (There is a great Asian market in Lynnwood, WA.) to check out the latest food finds, kitchen gadgets (However, I am pretty streamlined in the kitchen, using only what is necessary.) and cookbooks (My husband laughs at me because I rarely use recipes, but have a major collection of cookbooks).
Yet, here I am. A foodie. A lover of all things food-related. Cooking it. Tasting it. Reading about it. Purchasing it. Eating it. But mostly, creating it to share with others because this is how I show love to those in my little corner of the world.
While I have regained my love of music (performing, instructing, and writing), cooking continues to be where I truly feel most creative and “in the zone.” It’s what I do when I am inspired to create, or deflated from a stress-filled day, or in need of some time to think about decisions to be made. It is not drudgery to me. It is my time to use fabulous flavors, spices, textures and tastes to create, experiment and risk in an environment that is loving, forgiving and safe.
“Some people like to paint pictures, or do gardening, or build a boat in the basement. Other people get a tremendous pleasure out of the kitchen because cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing, or wood carving, or music.”