[This is a guest post from the Queen of Twitter, Ms Amy Palko]
I love cookery books. I love those gorgeously shot photographs of fresh produce, melting cheeses, and steam rising from just-out-of-the-oven casseroles. I love the language of food: juicy, zest, flavour, aromatic, unctuous, drizzle. I have whole shelves of bookcases where recipe books jostle, tempting me with vegetarian curries, creamy risottos, lighter-than-air cupcakes, home-baked breads and extravagant seafood soups.
But, here’s my confession: I can’t follow a recipe to save my life.
I can spend hours pouring over the details of how to make the perfect Hungarian goulash, and then when I actually start the process of making it, the book might as well be back on the shelf wedged between Jamie and Nigella. My taste buds start to wonder what it would be like if I added red wine, smoked sea salt and maybe some cinnamon. And wouldn’t fresh chilies be nicer than powder or flakes? Oh, and I have that nice salami in the fridge… Some more wine perhaps?
I am, what some would term, an experimental cook. It works out more often than not. I’ve only really had a few disasters. Made-from-scratch gnocchi (soggy dough) and a barley souffle (solid tasteless brick) stand out as two of the worst. And I very rarely manage to recreate any dish in precisely the same way twice.
But I won’t ever change the way I cook, because this is one of the ways that I express my creativity on a daily basis. The chopping, the mixing, the stirring, the simmering… it all contributes to my creative expression. And it does so in a way that is absolutely embedded in my ordinary every day. I have to cook every day, or the family doesn’t get fed. So I may as well approach it in the same way that I approach taking photographs, drawing pictures in my journal, writing stories and knitting lacy scarves.
I think we get so conditioned into believing that creativity only comes in certain forms. That to be creative means that you have to be engaged in producing an artistic item: a painting, a poem, a photograph. But actually, when we invite creativity into our world, it doesn’t just find an outlet that society has specified as ‘artistic’; it pours out of your very being and shines out of your every action.
I suppose what I’m really saying is that, creativity isn’t something you ‘do’. Creativity is an expression of self that is intrinsically unlimited and which touches all parts of your life.
So, why is creativity so important in my life?
Because I wouldn’t be me without it. It is through my creativity that I get to share what is unique and special about me. Whether I’m writing a blog post or rearranging my workspace, making a collage or, indeed, cooking the dinner, my individuality, my own sense of self, is given free expression.
And, sure, sometimes I don’t always end up with the most successful results — the barley souffle a case in point! — but my world would be infinitely less sparkly, less bright, less tasty, without a generous dollop of creativity.
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Amy Palko is a writer, photographer, academic, teacher, spiritual seeker, home-educating mother of 3. She plays many roles in life, but the thread that runs through each is the sacred feminine. She is the creatrix behind Bloom by Moon and she tweets (prolifically) from @amypalko.