Friday, April 17, 2015

Think outside the box?

      Look around you. Most likely you are sitting in a room that resembles some type of square or rectangle. A box. My first time in an airplane, I could not get over the fact that almost everything that I saw sliding by beneath me was all in perfect little grids. Roads, buildings, fields, barns, everything man-made was in squares and little boxes. Our lives are sectioned out and organized all around us. So, a shape and concept that surrounds us SO frequently becomes the way we think. In boxes and controlled environments. 

      When your brain is told to: "Think OUTSIDE the box," what is your reaction? Yikes! Something UNFAMILIAR (scary I know!). We have to abandon what we are used to and think beyond things we can see and touch in front of us. God has given our brain an amazing memory and creative capabilities. 

       If I ask you, "what is your favorite thing to do when it is raining?" Your mind probably goes a million different places, thinking of memories and ideas that we associate with rain. For me, when it's raining, I enjoy going out and standing in the rain. It is relaxing and very peaceful (as long as there is no lighting)! My point being, our minds are amazing and they frequently have to retrieve information to live life. What if we have a task before us like cooking, that has a creative side to it? Our brains get to come up with new, innovative, previously unknown ideas! Fun right? Hopefully it is to you. 

I like to distinguish cooking into two different areas: Logical and Creative. 

url.jpgThere is the logical side of things which require measuring, weighing, portioning, technique and precise control. I think bakers are often more logically minded. Very Mathematical. 

      Then there is the creative side of things. Color, contrasting flavor, experimenting with the unknown, improvising, creating. 

      Both are needed and used in cooking. Most people tend to be either a "logical cook" or "creative cook." Have you been called "a dumper" before? Then you just might be the creative type. The person that follows the recipe as law would be the logical cook

Join the fun. Share your creation @HannahsFood  #creativecook or #logicalcook ? 

I am a #creativecook at heart 
      Before I went to culinary school, I was a "dumper." What I cooked was either great, or a flop. Learning proper cooking techniques and teaching myself to follow very specific recipes helped me become a more accomplished creative cook by leaps and bounds. Why? Because you have to strengthen your weak areas so that you can have a more balanced approach. 


      I am now studying food science and every little nitty gritty baking concept because now I love the "why" behind baking soda vs. baking powder. That's another topic for another time though.  

A well balanced chef is both creative and logical, trying brand new things meshed with proper technique.

      Don't be scared when you are encouraged to "think outside the box." Like any skill, it takes practice. Think fresh, without limits. Let your brain take time to imagine and think OUTside the box without defined boarders. Write your ideas in your flavor journal and try them out.  

Creativity + logic = ?

      Cooking is not the only area in life where the logic and creative approach comes together. Being a musician, I am often boxed into measures, phrases and rhythm. However, within the constraints, it is up to me to bring an experience to the listener by interpreting all the dots on the page in a meaningful way. 

Let's try it! Practice makes perfect...
      If you had blueberries, eggs, avocado and vinegar what dish would you make highlighting each of those ingredients? Here is what I came up with: 
Dessert Crepe filled with Aged Blueberry Balsamic Compote and Avocado Mousse on the side. 

Join the fun. Share your creation @HannahsFood  #creativecook or #logicalcook ? 

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