Is Cooking Creative Expression?

Everything Michigan

Is Cooking Creative Expression?

August 4, 2022 Life Michigan 0

Why yes, of course, it is! Ask any culinary professional, Chef, or parent charged with satisfying many people with various tastes. They would say it certainly takes creativity. Even the home cook, working with what is on hand to create a pleasing meal for family or friends also takes some imagination. Yet, the results of these labors can be both delicious, bountiful, and beautiful.

I’ve been there. Time is closing in at 4 o’clock, kids are coming home hungry, been working all day at the desk, and I forgot to pull something out for dinner. This is where growing up with my mom comes in handy. We were poor, but there was never a poor meal to be had with my mama. She had that gift.

One does not have to be trained in a renowned culinary program or grow up with my mom to be creative in the kitchen. Some people are just naturally gifted with the ability to “wing it”  and come up with tasty results. Creativity is like that in any form, really.

I also have a best friend who is a chef. Whenever I am looking for inspiration, I call her, and she too has the gift of culinary creativity. She says things to me like, “Oh, it’s easy,” or “you know how to do this.” Even though I had my mom and have her, it is not that “easy” for me. So, for the rest of us, there are cookbooks, cooking classes, and food blogs galore to give us ideas and help hone our skills. With a little practice, creativity can be formed in the kitchen.

Then there are the guys I work with that style food for commercial photography shoots. Now that’s insane creativity with food (and exhausting to watch as it is so detailed and precise for advertising purposes). But that’s a whole different article! On to cooking ~

How do you become creative in cooking?

If creativity does not come naturally to you or you have difficulty finding the time to be expressive, here are some tips to get you started:

  • Start with a base recipe and then change it up. Maybe use different herbs or spices, swap ingredients, or change the cooking method.
  • Keep a stash of easy recipes you can turn to when you need to make a meal but don’t have much time
  • Play off the practical
  • Break the rules
  • Celebrate what you have
  • Always be willing to try something new

Despite your level of creativity, there is always room for improvement. Creativity is only limited by a lack of willingness to be imaginative. Being open to new ideas and experiments, specifically in the kitchen, is what will help you become more creative. If you are unwilling to try new things, your creativity will remain at a standstill. That’s life. Be open to it and let the creativity flow.

Yes, cooking is a creative expression. It is an art form everyone can enjoy, regardless of skill level. So get in the kitchen and express yourself.

Cooking is a creative form as it allows you to be expressive with your food. And I don’t mean playing with it, kids! We can use different ingredients or different methods of cooking. You can even use different utensils. All these things allow you to express your creative side.

Some people may not think that cooking is a creative expression, but I challenge them to think again! Cooking is an art form; like all art forms, it requires creativity. If you are not creative, then you will not be able to cook well. It is as simple as that.

If you want to be a good cook, then you need to be creative. You need to be able to come up with new ideas, and you need to be able to experiment with different ingredients.

Also, be willing to fail and not beat yourself up over it, when, not if, when it happens. That only creates an attitude of defeat. Failing is part of the creative process. It is how we learn and grow as human beings in all aspects.

If you seek a fulfilling (no pun intended!) creative outlet, then cooking is a good fit. It allows you to be expressive, and it gives you the opportunity to experiment and eat.

Speaking of eating…

Healthy food and creativity

We’re all very much aware that eating fruits and vegetables benefits our health, so a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is naturally correlated with higher levels of well-being. Also demonstrated by increased curiosity and creativity, which are directly related to greater happiness and life satisfaction.

While it’s essential to eat a variety of foods from all the food groups, research has shown that some specific nutrients are associated with increased levels of creativity.

These include:

  1. omega-3 fatty acids
  2. iron
  3. magnesium
  4. zinc

What foods increase creativity?

Unprocessed, complex carbohydrate grains like quinoa, millets, and oats deliver B-vitamins, magnesium, protein, fiber, iron, phosphorous, and more. These nutrients increase energy levels of mental alertness, improve brain power, and thus ultimately boost creativity.

Fruits and vegetables like avocado, dark leafy greens, broccoli, oranges, berries, etc. are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that help improve blood circulation and mental clarity, as well as boost mood and energy levels – all of which are necessary for increased creativity.

Personally, I love avocado and berries, especially blueberries. These are healthy, easy-to-grab and-go foods in their natural state. Maybe the avocado takes a little prep, but c’mon, it’s easy, right?

Thankfully I am a Michigander (that means I’m from Michigan, you know the “mitten” surrounded by The Great Lakes?). Blueberries are bountiful in our great State. When my boys were little, while we were camping, we would take walks in the woods to pick wild blueberries. They were wonderful teachable and memorable moments that showed love and healthy eating habits.

They say to make sure to also include plenty of omega-3-rich foods in your diet, such as salmon, nuts, and seeds. Iron-rich foods, such as  (more) leafy green vegetables, red meat, and poultry, are also important. And don’t forget to include foods high in magnesium and zinc, such as whole grains, dark chocolate, and legumes (aka peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans). You know what they say about beans and your heart, don’t you? If you don’t, ask an elementary school kid.

Although my diet health requires no nuts, seeds, or granola, I can enjoy whole grains, dark chocolate, beans, and chickpeas, which in their highest form equates to…hummus, yum!).

Is cooking creative expression?

In conclusion, cooking most certainly expresses creativity, passion, and even a bit of science. It is an opportunity to be curious, innovative, and expressive. But, as they say, the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach! So, what are you waiting for? Get cooking and manga bambino!

So, is cooking creative expression? To sum it up in two words – hell yeah!