Inspiration. What is it? Where does it come from? Does everyone have it? Can everyone access it? I think one of the things I love when looking more into what is it was the phrase: being mentally stimulated to feel something. I think most people would assume inspiration is only for the creative. Heck, even in the definition it ends with “especially to do something creative”. This bothers me a little. Inspiration hits us all. It hits us to the core of who we are. I don’t think it’s about that you have to take action on you inspirations but it’s the deep feeling that resinates with you to your core.
Some people can feel this about something as non creative as politics. They are inspired to get involved. In our history we have had candidates and presidents that have inspired us to participate. So people can be inspired to protest.
Some people can feel inspiration teaching others. The get inspiration in how to pass their knowledge and understanding to those who don’t have it. Really inspired teachers foster inspiration about what they are teaching because the students can connect with it and feel something specific about it.
Some people are also the creative types that draw on inspirations to create. I could go on a whole post about what it means to be creative and that his is not an exclusive thing that only some people have but this post is about inspiration. For someone creative inspiration can hit in a lot of places. For someone who loves food, cooking, and creating a meal or dish a great place to go for inspiration is Fine Cooking Magazine. This publication, maybe more than any other has inspired me time and time again.
Sure the magazine has a wide range of fantastic recipes but recipes alone aren’t all that creative. They are more just a list of instructions and you simply need to follow them. Where they excel in inspiring me is in their articles like “The Reading List”. This is where I have found a lot of cookbooks I love. Then those cookbooks lead me to another and so on. Articles like “Great Finds” show me new products that are hitting the market, leading me to discover better ways to do, store, and make things. Other articles like “What we’re cooking now” show what’s in season and highlights ways to use them.
One of my favorites is “Cooking without recipes”! This breaks down classic dishes into their fundamentals and helps you to see what you can change and where to change it. It covers everything form Cheesecake to Thai Curry. For example with the cheesecake: it shows me I need to make a crust and 4 options of things I could use. Then it shows me the filling and breaks it down into add-ins, flavorings, and spices. It teaches me how much to use but then lets me pick what I want to combine. Then on to toppings and garnishes and finally it shows me simple out of the assortment they provided 18 different cheesecakes with those basic steps. It then leaves it up to me to do what I want.
I found “cooking without recipes” really helpful when learning how to make a good Thai curry. The first time I made it the dish came out OK but wasn’t anything exciting. Following their guide I know can go into the Asian market and picket all sorts of things to make a truly delicious curry.
I think I would equate inspiration to passion. Whatever you might be passionate about I am sure there is inspiration all around you to ignite that passion, and if you’re like me and are passionate about food and ingredients I can tell you first hand the sources of inspiration are endless and that Fine Cooking Magazine is a great place to start.