Creative Restraint

Chefs consider themselves artists and even for everyday cooks the ‘Potluck Pressure’ can bring out the elaborate in us.

Perfection is achieved when nothing else can be taken away. We strive to impress and delight people with feeding them. We do this in more and more wondrous ways constantly trying to one up ourselves and elicit an overly complimentary proclamation from those we treat.

Myself and the people around me are constantly trying to become something unique where often we throw many an idea at the wall to see what sticks. This isn’t a bad idea per se, but we must learn when to remove even the finest thought when it appears frivolous and unnecessary (or even just downright awkward like my writing style today).

Ideas are something that we birth and become horribly proud of far too swiftly. Letting go can be very difficult. We are hoarders, no different to our overflowing cupboards we pack full, struggling to downsize, the risk of losing something we found comfortable that once brought us such joy.

The base need is something simpler though. A ‘chicken soup for the soul’ if you enjoy the cliche. The perfect example of less is more. Nothing can be as nourishing when weak and wheezy as a hot soup brought to you by a loved one. No dressing it up, no pretentiousness, just a gesture. This feeling is what we should all strive for when feeding our friends and immunocompromised loved ones. After a multitude of grain salads and clever textures I am still reminiscing over recent pigs in a blanket and a herbaceous stuffing (minus the dried fruit please).

I once worked in a bookstore where a hipster douche quipped the (not doubt plagiarised) phrase; ‘every time a new book comes out I buy an old one instead’. Words can be wise if you dress the part and do not wear plaid and oversized jeans.

Bread and butter.
Wine and cheese.
Chips and dips.

Many a different skill level or price range but the rule should still apply. Working in an industry trying to constantly reinvent the wheel it is easy to forget that we all love simple comforts and simple food. Get excited by new things of course, but please look to what makes us happiest.

January 1, 2020
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Josh White