My mother has this cookbook that she’s had almost as long as I have been alive. It’s covered in 1970’s floral wallpaper (pink and yellow I think), the pages are yellowed and speckled with years of work in the kitchen. To most it looks like an unhealthy mess of clippings and handwritten lists, but to her it is a treasure that reads like a journal. It is a journal of her years spent cooking for her family, and of her own adventures in the kitchen. It contains the recipes of some of our family’s most beloved recipes, handwritten in my mother’s distinct script. I decided about a week ago that it was time I started my own handwritten recipe book. It’s very domestic, but I’ve found so much joy in its creation so far. Any recipe that is deemed a success will make it into the book. I’ve added conversion tables, hints about spices and herbs, measurement guides for ingredients, and of course, recipes. Most of what is in there so far is my own creation or adaptations of family favourites. I am no genius in the kitchen (as evidenced by last nights abysmal failure of a famous turkish dish), more of an accidental cook, but everything I make is done so with passion and most especially with love. Some day I hope I can pass this book, this journal, on to my own child.
All the cooking I’ve been doing in the past few weeks has made me realise that creativity for me is not a straightforward or even a premeditated thing. My kind of creativity is unpredictable, whimsical even. I don’t control its origins, its direction or the form it will take. I am simply its instrument for delivery. Remembering this simple truth has made it easier just to roll with whatever manifests. This is why writing my novel has been so difficult. Novels require organisation and logic and my muse is chaos itself. Now that I know what I’m working with maybe I can devise a way to channel it into the appropriate medium?