If creativity is the fire, inspiration is the kindling. The fire is fueled through input, giving a constant and abundant flow of information. Going to a farmers market, walking through a field of produce, or tending to a garden are some of the most important inspirations. Traveling and experiencing firsthand the cuisine and culture of another land also provides inspiration. Great cooks find new ideas from many sources including mentors, other cooks, books and magazines, as well as connecting with the raw ingredients in gardens, markets and fields.
Another user-friendly way to learn about food is through the art of storytelling. Every dish has a tale to tell, from the source, about its origin, its home, its land, its cultivation and its preparation. Anecdotes and quaint revelations fill this journey with color and interest. Discovering this in each step of this book will facilitate this process while learning the language of food.
Storytelling through food adds excitement, perspective and the entertainment of theater. A stimulated mind can be a magical place. Creating dishes that work with the fantasies of great taste and beauty allow people to eat food in Michigan while emotionally residing in Italy. When serving a meal, giving a story about the provenance of ingredients or the origin of a recipe creates a bigger picture, showing us not as the masters of our domain, but as caretakers of tradition and of our planet. Billions of dollars are spent every year to produce multimedia extravaganzas for the senses. A wonderfully prepared meal can have the same effect, and an even greater level of satiation, giving both the cook and recipient satisfaction in the process.
Eclipsing all the rest is the challenge of cooking for a loved one, one who loves food, or an honored guest. Very few things in life are more intimate than the loving exchange of food. It inspires from within, coaxing every sense and thought. Sharing from a molecular level all the way up, it defines the greatness in food for most of us.