Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Inspiration is...

...basically just old-fashioned thievery in a nicer looking package.

It's hard for me to just go and quietly eat my food at a restaurant anymore without, in some way, analyzing, critiquing or just plain wondering about what's on the tip of my fork. By no means am I one of those self-proclaimed, self-righteous "foodies" that feels the need to inform the whole table of the dish's ingredients and put in my two cents as to how I would have made it better. If ever asked my opinion on a dish, a meal or some overall experience, I try to offer as educated an opinion as possible, while keeping any personal distaste or bookish criticism to a minimum. After all, I don't go out to eat hoping to be disappointed--that would be a gross waste of time and money, neither of which do I currently possess in abundance. No, I go out to dinner, to lunch, for a drunken snack looking for satisfaction in the form of sustenance, be it to my local Mexican spot or a five-star establishment in New York, hoping to be surprised, to discover something I hadn't tried or tasted before, or to simply be inspired.

Like I said in my last post food, much like an empty canvas or a blank piece of paper, possesses raw potential, no pun intended. Oranges are made of peel, rind, meat, juice, seeds and so on, all of which can be used in some manner to make something tasty. If I'm not aware of every possible use of an orange, though, then how should I go about my research and discovery? Dining out. It's like going to a museum or reading your favorite author's novel (if you are a painter or a writer yourself)--there's always more to be learned than what you know yourself.

So I go out to eat. I go order things that sound good, sometimes things that sound too bad to be good. I try things I've never heard of eat with an open mind. I look for things that I can use on my own menus, for my lunch specials, for my personal use. Then I write it down and commit it to memory. I discuss with my coworkers and continue developing ideas. I politely take what I've seen and, in some way, make it my own. And so food moves forward, bouncing from one cook to another, changing its form, elaborating upon its own uses, evolving.

So, what's for dinner?