This morning, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I stepped into the kitchen, opened the fridge, and asked Francisco, “What do you feel like eating?”
“Anything you make,” he said, surprised that I’d taken the lead in preparing a meal. The kitchen is typically his domain.
I assessed the fridge’s innards– two eggs, bacon, potatoes, an assortment of peppers, onions, and mushrooms–predictable ingredients that could lead to a predictable breakfast.
I wanted to shake things up a bit.
Though I wish I could say otherwise, it wasn’t just Father’s Day that prompted me to put on an apron and make breakfast. For weeks now (months, maybe), I’ve been needing the kitchen and the creative outlet it provides. I’d read recipes, bookmarked our cookbooks, and made shopping lists. I updated my Facebook status to say I was making a cake. But I kept putting off actually getting in the kitchen because “real work” kept calling my attention.
I sliced the potatoes into rounds and put them in the steamer. I threw three slices of bacon on a cast iron skillet and let them crisp while I chopped peppers and onions and garlic and mushrooms. I crushed the bacon into bits while I cooked the vegetables in the bacon’s grease, and I dropped three tablespoons of parmesan onto parchment paper to make crisps.
In my mind, I envisioned exactly what I wanted to make: neatly stacked towers of potatoes, layered with scrambled eggs and topped with bacon bits. The parmesan crisps would sit between them and the whole presentation would be sculptural and dramatic and somehow that would make breakfast taste better.
I plated the towers, amazed that there was no gap between my idea and its execution. I put the plate down in front of Francisco, who was visibly surprised. “You’ve always been the better cook,” he said graciously as he deconstructed a tower of potato slices and eggs.
For months I have resisted the idea, but I am beginning to think the Internet has stifled my creativity. Specifically, I am beginning to think that a regular regimen of writing blogs and prioritizing page views has had an atrophic effect on my expressive capacities. Churning out “content” and repackaging other people’s ideas or retransmitting news about a place far from where I live and about which, really, I know nothing, has taken a toll, and I am struggling to find ways to reconnect with my own ideas.
I guess doing that starts with breakfast.