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Effects of churn

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.

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5 responses »

  1. In my household, I am the cook, or at least the main cook, or at least the person who knows how to do what needs to be done. BF is the sous chef. He does the prep I ask him to do. If I don’t ask, it isn’t done. I’ve always been in charge and always will be- cooking really ain’t his thing. I like cooking. Sometimes I feel exhausted by this seemingly permanent job assignment and resent the fact that it is something that I’m good at and enjoy. It becomes a task more than a joy. Especially after a long day/week/month of teaching at work, I grow frustrated with having to assign cooking tasks at home. My joy of cooking has become a job.

    But you know what? Last month we were given a 2nd hand oven and oh, the baking! I love baking! He doesn’t even like baked goods (a savoury man) so this is all mine, my creativity, my exploration.

    Reply
  2. Loved this post and I can definitely picture that breakfast tower.

    There’s so much flow of information that finding something truly original or even birthing something original can be a challenge. For me, it’s always about constantly trying to find that balance between online and offline to keep creativity going somehow.

    This morning, I was doing a little bit of back stretches (sitting too much) and Urb said to me. “You know, I think this is the first morning you haven’t turned on the laptop first thing.”

    Apparently, I was finally listening to my body first.

    Reply
  3. Definitely feeling this. For me lately, it’s been working in the garden. Something recharging about being outside…even when it’s 105, as it has been for days and days now. 🙂

    Can I place a breakfast tower order?

    Reply
  4. Thanks for this, Julie. It’s exactly what I needed to read today. Lately I’ve been feeling more and more mentally exhausted from hustling together bits of writing that often hardly reflect my real interests, in order to make just enough money to get by. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Internet and the way it shapes models of writing. I’m not sure that I have come to any real conclusions or a personal solution, but I have definitely realized–like you–that I need to find other outlets for my creativity, in addition to refocusing my writing and seeking opportunities more in line with my original goals. Thanks for giving me lots to think about. I have a strange urge to hit the kitchen 😉

    Reply
  5. Oh lord yes. I feel the same way. I love cooking and do it frequently, but as much as I love writing lately I’ve felt kind of sapped, whether it’s “churning out content” or writing something I’d normally enjoy. Too much of a good thing?

    Also, your breakfast sounds delicious!

    Reply

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