Where do you find inspiration?

Source of inspiration

Source of inspiration

What feeds your cooking mojo?

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”  Laurie Colwin

I was going through my binder of recipes last night (and let’s pass on the Mitt Romney jokes…) as I try to cull and add every few months to keep it from being too overwhelming.  This is where I store all those recipes I pull out of magazines, newspapers, download off websites (including some of your blogs).  Some I try immediately and mark up with notes, others are just reminders of what I might like to try them in the future.

I also have this weird little pink plastic index card holder box that lives above the fridge…this is where all my family & childhood recipes reside…from the days that we would write out and share recipes on index cards.  I have recipes from my aunts, my mother, my grandmother, and ones that I took the time to transcribe when I was starting out cooking 40 years ago.  When I want to make ginger snaps, bone dust rub or Nancy Drew’s cheese muffins, this is where I head.

And then there are my go-to cook books…those without which I am lost: Nigel Slater, Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver, Mark Bittman, MFK Fisher, and the list goes on.  No matter what, when I stumped for ideas or am inspired by an ingredient but have no idea how to prepare it (sunchokes anyone?), my library will usually toss up an answer.  Although I did realize last night that I have no idea where my “Joy of Cooking” has gone.  This worries me – not that I use it often but it is one of those stalwarts when I can’t find an answer anywhere else.  Just hoping it is residing at the SO’s…

I am old school – as you can tell – I like to cook off printed recipes.  But I do rely on Epicurious when I’m in a store, see an intriguing new ingredient (like raw olives) and wonder what I can do with it.  And of course, all my fellow food bloggers are such an overwhelming source of ongoing inspiration.

So…where do you find your inspiration?





About kate magee

I am a lifelong foodie who lives in Toronto and spends much too much of my time thinking, preparing, eating and writing about food...
This entry was posted in Cooking, Memories, Random musings and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Where do you find inspiration?

  1. fransiweinstein says:

    Interesting, I find it in pretty much the same sorts of places you do. But lately, i am also often inspired at the Market. I’ll see some exotic sauces or spices in that spice shop in the basement and all of a sudden I’m concocting recipes — which is great because I can just go upstairs and buy everything else I need. Same at the rice lady’s shop. Or I’ll see some fish or seafood or meat or even produce that inspires me. I love when that happens, actually. It keeps food boredom away.

    • kate magee says:

      Totally agree with you about markets – my favourite places – so I am so glad you brought this up! It is a bit of a chicken & egg kind of thing, hmmm? Sometimes the inspiration comes from something you see in the market, and sometimes from a random idea that you need to search out & then hunt for ingredients (as I have done recently with black sesame seeds and star anise…)

      • fransiweinstein says:

        Mmm, interesting. What were you cooking?

      • kate magee says:

        Made a recipe from a fellow blogger on the weekend for green beans go mae (sp?) – amazing! My mother is obsessed with spinach go mae so I’m waiting to do a post on it until her birthday in two weeks but I’ve probably now given it away 🙂

      • fransiweinstein says:

        I look forward to the recipe 🙂

  2. Jeremy says:

    Inspiration for cooking as well as anything else for me often comes from occasion, and the desire to see where this or that side road goes to. I usually need to start with a printed recipe, but from there, I may go down a few side roads and see what’s there. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don’t, but you never know until you try.

    • kate magee says:

      HI Jeremy – so great to connect with you on WP & thank for following. So interesting how our paths evolve & converge after many years, hmmmm? Totally agree with with about taking off and ‘riffing’ on a recipe – depending on inspiration. That’s why I try to take notes (although not great at it) as I go along – to remind me of the tweaks I’ve made along the way. Looking forward to seeing more of your posts….

  3. Hilda says:

    My inspiration usually comes from experience in restaurants or other places where I eat unusual things – sometimes hard to figure out the ingredients. Having lived in several countries I now try to recreate dishes that hold a little nostalgia for me. It can be challenging, but fun.

    • kate magee says:

      I agree with you about finding inspiration from restaurants or other countries. A friend in NYC just posted a photo of padron peppers which totally took me back to tapas bars in Barcelona – just now need to try to source those peppers in Toronto 🙂

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