As a cook, I go through food ruts. Those times when not even Emeril can convince me that a generous sprinkling of "BAM!" will resuscitate my flat-lining passion for chicken. I simply can't kick it up any more notches, Mr. Lagasse.
The remedy? Heading to the market.
I could get lost in a grocery store. And not just because the end caps on the aisles look strangely similar. Wasn't that tortilla chip display in the produce section just a moment ago? No, I get lost in that, "This place is like Candy Land for adults," sort of way. Eagerly spying sales and rainbow-hued fare in the same way I did at age seven, scouring the Gumdrop Mountain for Queen Frostine.
Just browsing the bins of zucchini, avocado, heirloom tomato, and squash is enough to revamp my dinner repertoire. So much promise in the produce. Whole Foods becomes an activity; farmers markets a day trip. It's the color scheme, the freshness, and the palatable possibility that excite me.
I'm reminded to eat seasonally. I feel less overwhelmed when I don't try to plan meals based upon options listed in the twenty-page index of "Joy of Cooking," but instead focus on what's fresh now. And those items? The ones that are so fresh that they smell as divine as they look and taste? They're worth any cost. Auctioning a kidney or two. Whatever you can spare.
Yesterday, in a few hours of sunshine shopping, I picked up a week's worth of groceries. And by week's worth I mean a year supply. A mix of staples, old stand-by's, and stuff I'd never heard of. I've now got a fridge filled with ingredients for suppers that celebrate summertime, Seattle, and by the looks of it, squash.
What about you? Where do you find your cooking inspiration?
-Andrea Mitchell, Foodista staff and blogger at CanYouStayForDinner.com