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Looking for spark [moved from General Topics board]

I, like many of you is the kind of person who lives to eat. My vacations are planned around food. Everything I read pertains to food; cookbooks, food writings, chef's bios, etc. I don't remember the last time I bought an article of clothing but somehow I always find money to try a new restaurant or increase my cookbook collection. But lately I've been in a dry spell. I recently became a mother and have moved back to my hometown, with my husband, which basically contains no food scene.
I am a pastry chef. I have my own business catering the dessert needs of all who desire. But I need something to spark my interest, to remind me of why I love what I do. I want to remember what it was like when I experienced my first taste of a white truffle. I want to experience that joy I felt when I bit into the most decadent chocolate dessert which was then washed down with a splash of port.
Anyone else feel the same? Any ideas?

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  1. I go thru those times. Here is what I do to combat the dry spells:

    I get out a map of my area...throw a penny into the air and wherever it lands is the area I will drive to. I go alone. I listen to my favorite music in the car and decide that I will stop at the first interesting looking place that I see. I might have appetizers at one, an entree at another, and then dessert at another. If I only find one place...I do it all!

    It inspires me, one way or another.

    1. Can you start a cooking or eating group in your home town? Having people around who love food is the best way to energize your creative spark again. Boards like this help too, but someone who will plan and cook a fabulous meal with you always works for me.

      4 Replies
      1. re: cheryl_h

        This is a great idea. I wish I knew more people who liked cooking and eating as much as I do. Most of my friends are people who eat to live, not live to eat and see cooking as a chore. I would love to find people in my area who I could share good, homecooked food with.

        1. re: SarahEats

          Is there a small grocery store, specialty food shop, kitchenware shop or something along those lines close to you? You could post a note asking like-minded foodies if they're interesting in getting something started. I don't know what's available in your area, but you could start a dining-out group, eating at different local places. Or a cooking group, meeting in someone's home. Or different members take turns to host a meal.

          I know many craft groups that start this way. It's slow to get going but who knows how many closet chowhounders are out there?

          1. re: cheryl_h

            Thanks for the tips! I'll have to scout around and see what I can find. Living in the 'burbs makes this a bit harder, but I'm sure not impossible.

            1. re: cheryl_h

              My very diverse dinner group, of which I've been a member for 3yrs., has been in existence for 10, getting together about once a month. We not only try out new restaurants, but also attend food shows, benefits, "Taste of (supply town), etc. I have helped organize catered events at jewelers, crystal shops, artists' studios, etc. I love field trips to local purveyors, farms, bakeries, cheese shops, salumeria, gardens. Have also done ethnic meals, e.g pick a country or cuisine & have everyone contribute a dish, run a tapas party or ask your guests to each bring an starter from their own ethnic background.

        2. Here's an idea: Start a garden. Choose unusual varieties of vegetables that intrigue you. Vow to find recipes that bring out the best of their flavor, and appreciate each one individually.

          Here's another one: give up for a while and focus on something else. Read non-food related fiction. Watch classic movies. Teach the baby sign language. Take pictures. Whatever.
          It will all come creeping back eventually.
          After I got divorced, I completely lost my appetite for quite a while. I lost 17 pounds, stopped eating desserts, and subsisted on yogurt, bananas and cocktails. The more settled in my new life I became, the more I got interested in eating again. I took a food writing class, which involved trying a lot of new things, and ended up starting a food blog. Unfortunately all 17 pounds came back too!

          1. Thanks for all the help. I already made a call to a good friend who feels the same way I do about food (she also is in a dry spell) and we are talking about getting a group together. We thought it would be fun to have theme nights (kind of juvenille but fun) Say for example "Thai Night" and everyone would have to bring a home prepared authentic thai dish. It would force us to do the research and then try something new.
            Unfortunately trying new restaurants every time is not an option in my town seeing as how every time I go out it is so depressing because the quality of the food is so bad and people pay ridiculous prices for it. And we are surrounded by gorgeous farm lands with farmers who grow beautiful produce and so many of the restaurants continue to buy frozen produce from parts of the world I haven't even heard about. Frustrating.
            Thanks again the help. I'm excited to see what comes of this.

            1. Are you ready to start your restaurant? You could use all of that fresh produce and call it Sweet's Laundry.

              If not, what about offering a series of pastry classes at a local kitchenware shop or community college.

              What's the point of getting a group together if they don't know. Sorry.