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When Are You Most Creative In The Kitchen?

I don't know about you, but sometimes I have to be hungry to get inspired to cook if I'm not expecting company. Seems like hunger gets my creative juices flowing, especially if I am making savory foods. Sometimes I will deliberately eat very light during the day if I want to cook something I don't prepare often.

Desserts are another question. I don't have to be hungry to be inspired to do desserts. Is anyone else like this?

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  1. I get most creative when I get a new gadget, e.g. cookware or appliance.

    I don't think I get creative when I'm hungry ... I get desperate. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Ha, ipsedixit, when I get desperate is precisely when I'm my most creative! Nothing like finding out I'm having an unexpected dinner guest and there's no time to run to the grocery store...

    2. When I see something at peak in the farmer's market, I start thinking....Ooooh, what wonderful thing could I make with that?! My mind starts whirling with possibilities!

      2 Replies
      1. re: maria lorraine


        for me the creativity starts at the market (super or otherwise).. I wait to see what inspires me and go from there.

        1. re: maria lorraine

          Either being at the market or reading a recipe - or sometimes when I have a craving for one particular item, like the sweet loveliness of a champagne mango, or craving a certain kind of spice mix (homemade or not) used on a pork tenderloin.

          Sometimes it's just look at the list of what's in the downstairs freezer, opening up the pantry, and seeing "what goes with" and having fun creating. (I'm only cooking for myself, so I have a LOT of leeway in what I choose to throw together). I also tend to be more creative on the weekend when I have more time to "play."

        2. When I'm cooking for myself and nobody else. I experiment plenty on the S.O., but even then I'm a little cautious of doing things just off the top of my head, and so I'll consult a recipe, if only to check a technique or ratio. With guests, I'm most comfortable doing dishes I know well. But when I'm alone, I come up with great stuff that I can try to replicate when others are around.

          1. When I am trying to save money. That inspires me to use what I have without an extra trip to the store and I don't like it to be obvious that I'm using up what's here. Makes me try harder than usual.

            Also, Fall. Fall really gets me going in the kitchen.

            If I am reading a really great cookbook I get very focused on the kitchen and try new things.

            2 Replies
            1. re: xena

              I was thinking the same thing, xena. I usually get inspired by the cooler weather in the fall. I start thinking of desserts made with apple, and squash dishes and hearty pork roasts and comfort foods. However this summer I've been quite inspired by farmer's markets and the beautiful produce I've been seeing lately. Also, reading this board is quite inspiring as you all have such amazing ideas.

              1. When I am looking at the random assortment of things in the fridge and pantry and wondering... hmmmm.... I wonder what this Muenster cheese would taste like stirred into a bowl of lentils?

                (but, when I am planning to have company over, I will spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to be as creative as possible in order to "top" my last dinner)

                2 Replies
                1. re: Tehama

                  Hmmmm...so how *did* that Muenster cheese taste like stirred into a bowl of lentils?

                  1. re: revsharkie

                    hahahaha.... actually, it wasn't too bad. sort of turned out like a creamy polenta-ey/ risotto-ey concoction.

                    Now, I do not recommend trying this out on your guests, though! ;-) It is just one of those raid-the-pantry-last-resort meals! :-)

                2. I am probably most creative in the last couple of days before I go grocery shopping. I don't like things to go to waste so I literally will not go grocery shopping until the cupboards are bare and all things from my previous shopping trip have been consumed. It is always with the last few scraps of produce and random others goods that the most creative and surprising meals happen at my home.

                  1. I'm most creative when there's not much food in the pantry and I don't feel like going shopping! Also when I've been given such serendipitous "gifts" as fresh duck breast from a neighbor who hunts. . .

                    1. I have to go into the hospital 3 or 4 times a year for about 3 weeks at a time. After the first few days I alway start day dreaming about menus and dishes and ingredients and thinking about things I haven't made before. I end up having time to run through many many iterations in my head over the next couple of weeks. After a couple of days back at home, once I've got my feet under me again and have caught up on laundry...I almost always have a few people over for dinner. Its now become a fairly well known thing amongst our closest friends that a good time to be at our place for dinner is the first one I cook after getting out of the hospital. It seems like being forced to think through the dishes and preparation techniques and the whole menu over and over before I get to cook really helps make them special.

                      1. Usually on a weekend, when I've got most of the day to think about cooking meals. Sometimes, the weeknights are so hectic, I just throw together the tried-and-trues. The weekend is when I really experiment.

                        1. This is an easy one....after watching someone I enjoy cooking on tv! I loathe most cooking done on television (see: Food Network), but there is some great Canadian tv shows that focus on healthy and organic foods. When I see someone in their garden, preparing fresh and sustainable meats/seafoods/produce, it makes me want to drop everything and go to the market!

                          Also...winter. I love the French classics, but I equally enjoy tweaking them. That really gets the creative juices flowing for me.

                          1. I'm a night owl so I'm the most creative really late at night or even early morning. I get a hankering for something (i.e. melted cheese) and then I figure out how I can satisfy the craving. I love to sit down with my dish and watch some strange foreign film or old movie. Sometimes even Top Chef, lol!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: nathanac

                              Padma whets my appetite as well. ;)

                            2. I want to say I am most creative at the market, but the truth is I am most creative when opening the fridge and seeing what needs to be used, and NOW. Those slightly wilting beet greens can be refreshed in ice water; the last 3 slices of bacon...well, we know how useful those are; and, as my daughter says, OMG! , we've got a heel of parm. We've had some of our most enjoyable meals just digging in the ol' refrigerator. Waste not, want not, I guess.

                              1. when i'm in the kitchen at 6am and i've 2 cups of coffee but no food.


                                1. I get creative when I have good ingredients around. Doesn't matter what they are (meat, produce, spices, whatever), as long as they're high quality and super fresh/ripe. Or like several others said, it often starts when I see the ingredients at the market.