What inspires you to make something new?
What inspires me is:
--Healthier and/or tastier version of a dish I love. I know what’s in it & can control amt of salt, sugar, fat & add extra flavor
--Something I use a lot of that would be better & cheaper to make myself—i.e. vanilla, spice mixes
--Can’t help it! Even when I say I’m gonna chill out I find myself thinking about my next experiment
Usually either "I should be able to make that at home", or "I should be able to make that much cheaper at home". Next thing on my list is Caveman Pops (turkey legs).
It was an abundance of end of summer tomatoes. I was looking for a recipe to use them all. I was watching Cooking Channel On Demand and the host made an Indian recipe for a lamb and tomato curry. I looked up the recipe online and set to getting all the ingredients. For some reason, grocery stores don't carry lamb shoulder anymore. (I should have gone to a dedicated butcher) So I had to substitute pork. And I got the spices at the local spice shop in town. It was good. I'd make it again.
Half the time, it is based on a new ingredient, and then a search for a recipe. And half the time, there is a recipe unlike anything in the current repertoire. And of course there is always the empty pantry just when folks drop-in who are famished to bring, a degree of desperation and hopefully inspiration..
A new and/or rare ingredient I read about in culinary books - especially books of ancient food culture and ethnicity. Then I go on a hunt until I find the ingredient. Learning about different food cultures is fascinating.
Something I have eaten in restaurants that I can make at home just as well.
Spotting intriguing skills or techniques while on travels to foreign countries.
I take pride in making almost everything from scratch and grow my own herbs and vegetables. I and am constantly looking for different ways to create.
Difficult or challenging recipes grab my attention immediately.
Having celiac disease forces me to utilize interesting flours I had not before such as chestnut, coconut, almond, sorghum, amaranth, teff, millet, chickpea, garfava and so on. It has been enjoyable learning about properties and characteristics of each.
For me it is a recipe or a meal I think I can do without too much effort. I recall years ago eating at a Wolfgang Puck Cafe and having a pasta dish that I thought was great. I looked into the recipe and figured I could duplicate it at home, so I tried and made a yummy dish that was not too complicated and a fair bit more sophisticated than just pasta and jarred sauce.
More recently, I wanted to make some side dishes and waded through Ad Hoc at Home for something I could make. I ended up modifying it a little bit to create a squash and sweet potato dish that I have made several times.
!. I have all the ingredients on hand
2. It has agreat story behind it, like a favourite for 3 generations or begged from a favourite restaurant.
3. It seems easy yet delicious.
i"m inspired to try new things (other than my fav few recipes in my head)
1. when i go to a new store - usually ethnic specialty - and learn more about the cuisine of the land
2. when trying to replicate a dish from another region (like i tried to make tortillas after our mexico trip - a simple eg)
3. when something local is in season
4. when someone on chowhound suggests - like a poster did about my question about paska
5. when i know i'll have people over - that's treading on thin ice - no new dishes for company!
6. most importantly, when i learn from other people - usually friend/relative - something traditional to their ethnic origin / background.
books and magazines are not usually my inspiration - i don't usually buy mags any more