The Ubiquitous Need for Creative Productivity the Quest for the Perfect a Leg of Lamb

It is hard to be creative when you sleep less than three hours a night and the rest of the time you’re burning all of your creative energy trying to figure out how you can get more sleep during the day.  It’s exhausting, in more ways that one.  But, believe it or not, it’s not as exhausting physically as it is creatively speaking.

I would classify myself as a creative sort.  I need to be making/creating/inventing something all the time is order to feel, well, normal.  This is not easy to do with the sleepless wonder over here.  It’s nearly impossible to work on a manuscript with a toddler smearing peanut butter all over your keyboard.  You can’t write a song in under an hour during nap time.  Well, I can’t. I’m sure some people more talented and better rested than I probably could.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for me to express myself creatively.  Which means, I end up feeling a lot less like myself and a lot more like Suzey Housewife “who doesn’t do a very good job of caring whether or not the grout in my bathroom is clean”.

The main problem is, as much as I wish otherwise, I’m not crafty.  I don’t sew.  Paint.  Crochet.  Embroider.  I just don’t.  In fact, I hate doing those things. I’m not a visual arts kinda person.  Not in that way, anyway.  So, the one thing I’ve found I can do that fills the need in a reasonable amount of time, is to cook.

I’m not talking about throwing a blue box of macaroni on the stove and telling Rich to pick up something to throw on the grill.  I mean, I research complicated recipes that I’ve always wanted to try, and I tackle them.  Once a week.

Cooking fulfills the need to be creative, in a rational and timely manner.  We need to eat, right? I have free reign in the kitchen.  I get to decide whether or not to use coriander or to make my own garam masala.  I pour over cookbooks like some women do their 50 Shades.   It’s scandalous how I felt when I purchased my first leg of lamb this week.  When I made my own Thai chili paste, I called everyone in my family to celebrate with me.   I’ve slaved over piorgis from scratch, bubbled sauce from fresh tomatoes from my garden and painstakingly rolled out my own sweet dough for french raspberry tarts.  It’s something I can accomplish in a few hours- rather than the days and weeks required to finish writing a story, or a song.  And I do, feel accomplished.

Someday, my other creative outlets will return to me when I have more time to spend on them.  But for now, I’m so grateful for what cooking has provided for me- the ability to use my creativity to feed my family, satisfy my deep, dry well of creative juices and, my husband sure loves it.

This was the big meal for the week:

http://www.keyingredient.com/recipes/2013110/ina-gartens-braised-4-hour-lamb-provencal-french-beans/

If you choose to tackle this as well, just a few pointers:

I didn’t have a dutch oven large enough, so my roasting pan worked just fine covered VERY TIGHTLY with foil.  Don’t open it for even a second or all of that lovely steam will come pouring out.

Please don’t use canned beans for this.  Please.  They’ll tastes like mushy farts.  Promise. If you forgot to soak them overnight, never fear! I quick-soaked mine in boiling water for a few hours, and then set them to simmer while the lamb was cooking.  They came out beautifully- and at the same time.

I would have used two onions in the broth instead of one, and would have added a 1/4 of a cup of white wine to the beans as well.  And lots of peppercorns.

It came out all melty and saucy and it made our house smell like a little cottage in Nice.  Serve with a crusty loaf of french bread and butter, and it’s a beautifully comforting supper.

Next week? Duck Ragu……I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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