A few weeks ago while on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard I woke to a blaring TV at around 5am and switched the channel to CNN to escape the morning infomercials. Soledad O’Brien’s guest was Pastor Joel Osteen whose new book provides readers with a month of declarations to read every morning in order to affirm self power and use that positive energy to achieve their goals. While the host was skeptical that readers could bring success into their lives by simply speaking it so, panelist Deepak Chopra noted how his own practice of meditation has helped him to keep his life centered and on course.
I decided to give it a try. Translating that daily reading into daily writing, I now have a diary of my mind in the morning as I commute to work. Over the past two weeks I have jotted down goals, menus, dishes, books and curiosities about the world. So far, the passages have allowed me to intellectualize my world in ways that recent conversations with others have failed. I’ve also been able to link together many of the little ideas that float as I take in new experiences, flipping the pages to revisit those ideas and build upon them.
My sketchbook has also given me a space to turn a critical eye upon dishes I cook. Last Tuesday morning I recorded notes from the previous night’s dinner of Seared Scallops with Bacon; Sauteed Spinach with Poblano Pepper, Tomato, and Onion; and my first try at making Risotto. A meal I planned while walking through the grocery store that evening, it was a delicious and over-the-top meal for a work night.
Here is exactly what I wrote:
- The pan has to be hot enough before adding the scallops, otherwise the scallops start to steam rather than sear. Restaurant Impossible.
- The bacon was too thick and too fatty, it wouldn’t get crispy…move to pancetta next time or serve the bacon as a garnish. Should I have made the bacon risotto?
- Most of the risotto flavor came from the stock – make my own next time(?) or find a really good brand.
- Since the risotto takes so much active time and attention, do all of the other prep work before starting it.
- What brand of chicken stock was that? Recipe from Prevention Magazine.
- I forgot the parsley!
|Seared Scallops with Bacon; Sauteed Spinach with Poblano Pepper, Tomato, and Onion; and my first try at making Risotto|
[Q] How do you record your ideas? Do you ever pause to review what you’ve done and how it turned out?