hist-brewing: Recipe and Soul

PBLoomis at aol.com PBLoomis at aol.com
Tue Apr 3 01:25:47 PDT 2001


In a message dated 4/2/01 1:31:53 PM Central Daylight Time, 
mcfeeley at keynet.net quotes Nancy Vineyard as saying:

> Soul in cooking, brewing, vintning, and meadmaking, comes to life through 
>  creativity and play.  I heard this arresting statement on creativity from
>  a speaker at a workshop: "Creativity is directed activity but not 
necessarily
>  with a goal in mind."  This is a different take on creativity, the 
lefthanded
>  route of spontaneity and intuition versus the righthanded way of logic and 
>  rationality.  It's serendipity at work, not aimless action, the kind of 
thing
>  that comes about when folk try a little of this, a litle of that, and the
>  result is unexpectedly ambrosia.
>  
    While I agree wholeheartedly with her general thesis, I have to take
minor exception with the "unexpectedly" in the last line.  My wife and 
my son are both talented cooks.  When they add "a little of this, a little 
of that" to an ordinary recipe and it becomes ambrosia, it is not 
unexpected.  It is the result of training oneself to recognize the nuances 
of flavor in every ingredient, and to orchestrate them as a great conductor
does.
>
>  Spontaneity is also a dynamic in play and playfulness.  My all time 
favorite
>  quote on play is in Erik Erikson's _Toys and Reasons_:
>  
>     Of all the formulations of play, the briefest and the best is
>     to be found in Plato's _Laws_.  He sees the model of true 
>     playfulness in the need of all young creatures, animal and
>     human, to leap.  To truly leap, you must learn how to use the
>     ground as a springboard, and how to land resiliently and safely.
>  
    Plato lacked experience; indeed he deliberately rejected the 
evidence of the real world, choosing instead to play mind games, 
and dealing Western thought a dangerous wound from which it 
has not fully recovered.  (Can you tell I was a philosophy major 
in college?)  A baby elephant cannot jump at all, yet no one who 
has ever watched two together can doubt that they are playing.
    Scotti the curmudgeon


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