after school snacks

Posted on December 17, 2012 by

When I was a kid, a little kid…seven, eight, nine years old, I was in school.

So I’d get up go to school, run around doing School Things all day.

Then I’d come home.  And after I put down my backpack and took off my shoes, I would notice something.

I was hungry.

So I’d do that thing.  You probably know the thing.  You’re probably already picturing me, touseled braids on either side of my head, socks falling down around my ankles, jeans cinched right up around my waist (hey, it was the 80’s).  I’m standing there, fridge held open, squinting inside.

And I don’t move.

My mom was saving electricity before it was fashionable, so she’s saying, “Close the door!  You’re wasting energy!  Decide what you want first!”

“But I’m hungry, mom.”

“Figure out what you want, and THEN open the door to get it.”

She didn’t understand.

I had no idea what I wanted. I knew I had this gnawing in my stomach.  I knew the answer to that feeling was food.  But it had to be the right food, and I had no idea what that might be.  I wasn’t looking for a snack, I was looking for inspiration.  (Note to self: do not look for inspiration in a cloud of refrigeration fog.  There’s probably another post in there somewhere.)

And here’s the thing: my method worked.  She could stand in front of the fridge all day, arms crossed, rattling off foods, “Do you want carrots?”  “No.” Do you want milk?” “Nooo.”  “Do you want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?  It will ruin your dinner, but…” “No, yuck mom I JUST HAD ONE at lunch.” “Well then what do you want?” “I don’t knooooowwwww.”

I would never ever figure it out.

But if I stared and rummaged and got the things I thought I knew about what a snack should be to shut up for five minutes, I could find exactly the thing.  “Ants on a LOG!  YEah!” or “Mom can I have soup?”  “There’s no soup in the fridge.” “I know, but can I?” “Yes….”

I didn’t think of soup because I saw soup.  I thought of soup because I saw milk, and that reminded me of putting milk in Campbell’s Tomato Soup instead of water, and that reminded me of grilled cheese from camp, and….a masterpiece was born.

And it tasted so SO good.

I’m convinced that the reason that my method worked is that there was some alchemy in the creative process, something that stirred my digestive juices in the random, stream-of-consciousness process involved in staring into a packed refrigerator.

It wasn’t concrete, linear, or logical.  It was pure flow.

What, don’t you go into a flow state when staring at a refrigerator?

Funny thing is, it still happens to me.  If I need to cook, the best thing for me involves staring into a stocked refrigerator until something looks good.  Oh, the kale, yeah, and then I’ll need some garlic and onions and butter to saute it in, and it would taste really good with that fresh ravioli and a light sauce, and then I think those pears, poached and drizzled with maple syrup…

Not logic.  Pure inspiration.  Yes, in the fridge.

…and recently, I discovered something.  it’s not just food.  And once I discovered that, I started thinking.  And once I started thinking…well, you can see what happened next.  It’s over here:  You get to stare into the fridge of your life, and have some support in figuring out what you’re really hungry for. 🙂  And if you’re not in Boston, make sure you’re on my elist so I can let you know when I’m coming to a city near you…sign up over in the sidebar.