Tuesday, October 12, 2004


"How do you come up with all this stuff?" I hate this question, and maybe by ranting a little about it I'll figure the answer out. Then maybe instead of dreading the question (I honestly don't know, it just comes to me) I'll have an answer. I can sit at a traffic light and an idea pops into my head. I can look at a box of Pop Tarts and I wanna go"try something." I can lay out a row of pills and wonder " See how neatly they're all laid out? That would make a cool presentation" Right now..Right here I'm going to create a new word. "Craftist". I hate referring to ourselves as artists...too pretentious. But it IS an art form. It is also a craft. I flip flop on the term so , like the creation of a dish, I'll split the difference to suit myself. Kenny Shopsin equated creativity and fusion( I'll let him slide on the term) with " Sticking your dick in the wrong hole." He says" There's a certain friction , a sexual friction that's created when you put an ingredient in a dish that's not supposed to go there. This ..doing something you're not supposed to do.Sometimes it doesn't work, but a lot of times it does."
I think any great craftist starts with a fucked up mind. We don't think in the same linear fashion as we are taught. We're the ones that always had to know why something worked a certain way, In math class remember how the robot would always tell you "Well the answer is right, but you went about it wrong." What the fuck is that? I used a different approach and ended up in the same place? Who cares? I think this is what I hated about school. They only teach you in one way. That, and I was such a weirdo I could never fuck the cheerleaders. I think the eternal question WHY leads to contrariness in our "because it is" way of Western linear thought. Most of us have never followed the rules and have ended up being the foremost proponents of tradition. I find myself saying..."you do it that way, because that's the way it's done" a lot. But only in the hopes that whoever I'm attempting to teach will learn the rules in order to break them sensibly. And regularly. I hate convention yet despise ungrounded innovation.
It is contrariness that makes our minds look outside the box. I quit high school but read voraciously. Most times I feel like everything is pointless and at the same time feel like I can do anything. It's a neverending conflict in my mind and this is what I mean by a fucked up mind. It just doesn't follow a normal course of thought. I hate it. Then someone will say " well, why don't you see a doctor to straighten it all out?" Because I like it. See what I mean?
I live in my own head. I don't think I'm alone in there though, I just don't see my neighbors as anything other than ideas. Shapes, colors,textures, questions...techniques , creation are the only things that give me peace. Sure, it will drive you crazy but who is sane? As long as you can walk normally and give brief impressions of sanity, you're fine.
A deeply troubled and quizical mind is technique.
The next part is the tools. Your idea bank. Aquired knowledge. You can't rule ANYTHING out. Things you hate, things you love, all your training, every dish you've ever eaten, every painting you've ever seen, every touch, every philosophy - Everything- forms this great resourse that your contrary technique can use. You have to keep this idea bank fed on a daily basis. It's like a shark. If it doesn't swim it dies. Without inspiration, what's the point? You can't force it though. It's a natural occurence. Sometimes you have to force it because you have a deadline, but this is where we critique ourselves and go " God, that sucked." Fortunately most people don't see it, but we do. The hardest part is not killing yourself when you hit a down period. You're simply recharging. I used to think I had do my most original, creative stuff on a daily basis. Now I sometimes go a week without any ideas. Culinary writer's block I guess. This is when you have to rely on just good old fashioned cooking. Just make a really good, simple roast chicken. Or a plate of linuine with clam sauce ( you have to make perfect linguine though, not that boxed shit). Cook simple for a while and your head will reboot and you'll suddenly have that idea you were looking for. One style spurs the other. This is also why we never relax. When we cook to relax, it just makes us think more and that's when we wake up a 4:30 am and say" Fuck a roast chicken."
Being a fanatical craftist has destroyed any sense of normality in my life. I feel sorry for my family, my friends and anyone I've ever been in a relationship with. I can't change and for 99.9% percent of the people , it's too hard to deal with. Remember the scene in Amadeus where Mozart was in a billiard room...just rolling the balls around the table, bouncing them off each other, stone cold silent except for the click.....click...of the billiard balls. His wife walks in and he screams.." CAN'T YOU SEE I'M WORKING!!!!".. Well, that's what craftism is. For that I'm sorry. Alienating and isolating, but only in OUR heads.

Oh well, at least we have each other.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah another man proving that philosphy is the key to art. without deep thoughts, outside the common trend of our normal conscience, inspiration and true creation cannot exist.

1:25 AM  
Blogger PerfectPear said...

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I grew up in big kitchens, dad's a chef and owner, brother's a chef, and knew better than to commit my life. But I still make occassional mad cash as a chef's assistant and caterer, because I know how to stay the fuck out of the way, and keep my mouth shut. It's an art into itself. I wish I had a dollar every idiot said, "I'd love to own a restaurant..." or "I consider myself a chef..." when they learned my background. 20 hour days, juggling idiots and artisinship. It's rough and I'm grateful someone else wants to do it and write honestly about it. Thanks.

For the catering side, www.perfectpear.blogspot.com
Read the entry, "Other People's China"

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So do you think the only (romantic) relationship a chef can be in is with another chef? Since only chefs can understand each other?

2:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My God, I'm the last person you should ask about relationships. Besides cooking, that's something I'm just not very good at.


4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stop deluding yourselves morons

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, if someone as stupid as this can prove my point, there might be hope. God I hate those primadona cooks who think they're artists.


1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the Anon. above *the servant's* comment...A.C. you are a petty Servant, not an artist.Now do as your master tells you...go back into your kitchen, and Serve *us*, the privledged ones.

1:49 AM  

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