I recently got swept up in a conversation about making and finding time to create, and have been pondering the topic ever since.
In a world of glossy magazines, lifestyle blogs and styled Instagram photos, making seems to be a leisure time activity. It is something we indulge in after work, household and family commitments have been met or something we reserve for special occasions and capture in beautiful photos. There is however another type of making: the daily type we do to put food on our tables.
Although such everyday making can feel like a relentless cycle at times, and may not be as photogenic as other creative projects, it’s not devoid of joy or any less worthy. In my experience, the process of making actually makes housekeeping and homemaking more pleasurable. And there is even scope to inject a little frivolity, beauty or whimsy!
I’m a big fan of no-nonsense pasta, made with quality ingredients and simple equipment: a rolling pin, sharp knife and maybe a pastry cutter. Fortunately Mr M’s favourite pasta is rustic pappardelle, which is simple to make and the perfect accompaniment for a clingy rabbit or pheasant ragu. Recently though I have added a twist to my pasta making.
I usually knead up a batch of pasta and dry some for storage. As my large containers are currently in the freezer with my beetroot and runner bean harvest, I needed a less cumbersome shape. Of course, I could have just broken the pappardelle ribbons into pieces but the whimsical maker in me settled on farfalle instead. I start off by making pappardelle ribbons and then simply cut them into rectangles before pinching them into shape.
Whilst practicalities may have prompted me to make my pasta more frivolous, the desire for something jolly played a role too! Shaping the dough into bow ties appeals to the baker in me who rarely makes or decorates cakes these days. And spotting a jar of farfalle as I reach for the stock cubes or Worcestershire Sauce makes me smile. Okay, they may look more like the bow ties of a dishevelled clown rather than those of a period banker but they are pleasing nonetheless and send my imagination off on mental meanderings as I busy myself with dinner. Not a bad result from a little bit of unassuming making!
Your farfalle are glorious!
This may sound funny coming from someone who spends her days working at an art school (or maybe it makes perfect sense after you see and hear the things I do), but I feel deeply that everyday making is where my heart and hands are happiest and most satisfied. Studio practice, concept vs skill, shows, and “who you know” which — is so besides the point for me. I like to make stuff! On paper, on canvas, in the kitchen, in my chair in the living room, and even in my studio (which I love because it’s a “room of one’s own” not because it’s a studio where I practice my art — oh please).
I know I’m preaching to the converted 🙂