Flint and stone

“I get the same charge from the juxtaposition of colors as I do from the juxtaposition of chords.”Joni Mitchell
“The creative is always an act of recombination…as making a spark requires two things struck together.” Jane Hirschfield
“…two separate shots … [spliced] together resembles not so much a simple sum of one shot plus another shot as it does a creation.” Sergei Eisenstein
“What we’re trying to do is find two or more shots the juxtaposition of which will give us the idea.” David Mamet
Songwriter, poet, film director, playwright: What they mutually recognise is the creativity inherent in combining disparate elements in novel ways, and the powerful impact this can have on an audience.

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The Jazz

My favourite cookbook, Cooking Com Bigode, is both more and less than a standard recipe book. Less, in that it’s low on specificity, with recipes vaguely suggesting “some onions”, “lots of carrots” and “enough water”. But also more, in that you don’t just get recipes: you get patterns. As the author Ankur Shah puts it, “For each recipe the general theory (pattern) is explained and variations are offered.” He calls the process ‘The (culinary) Jazz’. I owe my own cooking skills to this approach: improvising around patterns, learning by trial and error, exercising resourcefulness and creativity with whatever’s in the fridge, rather than shopping for particular ingredients and measuring them precisely.

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