Fasting & Creativity
KEBAB QUEEN #2
It’s been a few hours since you last ate, your stomach starts to roar, although it’s not the end of the world, you have a desire to eat, you feel lighter and more active, you are ready to hunt, graze or gather food. Nowadays, more likely you would be in a supermarket, you would buy anything and everything if you are cooking dinner for yourself. You're hungry, you fancy too many things, you might struggle to decide which way to go; meaty, heavy on carbs, or a comforting pizza or two - you will most probably buy more than you really need, and will definitely fall for some snacks (that will not make it home) to alleviate that urge to eat and feel satisfied, it’s not too different when you over-order in a restaurant...
That was hunger, we go through it every day, all living organisms go through the need of obtaining their essentials. A great number will have to actively go after them, so they are more alert, witty, determined and physically prepared to hunt, to even risk their lives for food, they are in other words switched on.
We are not much different, we did that before agriculture and farming around 12000 years ago, not too long ago, considering the time we’ve been around. Biologically we go through the same process, and your brain is more switched on when you are hungry, some people say that they cannot think straight when they are hungry, they can, they just haven’t tried hard enough or they’ve eaten not long after.
Here comes fasting and forcing yourself to be hungry, why? Because you are more alert when you are hungry, your brain is awake, you need to get food. If you love food, you will think about food A LOT, and here comes creativity, in my case focused mostly on food. I find it very difficult to articulate how my brain creates thoughts and ideas about food. I dig deep for sensorial memories, then I visualise things that might not relate necessarily to edible materials, this can often create a new path of ideas and bring other things to mind, and so on for a while. It is then about linking some ideas and discarding others depending on what I am looking for, or if they make gastronomical sense, I note them down and then begin trial and error- most of them look and sound good at first... but soon fall into the not good enough category. Some of them work, and some of them make it to the counter at Kebab Queen.
Fasting is a long process, my record is 48 hours, although for me the most effective way is to have a very light lunch and then no food until the next day. It’s during the night when everything is down, that my brain revs the most- then I practice and refine my ideas in the kitchen. It’s utterly rewarding.
Finally we eat, and like the lions in the Masai Mara with full bellies, we are satisfied. Our primordial needs are sorted, we are lethargic, chilled and we don’t need to worry much about food or how to get it, we don’t need to think, and we don’t need to be creative.
Next time you are really hungry, get yourself to a quiet place, ideally in the dark, with little sensorial distractions - pay attention to your thoughts, food related or not. You might come up with good ideas or plans for the future, so always stay hungry.