How Recipe Writing Teaches You to Be More Creative

In Chapter 10 of 16 in her 2012 interview, author and food writer Cathy Erway answers "How Has Recipe Writing Taught You to Be More Creative?"  Erway notes the two aspects of the recipe writing process - experimenting and testing the recipe and then meticulously writing out the recipe.  She finds the former, the testing, pushes her to experiment and iterate on what she has tasted before. 

Cathy Erway is an author and food writer living in Brooklyn.  Her first book, "The Art of Eating In" developed from her blog "Not Eating Out in New York".  She earned a BA in creative writing from Emerson College.


Erik Michielsen:  How has recipe writing taught you to be more creative?

Cathy Erway:  Ooh. The ingredients are kind of like my paint, and the pan is my canvas, so recipe writing, I guess there's two facets of it. It's actually doing the recipe with ingredients and tools and so forth, but having to go back and write it is actually much, much less creative. It's actually kind of a pain to make it because you want it to be as accurate as possible, and sometimes you did things in the moment that you might forget, and it just takes a long time.

So, I mean, I guess if we're talking about the former, which is recipe writing as you're doing it, yes, it absolutely is a great outlet for creativity, and it teaches me to be more creative because I'm always--like my palate is constantly wanting something different, so I have to come up with something different.

So it's a good natural way to be forced into being a little more creative or doing something a little more differently because I don't want to have the same thing that I’ve had before.