By Jill Earl
Yesterday, I took time out from writing for a few hours to cook a special meal. I roasted a leg of lamb with carrots, potatoes and red onion, seasoning all with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, and balsamic vinegar. Dinner was finished with lightly steamed green beans.
This time, inspiration came from the Disney Pixar movie, ‘Ratatouille’. When I heard about the movie’s quirky plot, a rat with the dream of becoming a gourmet chef in Paris, I was thrilled. I expected great animation, but wondered how the animators would pull off the realistic culinary scenes necessary for the movie’s success.
Included in the DVD was ‘Fine Food & Film’, a conversation with the movie’s producer/director Brad Bird and chef Thomas Keller. Running 13 minutes, the pair discussed how they collaborated to merge food and animation. As Keller worked with his staff to create gourmet dishes, Bird worked with his writing and animation teams to bring those creations and the world of the chef to life on film.
At times when I cook alone or with others, I make notes of recipes, the actual cooking process, and kitchen settings for future reference. A few of my characters like to create desserts, and dabble in ethnic cuisine, and I’m only too happy to experiment on their behalf. Incorporating my experiences and knowledge into their lives helps makes them more well-rounded and believable.
Your writing may not be inspired by a meal, a well-known animator, a world-class chef and a determined rat. For you, it may come from an article in the paper or online. It may come during a family trip to the zoo. Perhaps it comes on your daily commute to work. Regardless of how it comes, when inspiration strikes, don’t just stand there.
Get cookin’ and write it down!