If you’re a writer, or any other kind of artist, then you’ve probably heard of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a 12-week program to unblock your creativity so that you can more fully live the creative life that you feel called to.
I completed The Artist’s Way several years ago. However, over time, blocks have a way of coming back, or new blocks pop up that need to be dealt with. So, when I was invited to join a Facebook support group that was doing the program together, I jumped at it.
One of the weekly requirements is to do an Artist Date. As Cameron explains it, “The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly ‘artistic’ — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.”
Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Of course, that’s the point.
When a friend asked my boys to go play laser tag, I found myself with some free time. I jumped on the opportunity and had my first (for this session) Artist Date. I made plantains.
Almost 30 years ago, I served a mission for the LDS church in Paris, France. One of my companions, Yvis, was very metropolitan. She had lived in New York, London, and Brazil. One night, she introduced me to plantains.
Plantains are a starchier, less sweet cousin of the banana. They’re kind of like if a banana and a potato had a baby. Instead of eating them raw, you cook them. You end up with something that’s a cross between banana chips, potato chips, and French fries.
Start with this:
Peel the plantains and slice them into about 1-inch thick pieces. Heat some oil (I used coconut oil) in a frying pan and fry the plantain until they are a pale gold (not brown) color. Flip the plantain pieces to fry the other side. Remove from the pan and drain on a paper towel.
Next, using a spatula or the bottom of a glass, press down on each piece to squash it into a flat chip. Return the pieces to the pan and fry until the bottom is golden brown. Flip again and fry until the other side is also golden brown.
Remove the plantains from the pan and drain again on a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt immediately, while there’s still a little oil on top, so the salt sticks to the plantain. Let cool a little bit, and then enjoy!
Fun factor: Not only do plantains transport me back to a fun time with a fun mission companion, they also remind me of exotic places that I’d someday like to visit like Cuba, Cameroon, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica.