When I was in elementary school I was convinced that I couldn't draw. It was thing among the girls to draw pictures, usually of girls and trees and puppy dogs. I couldn't visualize what they were supposed to look like, so I often ended up copying the techniques of my peers while adding a small twist here or there to make mine just different enough to pass without anyone realizing that I hadn't actually created a unique character of my own. Of course by the time I was done it was a unique character but I thought that because I couldn't pull how to draw the hair-eyes-dress from my own imagination, that automatically made my creations a fake. It's interesting how these mentalities follow us as we age.
I've always been a good cook. I can follow directions, internalize them, and twist them into new variations without a second thought. It's my old drawing technique reborn in the kitchen. The difference is that now that I'm older I understand that's how we learn. We copy, we change. We make things our own. Every recipe we create has its roots in something else we cooked at some other time, even if we no longer remember it. Sometimes we forget the origins of a dish and I think that's how recipes evolve. We color and we fill in the blanks to make recipes or drawings or stories our own. It's not about being the first or the best, it's about creating something we truly enjoy and then sharing it with anyone else who's interested. Life, to me, is about creating things and then letting them go. They will evolve in the wild and that's what makes the world an interesting place.
I am notorious for not reading my own books and not following my own recipes. It's not because I don't like them. It's because somehow, once I've published them, they take on a life of their own. They aren't mine anymore. I'm always thinking about the next meal and what I want to eat now. What I had yesterday holds little interest for me unless I'm using the memory to explore a new idea. I may eat a lot of roast chicken or mashed potatoes but each batch is subtly different, based on how I feel and what's in the pantry. What would be delicious right now? That's what goes into our recipes. It's what we want to eat at the moment we are creating it.