Simpson Cooking Exploration

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By Artist Mentor Don Zietlow

Expressing yourself creatively can be accomplished through a variety of mediums or activities. While many of us are familiar with the more traditional art forms, such as drawing, painting, photography, and performing arts, Inverted Arts recently had the opportunity to share creativity though cooking with a group of students.

In early December, I had the opportunity to facilitate a cooking and baking class with a group of middle school students and their mentors at the Simpson House. While we did briefly discuss some very basic concepts, the main objective was to provide a fun and encouraging environment to explore creative opportunities with food. Our topic looked at the simple food item of pizza. However, as the class would learn through some yummy examples, that one simple term can represent many different kinds, such as traditional types of pizzas, but also a fruit pizza and a dessert pizza. Through discussion and their own application, the students were encouraged to “create” their own vision; to not be afraid to try something new and to not let setbacks deter them from continuing to enjoy.

With very limited direction, the students were invited to make their own savory pizza. In this simple exercise, it was incredible to watch the unique, individual approaches of these food artists. Some were quite meticulous in gathering their ingredients and the subsequent arrangement of their pizza, while others were a bit more laissez-faire about strict guidelines and design. Regardless of the approach, the individual execution was thrilling to watch as their culinary projects baked up to a delicious final product.

Beyond the hands-on application of food and conceptual discussion of creativity, I was struck by the beauty of these young minds. As the students grew more comfortable in the setting and the topic, the class became less facilitated and more of an exchange. It was in that moment that unending imaginations began to unfold. When was the last time you dared to imagine beyond the limits of your own knowledge, bound by your own experience?

Inverted Arts motto is “created to create.” We created that day. And it was delicious!