I think about food all the time, even when I'm not hungry. I mentally combine flavors and textures. I dream up techniques for ingredients that I've never heard of before.
Cranky calls me a food theoretician; I somehow see myself as the deaf Beethoven, who could still "hear" music in his head and compose scores without ever listening to the actual music being played.
OK, maybe I went way over the top on that one. I'm certainly no Beethoven, of the piano or of the stove. But I'm confident about dreaming up meals in my mind well before I get into the kitchen.
Even so, when I come up with some heretofore unknown recipe or other, I invariably do a Google search to see if such a thing already exists, or is even possible.
And when I find a similar recipe to the thing I've cooked up mentally, I always experience two feelings: 1) Surprise. (Hey, some other nut likes this idea too!) and 2) Relief. (OMG, maybe it really will work if somebody else has done it!)
It's funny, though. I'm never really disappointed that I'm not the only person on the planet who conceived of my brilliant, unique twist. No, my feelings aren't that easily crushed. As a matter of fact, I'm not even really surprised that I'm not the only person to think something up. (So scratch #1 above.)
I'm not talking about molecular gastronomy, by the way. No chemicals and foams and tortured replicant food in my kitchen.
Naw. Just simple stuff, like... Well. Yesterday I used part of a stunningly beautiful black cabbage for a dish of lentils and sausage. The cabbage is very sturdy (which is not to say tough) and has a robust vegetal aroma of cruciferous popcorn gym shoes. (No, trust me. You want this in your mouth.)
And so I got to thinking. Has anybody ever made sauteed cabbage patties? Like potato pancakes, right, but formed with pre-cooked shredded cabbage, a little grated onion, some flour and egg to hold it together, like that. Salt and pepper, perhaps a dash of baking powder for lightness. Fry it up. Mm.
So I Googled. This is what I got.
It's not actually a recipe per se, but it's a total confirmation of what I was trying to come up with. It made me happy.