Both begin as an idea born of experience, imagination, and a desire to create a result to delight the senses which may be consumed with pleasure.
The ingredients play out in the mind of the baker. The recipe is written down, tried and if successful the cookies and cakes and pies and muffins are shared and the recipes are given to others to recreate. The next baker may: choose to substitute Turbinado sugar for both sugars; use ground Tahitian vanilla bean paste instead of the liquid sort; prefer King Arthur’s Baking Flour over any other brand; delight in using pecans rather than their more bitter cousins, walnuts; and use farm fresh eggs from a neighbor’s chickens whenever available, so that the results may vary in subtle ways, but the recipe essentially remains the same.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 pound butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
Let butter sit in a big bowl at room temperature until it becomes soft. Mix in both sugars until smooth. Mix in eggs and vanilla until creamy in texture. In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda and nuts. Add the dry mixture to the other bowl. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake at 375° for 8 to 10 minutes. (Times may vary depending on your oven, ingredients used, desired softness vs. crunchiness, altitude and attitude.) Makes 4 dozen cookies.
The elements play out in the mind of the playwright. The idea is written down, tried and if successful the plays and musicals and monologues and conceptual pieces are shared and the manuscripts are given to others to recreate. The next director may: choose to substitute a tough neighborhood in New York for a romantic city in Italy; like the idea of a sister-in-law-to-be instead of an old trusted nurse; prefer turf wars with knives and bats to actual sword fighting; delight in the setting of a basketball court instead of a family crypt; and utilize a great deal of fancy footwork and some jazzy syncopated tunes, so that the results may vary in subtle ways, but the play remains essentially the same.
The next time you bake, feel free to use whichever ingredients you choose to. Make up your own recipe. Chocolate Chip cookies or Shakespeare. Be creative. After all, you are the baker.
Cheryl Itamura is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Real Live Theater.