Colors make me happy. They represent abundance and variety to me, and conjure up feelings of awe and cheeriness. I love bright and saturated hues, in textiles, ceramics, glass; in food, in clothing, in shoes. Unpatterned though . . . I like solids and not patterns. I favor a neutral palette with pops of wild color.
When I was a teenager I went through a stage where I stuck to a monochromatic wardrobe of black, much to my parents’ chagrin. They didn’t make a big deal out of it, but I do remember my Dad mentioning it to me one time, so I knew they were paying attention. It sounds silly to me now, but I think it was my way of living within the imagined confines of my clothing choices, as I was attending a pretty exclusive private all-girls school where I felt that I was the poorest kid on the block and could not compete with the fancy pants (literally) of my peers. If I just wore black all the time I wouldn’t have to think about buying matching pants and shirts and shoes . . . and therefore wouldn’t be forever wanting to buy more clothes. I sort of laugh at myself and then feel compassion for my parents, who God knows were not poor, but also were not movie stars or moguls, when I think back on these days. I had transferred to this school from public school in order to get a superior education, which I did, and I actually did love the school part, and am forever grateful that I was given the opportunity to go there. It was not cheap, that’s for sure, but my parents wanted me to have a good education and felt that if I wanted to and could get into the school, that they wanted to make the financial sacrifice. I’ve always loved school, campuses, just the whole experience of being in an academic community. But the friends and clothing part? I was miserable!
These days I wear a lot more color. Also, one of the kicks of cooking and shopping for food, for me, is seeing what looks vibrant, colorful and fresh. I created this potato salad, which is very roughly based (at least the potato part) on a version of German Potato Salad my paternal grandmother used to make of potatoes dressed in a bacon/mustard/vinegar dressing and then tossed with bacon, to celebrate the diversity of color I recently spotted at our Saturday’s Farmer’s Market. I used lemon basil, amaranth leaf, jicama and all kinds of other odds and ends!
Do you have a favorite color that comes up in your food preparations again and again? How important is presentation to you when you are entertaining, dining with family, or dining alone? What do you do when you’re feeling playful in your cooking? Let me know in your comments!