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Most of us don’t have the luxury of doing something obviously creative every day. I wish I had time to write and edit poems, read poems and even watercolor and cook new dishes every day. Of course, there are errands to run, laundry to do and paying work to finish.

One of my resolutions for the new year is to really slow down and make time for what is not only important, but vital to living a good life. I want to *find* the time to do these things if not every day, then every week. 

Taking an extra moment to do something might even allow us all to do less creative things more creatively. You can take a new road to work and explore your neighborhood more. Look around at your surroundings more carefully. Buy different vegetables in the Farmer’s Market and try out a new recipe. Spend an extra minute writing an email so that it isn’t a list of speedy facts, but rather a thoughtful progression of words.

My husband and I enjoyed making many of our holiday gifts this year. We talked about what we wanted to do, made them and then wrapped them together. With a pile of markers, we were able to personalize what could have been a present wrapped by a store clerk who never met the receiver.

I recently bought a travel watercolor kit and watercolor postcard paper. I’m fairly certain that my work would only make a mother proud, but I’m slowly improving and I feel peaceful when I experiment with the colors and painting new shapes. It is important to find this space for ourselves.

I really believe that we will all be more productive if we take advantage of moments here and there to relax and recharge.

What will you do to be more creative in 2010?

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Sparrow Meat Market Dinner fifth courseSparrow Meat Market Dinner fourth courseSparrow Meat Market Dinner third courseSparrow Meat Market Dinner second courseSparrow Meat Market Dinner first courseSparrow Meat Market in Kerrytown (Ann Arbor) hosts a semi-secret monthly feast. They take over the supermarket and Sweetwaters Café area with long tables covered in white tablecloths. They serve multi-course meals and guests share their BYOB wine with each other. The entire complex is closed except to those who made a phone reservation and know to enter through the only open door (closest to the parking lot.)

I’d seen flyers for it when I looked for it on meat counter after browsing the Saturday Farmer’s Market outside. There are no ads and no mention of it on the Sparrow website. Friends have raved about it, but mostly because they heard great things, not because they’d ever gone. 

After eating in the packed rooms filled with the aromas from the five dishes and the live music by Douglas and Andrew Brown, I understand why they don’t advertise. They don’t need to. Through word of mouth, this dinner is “legendary,” as one friend described it to me in an email.

Here was the menu:

1st course

Baby spinach with dried Traverse City cherries, toasted pecans, crumbled blue cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. 

2nd course

Marinated tomatoes and zucchini served alongside a selection of Italian salamis.

3rd course

Seared scallops with cream sauce over roasted garlic and pumpkin polenta. 

4th course

Pork loin stuffed with fresh herbs, garlic, and grated pecorino cheese slow cooked in marinara served over braised escarole greens.

5th course

Fresh prepared Amaretto cannolis.

My favorite part of the meal was the pumpkin risotto. I don’t care much for scallops in general, but this polenta was perfectly seasoned. It wasn’t sweet or spicy. The pumpkin flavor was appropriately slight and complemented by the creamy sauce. This is something I want to try to recreate at home. Minus the cream sauce, this Epicurious recipe sounds about right.

The fresh basil on the zucchini in the second course helped to bring out the fresh flavor of the vegetable. The salamis were room temperature and their fattiness (a positive!) was offset by the light vegetables.

The salad dressing on the first course was a bit heavy for the light baby spinach leaves and the pork loin would have benefited from just a bit more spice (salt and even hot pepper), but considering the large numbers of people being served, I don’t think it should be held against them.

This dinner was something we’d like to repeat. And repeat.

If you need more convincing, you might enjoy this review on AnnArbor.com by Jennifer Shikes Haines. 

The menu changes according to the seasons. Be in “the know” and check out the flyers on the meat counter. The cost for the five course dinner is $45.00 and you can call for reservations/information at 734-761-8175.

 

 

Thanks to the Ann Arbor Chronicle for linking to this article.

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