V. B. from Mineral Point, Wisconsin asked, "I’ve never considered myself creative, but I love to cook. What can I do to be more creative in cooking?"

Dear V,

Well, it’s excellent that you have found the medium where you can be creative. Congrats!

As in all creativity, you do not need to re-create everything to be creative. You only need to connect or combine items, thoughts, ideas, or ingredients that have not been used together in the past. And usually, the new connection or combination is in answer to a problem, challenge, or previous failure.

I was recently at a family reunion where my aunts ranging in ages from 60 – 90 were re-living memories. One commented that her favorite memory was eating onion pie at her aunt’s house. Yes, served as dessert. It was a custard pie with onions in the custard.  Most of us wrinkled our noses and made noises as if to be sick in response to the thought of it. None of us would have put those two together.  My cousin tried to make it sound acceptable by saying it must have been like a quiche. But no, it was sweet like every other pie and VERY delicious. Her aunt had cooked with creativity. The piecrust was made like every other pie. The custard was made like every other custard. But she used onions instead of berries. So here’s your challenge, V.  Combine ingredients in new ways. Experiment by changing only one ingredient in a traditional recipe. Use large eggs instead of small eggs. Use applesauce instead of oil. You’ll be surprised how one small change will give you unique creative results.

Thanks for asking!  Lynnette Schuepbach

Lynnette is an author/illustrator who sees creativity in every aspect of life. To find out more about her and creativity, visit her Web site KidsDoRead.com.  Her children’s books create curiosity in children and speak to sibling rivalry and bullying.

Lynnette serves as chair of Art in the Park on the second weekend of October at the Lindendale Park in Highland. Many local artists will be exhibiting there. It’s her pleasure to be a part of this opportunity for you to experience “World Class Art in a Hometown Atmosphere.” More info at www.highlandartscouncil.org.

Click here to send your question to Lynnette.