I started savoring Saturdays in January, making sure that weekends offer something relaxing and fun – coffee, books, short day trips, reading, writing, and creating. So when my husband and I were having coffee in Senoia, Georgia (filming location of The Walking Dead) and I walked by a charcuterie board artist hard at work on a catered board, a post came rushing back to mind. Earlier in the week, I’d seen this:
This is a story idea, I thought. I ambled over and asked the food artist a few questions – namely if she could give me some pointers about creating a charcuterie board and whether I could make some photos of her work.
The first charcuterie board I’d ever actually eaten had been a disposable one from an outdoor camping and survival store in downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia when my husband and I were staying at the top of a mountain that took a 4-wheel drive to navigate. It was too much effort to go back out for dinner, so we took home a simple board, pre-made, with some cheeses, meats, and crackers on it. Nothing fancy like chocolate, nothing colorful or fresh and sweet like fruit, nothing exciting like nuts and pickles. We were not impressed. But it had been good for binge-watching Virgin River and not starving at cloud-level elevation.
This particular food designer, though, showed me the art of charcuterie creation with her XO and heart cookie cutters that she was using for the cheeses, and offered me a rule of thumb or two:
“Use three meats and three cheeses – play with combinations of food, and be creative with savory and sweet foods ranging from pickles and olives to chocolates. Your board should offer a hard cheese and a soft cheese. Use cutouts on the soft cheese and pipe in some preserves. Be festive with the cookie cutters and food colors to customize your board for the occasion.”
I decided to create a board for the Super Bowl, so I found a tray and shopped for the foods. What I discovered is that you can make these boards in under an hour, and they can be as healthy or as unhealthy as you want to make them. I shopped at a Dollar General that has a fresh food section, and the cost was about $40-45 – the price of what it costs for the two of us to go out for a nice meal.
I put on an apron to try to look the part and began chopping meats and dicing cheese and arranging the foods on the tray in designated areas. I started feeling a little bit like a food artist myself!
I arranged fruits next to meats and cheeses and kept the pickles, olives, and chocolates in their own containers on the tray. Soon, my board had a look of completeness to it, and while I’m no good at making little roses out of hard salami slices like the expert, I’m confident enough to create a charcuterie board for the next social gathering where I have to sign up to bring food.
So I realized that the daily 1,000 story walk is true! I’d walked past a story idea, stopped to ask questions, and learned something new!
Humbleswede inspired my post today when he shared First, if I know I’m in need of an idea, I spend the day with my antennae up. Thanks, my fellow writers, for all the sparks of ideas!