Thursday, September 30, 2010

Truth Being Stranger Than Fiction - Another Example:

Those of you who follow my blog are aware that I use the words "the art of" as a vehicle to point out examples of the process of creativity outside of the arts.
Besides my being involved with the creative processes germane to music, I have ventured into other areas of Man's innate curiosity in order to put into action the creative process, such as, for instance - making bread ( I AM serious!).
Some years ago, when the first electronic bread makers appeared in the stores, I decided to try one out, and so I purchased one with a famous brand name attached, this model being imported from Japan.
I quickly found out that there were some flaws, especially in the machine's ability to maintain the same level of quality in the loaves that were produced, obviously due to it being among the first bread makers available.
And so, I began work on ways to outwit the contrivance in order to find ways to make each loaf of bread one of equal quality to its predecessor or successor, which I eventually succeeded in doing.
Along the way, I also was aware of the very few recipes that were in the instruction manual that accompanied the machine, and embarked upon a venture commensurate with my creative journeys in my chosen field.
The results surprised even me. To mention but a few of the recipes I created for the bread maker (which totaled some forty in number) were such concoctions as chocolate bread, strawberry bread, orange bread, anise rye bread, 21- grain bread, Ezekiel bread ( I modified the recipe found in the bible for use in the machine), and even Indian Pudding bread, after having consumed a delicious Indian Pudding in a restaurant on Cape Cod.
And so, in the very same sense as my being a composer, a pianist, etc., I found the very same form of elation upon attaining a particular level of expertise in a creative endeavor outside of the Lively Arts.
My breads were sought after by students, colleagues, and......... read on!
Here is where the saga of my bread takes on a surreal course, and you MUST believe me:
I decided to write the company that fabricated the bread maker, pointing out the deficiencies I discovered, plus the paucity of recipes in the manual, and my activities in overcoming both aspects. I included the list of some forty breads I had developed along the way.
I never expected to receive a reply; HOWEVER...
One day, as I ventured past the front door and looked out, a stretch limousine from the airport came to a halt in front of my house, and three men, dressed in formal wear, emerged and approached my door. I thought that these men were obviously going to the wrong house, but upon their ringing my doorbell, in they came, each wearing 500 dollar suits and offering a card of introduction. I was overwhelmed when I read these cards - each gentleman had come in from New Jersey by air and brought to my home by limousine. New Jersey was the American headquarters of the machine and many other products the whole world is familiar with, and each card had the name of each gentleman in English, with other words in Japanese.
It was obvious that the three were executives from this company - only one of the three spoke English.
I was absolutely staggered at this reaction to a letter I had forgotten about. The very first question I asked myself, and ask to this day - why did they come unannounced? What if I had not been home??
At any rate, they were interested in my recipes, and (in a complete daze) I went to the chest freezer and brought out little examples of my bread for them to observe and taste.
Imagine! In MY kitchen! Three gentlemen, one of whom could speak English, each attired in wonderful wear, nibbling on little slices of my bread, quietly talking among themselves in a language I did not know - it was Surrealism of the first magnitude.
To make this saga brief, the outcome was interesting. The one man who could speak my language asked if I would give my recipes to them, to which I gently said "no" - it became obvious to me that, as the conversation continued, that no monies were mentioned in this process, and so I did not pursue the subject and remained firm in my refusal.
After a short time, he thanked me for the time spent, and for the bread, and for my welcoming them in, etc. The three bowed, shook my hand, and left.
I was in a state of absolute shock and bewilderment - why had they come without having contacted me? What results were they looking for in me? What did this all mean? All I can ascertain is that the three were high executives in this company, with perhaps the two gentlemen who could not speak English having come straight from Japan, to New Jersey, to my home. I really cannot be sure. A few weeks later, I received some gifts from New Jersey or Japan - I cannot recall from where.
I have the cards from these men - there is proof that this happened.
My bread- making continued for some years thereafter.
The bread maker resides in the cellar.



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