12. Anyone Can Cook

Ratatouille is legit one of my favorite movies. It’s about this rat who sits on this dude’s head, and eventually he gets all his other rat friends to take over a restaurant and they all work together to—

If I think about it too much I will vomit

But

There’s this quote at the end that I can’t stop thinking about

After Ego (the food critic) eats the Ratatouille (which is a dish—not the name of the rat), he goes on this monologue where he compares cooks to artists.

And at some point he says something like “Not anyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”

Anyone can be an artist! Anyone can write! Or paint! Or sing! Or play an instrument! Anyone can do any of those things, and that is one of the coolest things about art.

But the thing is, there is something inherently captivating about great art and great artists that makes something that people actively want to see. And I don’t know exactly what that inherently captivating thing is.

When Ego (the food critic) said “Not anyone can become a great artist,” he didn’t mean that there are only a select amount of people who have that innate talent to become a great artist. Because not all great artists are innately talented. He meant that there has to be this unique, near-perfect recipe that combines a certain level of talent and a certain kind of passion and drive to be great.

When Ego (the food critic) said “Not anyone can become a great artist,” he meant that not everyone has what it takes to become a great artist. Which is fine. Because this world needs regular artists and non-artists as well as the great artists in order to function properly.

But I’ve always had this insatiable desire to be great. So I’m always afraid of being unable to cross the line between creating things for fun and creating things on that great, higher, professional level.

When Ego (the food critic) said “Not anyone can become a great artist,” I felt discouraged, like there was a chance that I did not have that “great artist” quality about me.

But

When Ego (the food critic) said “But a great artist can come from anywhere,” I felt a completely different kind of way. I felt redeemed. Like there’s a chance that the countless days and months and years that I’ve spent huddled over a laptop, pouring my soul into novels or plays or songs that never amounted to anything were not wasted days and months and years.

When Ego (the food critic) said “But a great artist can come from anywhere,” I desperately hoped that I was the kind of artist that he was talking about. I thought about how I’ve always thought myself to be more of a good re-writer or editor than a good writer. I thought about how maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

When Ego (the food critic) said “But a great artist can come from anywhere,” I thought about where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to go. And for a second, I imagined that instead of talking about a rat named Remy who cooked some really good ratatouille, that Ego was talking about me. And for a second, I felt inspired, like maybe I could actually get to these places I wanted to go.

I don’t know why I let a depressed food critic named Ego from a fictional Disney cartoon about a rat have such a profound effect on me but, like,

that’s art

i guess