Happy New Year! It’s that magical time of year when the slate gets wiped clean, when motivations are sky-high, when it seems possible that we can become the best versions of ourselves. Pretty exciting, right?
Maybe this feeling lasts for a couple of days, or a couple of weeks, or until your town gets pummeled by 2 feet of snow, leaving you housebound for days with nothing but a Costco-sized box of Cap’n Crunch, a jug of half-and-half, and unlimited streaming of New Girl episodes via Netflix. Hey – I’m not judging you. I’ve put half-and-half on my cereal once or twice, and that shit was delicious. Just don’t make a habit of it.
This year, I’m not making a whole bunch of promises to myself that end in disappointment shortly thereafter. Instead, I’m making a list of things that I enjoy or that I do well, and I’m going to focus on doing more of those things throughout the days, weeks, and months that will make up 2014. Here’s a few of my food-related focus points for the new year, laid out in a way that makes them fun and interesting to me rather than the typical resolution drudgery.
Do This! Continue eating a ton of fresh fruit. I love it, and I eat an abnormal amount of it. The only time I don’t eat fresh fruit is when I don’t make time to go grocery shopping. So, go to the grocery store! Because pineapples and grapefruits and bananas me happy, and they don’t make me fat! And sign up for a CSA in the springtime so that I can be surprised by the local fruits that are sent each week. Surprise fruits – hell yeah!
Not That! Eat better, more nutritious food. Lose weight. (This kind of goal never works for me. Does it actually work for anyone? It’s boring, and it lacks focus. No, thank you.)
Do This! Once a month, try a new food/ ingredient/recipe that I’ve never cooked or eaten before. Because I want to know what a quince tastes like. And I’d love to finally master a great homemade bread recipe made with my own mother. And I’m not talking about my mother, Noreen. Bless her heart, but she’s not much of a bread baker. I’m talking about a yeast starter that you grow and feed and that ends up being completely indigenous to your kitchen. One-of-a-kind bread! How cool is that?
Not That! Eat at home more. Stop eating out so much. It’s cheaper and healthier to eat at home. (Sounds like a death sentence to me. Why do I pay Chicago taxes if I can’t get out to the restos? Sure, I can cut down, and making some cool new stuff at home will help me do that, but I’m not nutty enough or broke enough to give it up altogether.)
Do This! Exercise! I’m happier, more energetic, and less neurotic when I’m sweating on the regular. Nearly every aspect of life looks better after 30 hard minutes of cardio, and amazingly, I never shame myself for eating something unhealthy if I’ve put in my time at the gym. Everything in moderation! It’s not just an overused cliche – it’s a way of life.
Not That! Go to the gym at least 5 times a week. Or else I’m a fatty. And I have to wear a bathing suit in a month. Just call me Fatty McFatterson. Since I only went to the gym 4 times this week instead of the promised 5, it’s all gone to shit and I might as well demolish an entire box of Triscuits smeared heavily with Merkts Port Wine Cheddar Spread. While re-watching some of those New Girl episodes.
Do This! Grow my own herbs again this spring! It saves a ton of cash, can be done in the teeniest of spaces, and provides an instant flavor spike to whatever you’re making. Plus, I didn’t kill any of the herbs off before their time in 2013. First time for everything!
Not That! Man, I miss my old apartment with the organic garden in the back. It was really amazing to just saunter outside and pick fresh carrots or beets or green beans or cabbage or whatever else happened to pop up back there. (Did you know that you can’t help but saunter when you’re going to pluck summer squash blossoms from your urban backyard garden? It’s impossible to walk normally. That place was really crazy and special. But now I own a little space of my own, and I can plant my herbs! And there’s a ton of farmers’ markets in the area, and I have the CSA to look forward to! Onward!)
Do This! Write in this blog more frequently. I like to write, and I feel a sense of accomplishment when I hit the publish button. Plus, it helps me connect with other people in the industry and keeps my creative juices flowing in a different way than my day job. All good stuff.
Not That! Quit using your unbelievably sub-par photography skills as an excuse to not post something. Yes, food photography is extremely important to a food blog. After all, we eat first with our eyes. But first and foremost, I like to bake and I like to cook, and I usually have something to say about it, with or without pretty pictures. So, get to writing and forget about the photos sometimes. Some posts don’t need them.
But since I desperately want you to believe me when I say that I eat a whole lot of fruit, here’s a picture of my current fruit bowl. I live alone. This will all be gone in 4 or 5 days. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014! What are your goals and resolutions for the new year?