From Too Many Chefs -

December 31, 2005
2006 Foodie Resolutions

I received a message earlier this week from Diane of Lifestyle Filter asking if I'd like to contribute to a column she is writing on resolutions. I really like the idea of taking some time for a little soul-searching at the end of the calendar year. What did I resolve to do last year? Did I follow through on any of my resolutions? If not, why not?

Well, last year I wrote the following:

With the start of the new year, I've been contemplating some food resolutions. Most of them involve firming up some practices I already try to keep: cleaning the kitchen more often, buying only produce that is in season and grown locally, feeding the worms more often instead of just throwing away vegetable waste (I'm very lazy about taking compost out to the worms in cold weather).

My only new exciting resolution is this: to try at least one new food experience each week.

Well, I didn't do very well in 2005. My kitchen is still always messy. The worms are hungry in cold weather. Although I tried a few new foods, there is no way there were 52 of them. I did finally start going regularly to the organic market (thanks to the help and encouragement of Clotilde!), so buying food in season and locally grown was easier. I have broken down recently on the "locally grown" factor simply because the Boy gets tired of apples and pears for months on end and anyway the doctor prescribed bananas for a bout of gastric problems.

The problem with most resolutions is that they are either so ambitious that you will never follow through on them (finding something new each and every week) or they are based on a result, not a process (keeping the kitchen clean). Last year, I didn't give myself a way to keep the kitchen clean. So this year, I'm going to try something new and resolve to make reasonable changes in habit and a couple of goals that can be achieved in a day. For 2006, I resolve:

1) To clean the kitchen each night before going to bed.
2) To continue going to the organic market on average twice a month.
3) To stop using the fact that my Austrian grandmother is no longer around to teach me as an excuse for not learning how to make an apfel strudel.
4) To make a puff pastry from scratch.
5) To make bread at least once a month and use some exciting grains once in a while.

And as a follow on (and in response to David Lebovitz's famous Confessions a few moths ago) I have the following culinary confessions:

1) I have never cooked with a truffle.
2) I use store-bought pie crusts. Frequently.
3) We order from Domino's about twice a month.

Might have to work a bit on those too...

Wishing you and yours all the best in 2006 for a healthy and prosperous new year!

Posted by Meg in Sussex at December 31, 2005 11:59 PM | TrackBack

Ha! It makes me so happy to see that someone else admits to having a messy kitchen. This morning, I resolved to clean the kitchen every night before I go to bed, my only resolution for the year. I attacked it all morning. The floor still needs to be mopped.

I hope that, no matter the state of your kitchen, you have a great new year.

Posted by shauna on January 1, 2006 at 3:16 PM

Shauna, my sights are set much, much lower. Tonight, I unloaded the dishwasher, put in the dirty dishes that could be machine washed, washed down the counters (but not the stove) and hand-washed crystal and silver. For me, that is fantastic. The floor and the stove-top can wait until the cleaner comes on Tuesday. (Yes the worst of it is how bad the kitchen can get while we actually have a cleaner once a week!! )

Still, it's a start. Maybe by next year this will be such a habit I can add a few more items. Maybe!

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 1, 2006 at 4:38 PM

Oh, and a happy, healthy new year to you too!

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 1, 2006 at 4:38 PM

I have the usual "live more healthfully" resolution that I more or less accomplish each year (hey, when you start from eating out every night, drinking two-three nights a week and never exercising as a bachelor, you've got a long way up).

The second resolution I have is to learn to cook Chinese food in 2006. I've never really tackled Cantonese or Szechwan food, and I think I should.

The third relates to the fact that this will be the year I move to Maryland (at the end of June), away from my lifelong base of knowledge and sources in Chicago. I resolve to find sources in Maryland to replace as many of the wonderful ethnic sources I have in Chicago as possible. I resolve not to fall into the "oooh, ethnic" in Aisle 3 at Safeway trap, but to find the best of the dinky bodegas and markets in the greater DC/Baltimore area.

Posted by barrett on January 1, 2006 at 4:48 PM

Barrett--where in Maryland are you moving to? I used to live in the Columbia, Maryland area, and so can probably help you find ethnic goodness.

There is also a good adult education program through Howard County Parks and Recreation that has great cooking classes. I used to teach Chinese, Thai and Indian cookery through them--their other teachers are really good.

Also--if you need any help with learning Chinese food--let me know. The best piece of advice I can give you is get your wok as hot as possible, thin cast iron woks are better than thick ones, and better even than carbon steel, and do not be afraid of super-heating your oil.

Good luck!

Meg--cleaning the kitchen every night doesn't happen here, even with the new kitchen, but it happens -most- nights, which is better than I have ever been!

Happy New Year to you and good luck in your kitchen cleaning endeavors!

Posted by Barbara on January 2, 2006 at 11:42 AM

Barbara, look for an e-mail from me We're trying to determine where to move to right now. Columbia, Ellicott City, and Catonsville are all on our map right now.

Posted by barrett on January 2, 2006 at 12:17 PM

I resolved to keep it moving in the same direction. Whisky bottle in one hand, oar in the other while going down the category 5 river of life upside down spinning out of control bumping from rock to boulder.


Posted by Dr. Biggles on January 2, 2006 at 1:48 PM

Dr. Biggles, that is not a bad description of my life as well. However, when there is crystal on the counters and the boulders jump out at you from behind the fridge it's not a bad idea to get the kitchen clean. We are on day three and so far the plan is working!

And - no surprise - it takes a lot less time to do each night if you were good the night before. Now if I could just get the rest of my life equally sorted out I could enjoy that bottle of whisky...

Posted by Meg in Paris on January 4, 2006 at 7:06 AM

fred is a stickler for cleaning the kitchen.
All of it every night.
Even the drying up bit which is the point at which I would personally stop. i hate it at the time, but the next day when the cooking starts again, I always thank him for it.
Plus once its all done, he deserves a glass of scotch, right biggles?

Posted by sam on January 4, 2006 at 5:11 PM

Hey Sam,

OH !!! That's my problem right there. He gets his work done FIRST. Sigh, I've been doing it the other way around.
Probably too late to change habits I suppose. What's one to do?


Posted by Dr. Biggles on January 5, 2006 at 12:34 PM

I am looking for a shared use approved commercial kitchen in the Pasadena/ Los Angeles area.

Posted by Richard Summer on January 9, 2006 at 9:28 PM