Our New Years Food Resolutions
Cook more “projects.”
In general, I’m happy with the amount I cook; it could always be more, but I’m good about making dinner the majority of nights that I’m home. Whether from my head or a recipe, I cook simple, which I think is best (I cook more that way). But in the new year, I’d like to get some more project type meals (homemade ravioli, fried chicken, etc.) under my belt. We’ll see…
Keep introducing foods into my kid’s limited repertoire.
He’s 3.5. He likes “long noodles” with red sauce, chicken nuggets (sorry, yes, I’m guilty, sue me), grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, bagels, lox (and capers! beats me), and pizza toast. (The kid doesn’t even like mac and cheese, which I find hilarious.) He eats more at school, when surrounded by peers: Korean beef bowls, rice and beans (LOVES this), pasta with squash and tomatoes (Marky B’s recipe), etc. Lately, he’s gotten into broccoli -- even raw! I want him to have more broccolis in his life -- that he didn’t like it but now does proves to me that it can be done.
Eat less and less meat.
This year, barely consciously, I’ve eaten a lot less meat. Having chicken on/in a salad is no longer a thing, I have a burger only when the urge is overwhelming and it’s good beef (so like once every six months, maybe? If that), and I don’t even remember the last time I had steak. And I don’t miss it. I don’t want to go vegetarian, but this limiting of meat has made me happy, and it’s easy, so I’m going to keep going.
Cook something from a different cookbook every month.
Dipping into unfamiliar cookbooks is a wonderful way to learn and explore, and I don’t do it nearly as much as I should. I’d like that to change.
Go vegan for a month.
I mentioned this goal to my wife, and she said, “how about January?” That seems soon. I proposed August. Baby steps.
Organize my f*cking freezer!
Is the angst coming through? In my ideal world, my freezer is lined with perfectly manicured rows of stocks, sauces, curry pastes, pizza and pasta dough, cubes of baby food, various rendered fats, etc,. All those things are in there somewhere (I think), but it’s a mess, and it’s nobody’s fault but my own. Clearing my calendar for January 1.
I’ve just never been hungry in the morning, but someone once mentioned something about it being one of the most important meals of the day, so I might check it out on a trial basis to see what the deal is.
Spend another year thinking about my perfect grill without doing anything about it.
Totally achievable. I want one of those Argentine-style grills where there’s a rack to build up a wood fire in the back, then you rake the coals underneath the grates as they’re ready. You can buy these, but they’re too expensive. You can weld them, but then I’d have to learn how to weld. Or you can call your friend the welder and have an open-ended conversation about your grilling fantasies without coming to any sort of concrete resolution. I’ll think about it...
Start compiling a family cookbook with my mom.
I told her a handful of years ago that I wanted to do this, and my mom, of course, (because she’s organized, hard-working, creative and insanely talented at these sorts of projects) started sketching plans and unearthing old recipes like the next day. I totally flaked. Sorry mom. Let’s do it.
Eat more slowly.
True Confessions edition: Whether for mindfulness, gratitude, better-savoring, or improved-digestion, it’s important.
Practice shucking oysters.
I live in the Pacific Northwest and I’m supposedly a food person. But I’m lazy and crappy about this skill. And that seems downright disrespectful.
Learn to bake bread.
My partner is a bread baker. And while I’ve fed his starter for weeks on end, I have never baked bread beyond no-knead. While I know what dough needs to look like and feel like at various stages, I’ve never done it on my own, start to finish. It’s time.
Cook my way through Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Every Grain of Rice.”
The recipes are very easy and very delicious -- the four I’ve cooked again and again. I’m obsessed with Chinese food and would like to expand my home cooking repertoire with this super engaging, accessible book.
Be less wasteful when it comes to food.
I love Daniel’s freezer resolution -- since my freezer is barren -- it basically has ice in it, a copper bowl I use when I whip cream, and a bunch of stock. So yeah, I’ve started to cut back on waste by making more stock. Now comes the harder part: Point me in the right direction.
Plan meals more often.
Until I started working for Bittman full time this year, I was more or less a restaurant critic or writing about restaurants since 2010 -- which meant I was going out to restaurants more than half the week. No longer -- but I’m super out of practice in planning weekday (and for that matter, weekend) meals. I am that person who buys ingredients a couple of hours before I cook them. I definitely need help with this, start to finish.
I’m going last, so of course I have to either be weird or pile on.
I don’t care what you call it - ⅔ vegan, part-time vegan, vb6, whatever. If you stick to some self-made rules about eating mostly unprocessed plants foods, you eat better. Everything works. So: Stick to the Plan.
In a way, this is just as important to me as “local.” I eat a ton of root vegetables in the winter, and mostly they come from Glynwood. But I’ve also taken, in the last couple of years, to trying to source good citrus from California. I’ll write about it at some point but the short version is, it’s expensive but it works.
Make that whole grain bread even better.
This is easy, because I’m obsessed. Kerri and I talk about it every single day.
Meet other cooks.
I used to cook with other people all the time - not just chefs, but home cooks. It doesn’t happen as much now: Laziness. But I’ve always said that you learn from cooking with other people, even if they don’t seem to have much to teach you. The process is valuable.
Garden. For real.
Last summer, I putzed around. This summer, I want to grow mind-blowing vegetables.