Every year, I make at least a couple of New Year’s resolutions. I always try to keep them fun, though (one annual resolution is to “take a big trip to somewhere I’ve never been before!” which actually didn’t happen in 2010). And there’s always at least one food-related one. Like pretty much every resolution out there, these get broken, too (the “try a new restaurant every week” one didn’t last very long). But no matter—it’s always nice to start off the year with good intentions, right? Here are my food-related goals for 2011: some general, some specific; some feasible, some not so much.
1. Do more baking. When I was younger, I used to bake somewhat regularly—banana bread, cookies, cupcakes, and the like. For some reason in the past few years, I’ve practically stopped baking altogether (I think because I was focusing more on cooking; also, my sweet tooth has diminished as I’ve gotten older). I was inspired this holiday to bake a couple things (see photo above of my Chewy Spice Cookies and Raspberry-Walnut Crumble Bars, take two), and I discovered that I missed it. I really do love baking—the delicious aromas, the anticipation as you wait for something slowly taking shape in the oven, the moment when you grab the pan out of the oven and see the final product: the transformation of raw, unformed dough into something warm, comforting, and yummy. And I love that I can easily share baked goods with others—mostly because that means I can avoid gaining a lot of extra pounds, and also because it makes people like me. At least temporarily. So, more baking in 2011!
2. Do more entertaining at home. This is a pretty constant goal for me; I love to have people over for drinks and snacks, small dinners, and big open house brunches (with endless Bloody Marys, of course). Unfortunately it happens way too infrequently. I have so many ideas for themed gatherings—chili night, casserole night, a mac and cheese potluck—and I need to actually make them happen.
3. Eat at The French Laundry. People are always surprised that, as a food editor, I’ve never been to the Napa/Sonoma area (shame!). So my tentative plan is to figure out a general time when I want to go, then call the restaurant (multiple times, if necessary) and secure a reservation whenever I can. Then I’ll just plan a whole eating/drinking/visiting friends in San Francisco trip around it. (I did, however, cross another restaurant off my bucket list in 2010—I finally ate at Le Bernardin. I was not disappointed. And I even had an Eric Ripert sighting.)
4. Use my slow cooker. A lot. I finally acquired a slow cooker—back in, let’s see, June?—but embarrassingly, it’s still sitting in a box in my bedroom. True, my kitchen is tiny and I don’t really have room for it, but I’ll just have to find the space somewhere. Slow cooking must happen this winter!
5. Cook a different Real Simple recipe every week. In theory, this shouldn’t be so hard—but when I think about how often I cook at home, and then how often I cook using actual recipes—well, this might be a pretty big challenge. But there are so many quick, easy, and delicious recipes on our site that I’ve been meaning to make, it’s time to start cooking!
I think that’s it for now. It’s a fun list, and I’m excited to start tackling it. What about you? Do you have any food-related New Year’s resolutions?