Wow, it seems like every blog post I read about New Year resolutions is prefaced them with a disclaimer that resolutions are doomed for failure and therefore not worth making. This statement is then unnaturally followed by a handful of achievable goals. A friend got it just right putting out some promises to himself that he will keep, and I intend to do something similar here. Some of my goals are rather vague, and others are things I want to try, or even things I'm currently trying and want to place more importance on them. Getting that head start is also giving me a little preview of possible failure to come. Ugh. So, what will I try to do in my food life in 2010?
1. Give it a second chance: As I continue to try new recipes, I want to revisit some of the flops or near-flops a second time and try to improve them. This winter, I'd like to try another shepherd's pie, as my last one was heavy with grains. I love mashed potatoes, so I just need something better to go beneath them. Also up for improvement: Senegalese Tofu, which I made before I knew how to cook tofu to my satisfaction, and sushi.
Of course, I also need to recognize when to drop things that just aren't working...
2. Eating fewer processed foods: This is something I've been wanting to do for a while, especially since my freezer is stocked with frozen pizzas and Morningstar products. I've tried three times to make my own seitan and it never came out quite right. This last time was such a flop that we threw it away after cooking it, so I won't be telling you about it as promised. Alex said I can try a couple more times and then he prefers sticking to the store-bought stuff. I figure making my own sauces and marinades is a good step, though, and will certainly reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup sneaking in as well as help me learn about spices and flavors, not just bottle labels.
3. Generally eating healthier: For me, this would mean eating less cheese, fewer fried foods, and not so much beer. Mmm... three of my favorite things. Eating less cheese will certainly be a challenge, but it's been on my mind for a while to start taking this more seriously since I've seen first-hand cows piled on top of each other in dairy farms.
I started this goal by making "Macaroni and No Cheese" a few nights ago. I'll tell you about it soon. Plus, I've already been doing better eating more fresh veggies, and I want to continue to do so and buy more organic and local. Another good trend to continue is eating out less, so that I have more control over what I put in my body. This goes hand-in-hand with eating fewer processed foods; I've already tried to make the switch from Coffemate to Silk creamer, which (I noticed after I purchased it) proclaims its superiority over Coffeemate right on the carton.
4. Try new recipes and new ingredients: In the past month, I have tried quinoa and millet; I've also recently started cooking with kale and sweet potatoes. I have found new cookbooks and blogs to get trusted recipes, and I think this kind of measured experimentation is the best way to make cooking at home interesting. I've been doing a pretty good job with this sine July, but I intend to keep it up actively and indefinitely.
5. Be more careful in the kitchen: Since I've started cooking more, I've cut myself, burned myself, grated my finger, and broken numerous dishes. I don't think I'm a klutz, but all evidence points to the contrary. (Okay, this was just thrown in to make a fifth resolution, but it's probably a good idea nonetheless.)