As I got older, I gradually moved away from New Year’s resolutions – or at least those of over-variety and unwieldy. In the past, I’ve certainly committed the crime of recording items like “Eat healthier! “or” Improve my cooking! “but without clear metrics on how to quantify, momentum can certainly wane.
This year, however, I kept things simple. I really want to continue to improve my cooking at home and narrow down a few specific, measurable ways that I can do it. I’m sharing these goals, not some set of “Three Ways to Make This Year Your Greatest Year in the Kitchen!” but with the hope that if, like me, you want to treat yourself a little differently in the new year, you have a blueprint to start.
Of course, “different” means different things to different people. Maybe you want to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, or you want to connect with your culture or homeland in a new way through your food. Maybe you want to build a convenient weeknight meal rotation so you don’t have to guess what to cook for your family, or you want the confidence to make or bake some special dishes for your family. special occasions.
Really try to narrow down on what sounds most interesting or satisfying to you and tailor these micro-goals to meet that.
1. Read (and hopefully use!) a new cookbook or two
Cookbooks are truly your gateway to changing the way you do things in your home kitchen. They can open your eyes to new ingredients and techniques, as well as change the types of flavors you mix together. Find a cookbook or two that pique your interest and commit to cooking at least a few recipes from there. If you need some suggestions, check out our editorial team’s picks for best cookbooks and cocktail books of the year 2021.
2. Pick a few favorite restaurants to complete at home
I used to go out with some friends, some of them chefs. One of the team members, Dave, lamented that he didn’t know where to start when learning to cook. One of the chefs asked Dave what he liked to order when he was out. “Some pasta and a strong Old Fashioned,” replied Dave.
“Well,” said the chef softly. “Why don’t you start there?”
I’ve always liked this advice because it’s a really simple way to really have a taste that you’ll enjoy. Next time you feel uninspired (or maybe especially adventurous), jot down a few restaurant dishes you’d like to recreate at home. For what it’s worth, mine are good verdes enchiladas, saag paneer and naan, and a classic air mail cocktail. I’m also really excited to bring Chicken Zuni . Salad into my spin, inspired by the Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams.
3. Committed to perfecting basic cooking skills
A few years ago, a professional acquaintance was scouting talent for a new cooking series and emailed me to see if I’d like to submit an audition tape. I replied almost immediately: “Dude, I’d love to, but my knife ‘skills’ are terrible and I really don’t want to chop off my fingers in front of the American public.”
I am not a professionally trained chef. Much of what I’ve learned is thanks to family and friends, lots of dedicated research at home, and even more trial and error. My knife skills have always lagged behind and this is the year that changes. I got some new sharp knives for Christmas and found some solid tutorials online to get started. The whole thing is very reminiscent of the scene in “Julie & Julia” when Julia Child, played by Meryl Streep, is tasked with chopping up baskets and baskets of onions while she’s in a cooking school.
Maybe your knife skills are already pretty sharp (pun!), but there’s something else you want to do (sorry) when you master it, like crafting the perfect or real hollandaise the making of a knife starter sourdough. Try it this year.
This list originally appeared in The Bite’s weekly culinary newsletter, Salon Food. Be sure to sign up to receive special essays, recipes, and cooking tips.
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More stories about cooking:
https://www.salon.com/2022/01/08/3-new-years-resolutions-that-will-actually-help-you-in-the-kitchen-this-year/ 3 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Really Get You Into The Kitchen This Year