Monday, January 17, 2011

New Year's Resolutions and Other Hooey

I never make resolutions anymore. This is mainly because I know I will never keep them. And also because it's somewhat arbitrary to decide to do something just because everyone else is doing it. However, this year seems like more of a fresh start than most. In 2010, I lost my mother and then a month later a very dear coworker died suddenly. Then Chris lost his job and then I learned that the libraries were reorganizing and my job would change somehow. I'd have to go through a round of interviews to find out. Lo and behold... a promotion, just when Chris found a job...

That he hated.

So we moved. Then he quit. Then he accepted Job 3 of 2010. Then Athena changed schools.

The only thing that could have made the year more stressful is if we'd had a baby or gotten a divorce. Fortunately, we did neither. My head might have exploded.

So, in walks 2011 and I says to the Year, I says... "Year, you better not suck even 1/4 as much as last Year did. And really, that still gives you plenty of suckage allowance. And Year, can we do something about making me feel less like a blobby waste of protoplasm and more like the Wonder Woman I felt like two years ago? Maybe?"

And the Year said, "Well, you COULD make that same diet resolution that everyone else makes. That's always good for a laugh."

And I said, "As much as I'd like my failures to amuse you, Year, I know better than to do that. Any other thoughts?"

And we thought, and we thought, and then we thought some more. And then I looked over and saw this book. I had no idea who this celebrity chef was, but I was intrigued by her formula. Three meals each week, designed to flow with the seasons somewhat, that are easy to make and actually can build off one another so that you can use leftovers almost immediately in a different dish. Seemed very similar to my experience with Dream Dinners, which is now, sadly, quite out of business in my area of the world.

I bought this book last year because it held promise of a way to get me in the kitchen more and in a more organized fashion. It also would, by default, be healthier because it would provide me some variety without being too complicated. She leans heavily toward Mexican and Asian cuisine, which are two areas I've done VERY little cooking in. But now as Year and I looked over at it, I realized my resolution could be way easier and more concrete than "Diet and Exercise." Now my resolution could be simply, "Cook everything in this book, in order, whether you think you'll like it or not and see what happens."

So that's the deal Year and I made with one another. So far, so good. I've done two weeks of her recipes and all have gotten better than a C grade from the spouse and myself. We don't ask the kids. Although Athena has been pretty pleased so far. Marcus may actually starve to death. We're watching.

I'm using ingredients I've never even held in my hand before (habanero peppers and hot sauce to name a couple -- and not in the same recipe, thank goodness) and I've made dishes I normally wouldn't want to eat even if I'd been served it at someone else's house (zuppa di pesce -- I don't like tomato-based soups in general). I am finding that my taste buds are more adventurous than I gave them credit for and I've probably eaten more vegetables in the last two weeks than I did in the entire Year of 2010. Take THAT, evil Year.

I did make two other resolutions. Read 30 books (three more than last year) and write more. One book down, one blog post down. Boo yah!