Happy New Year!
Happy 2016! Like most, I am revelling in the fresh start of a new year, dutifully preparing what most call “resolutions”. Only this year I’m taking some of the pressure off, and trading in the "R" word for the more forgiving“food goals”. It just feels less threatening. Ironically though, the first item on my list is almost guaranteed failure. I say “almost” because I am nothing if not hopeful. I want to become friends with Martine Saunier from the documentary, A Year in Burgundy. She is basically a French, oenophile Julie Andrews, and I want to be her. You will too - watch the movie.
But for food goals that are actually attainable…
Salumi This is the year that I’m diving into the world of cured meats. After reading the first couple of chapters in Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn, I have realized that I am already in over my head, but a goal’s a goal. Who feels up for letting me build a humidity controlled drying space in their garage?
Cheese & Olives I figure if I’m going to go through the trouble of curing meats, I might as well go for the full charcuterie board and make cheese and olives. With that, I am going to take my love affair with burrata to the next step and attend a cheese-making class at The Cheese School. And then, using a tried and true recipe from a friend, I’ll have a go at the olives. Since neither cheese nor olives are laced with the potential for foodborne illnesses like curing meats, I’ll probably start here.
The Vegetable Butcher Stepping out of the kitchen classroom, 2016 is going to be a big year for cookbooks. My sister-in-law, Cara Mangini has her first cookbook, The Vegetable Butcher, coming out in March. To atone for my whole-hog curing savagery, my next goal is to use her produce-inspired book to find at least five new vegetables that I have never cooked with, and have a go. You can join me in this goal by pre-ordering your own copy of her book here. And if you think that was shameless family promotion, just wait until we get closer to March.
Food Policy My last food goal is a little bit tricky, because I haven’t quite figured it out myself. There is a web of food initiatives - all equally valiant and important - that I’m trying to sort out. From conversations about food waste to Michael Pollan’s food systems deep-dive documentary, In Defense of Food, it seems that the answers on how to feed our growing population fed without damaging the earth are both frustratingly simple and challenging. My goal is to educate myself, figure out my stance on the myriad of issues, and get involved in a meaningful way.
So that’s my plan for 2016. I’m sure it will evolve with the year, but this where I’m starting. I hope you’ll join me and create your own list of Food Goals, too. Afterall, resolutions are highly overrated.