Good Food in January

There’s something I find particularly comforting in eating food that is in season and following the natural rhythms and cycles to the year. That said, I live in New England, so I make exceptions for some things I can find in-season elsewhere.

I’m not a moral purist about this stuff: mostly I like the idea of seasonality helping me with decision fatigue!

I’ve been meaning to pick back up the habit of my monthly food list: a list of seasonal foods to eat, favorite recipes to cook (again and again), and new things to try! Given that I’m on a kick this week, and January is always a great place to start, here’s the first iteration!

I also gravitate towards cookbooks that capture the year: Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries (and his many repeat volumes) are some of my personal favorites.

Things in Season in January

Not all the things, just the things I might want to eat! I use cheat sheets from my Farmer’s to You order site, the Red’s Best fresh options, Foodwise (yes, it’s Calfornia!) and a few cookbooks (Stephane Reynaud’s 365) to make this list!

Vegetables and fruits: beets, leeks, rutabaga, parsnips, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, belgian endive, kale, kohlrabi, radicchio, variety greens, mushrooms, sunchokes, all the citrus! (Bag of clementines! Citron! Kumquats! A pomelo! A tangelo! Grapefuit!)

Fish: bass, monkfish, skate, oysters, mussels, cod, whitefish

Butcher: duck, oxtail, pork chops, ham, sausages from the freezer, steak

Cheese: fondue, comté petit reserve, roquefort

Special Things: caviar, foie gras, chopped liver, beet hummus

Things I’d like to eat:

Tis the season for soups and stews for me.

Marcus Samuelsson  Black Eyed Pea Curry (yearly tradition – done!)

Rice Bowls with Fish!

Nigella Lawson’s Chicken in a Pot with Lemon Orzo

Schnitzel with Farfalle and Cabbage (a fave of my mom’s)

Ropa Vieja with Yellow rice, Platanos maduros

Kapuska (cabbage soup; or Sherman’s Sweet and Sour Cabbage Soup)

Duck Legs and Potatoes

Slow Salmon with Citrus and Herb Salad (Alison Roman)

Annie’s with Crab, Tomato Paste, and Sherry

Nabeyaki Udon (a fave of my dad’s)

Steak Au Poivre, Broccoli with Blue Cheese and Balsamic

Fondue and Potatoes and Cornichons

Fennel salad and Pork Chops

Split Pea Soup with Ham

La Jota (Beans and Sauerkraut soup) Marcella Hazan, Essentials of Italian Cooking – ***project soup

French Onion Soup

Kabak tatlısı (stewed pumpkin dessert)

Candied citrus peels

Restaurants to Eat From:

  • Grandma’s Kitchen (Chicken Noodle Soup)
  • Shan a Punjab Butter Chicken
  • Yogurt Parfait from Sofra
  • Wegmans California Rolls
  • Kava Neo-Taverna (with Kathy!)

What are some of your favorite winter dishes?

The Second Lunch Kitchen Resolutions 2024

julia child in her kitchen

🔪 Kitchen Resolutions 2024

Every year I sit down and make some resolutions for the kitchen. Given that food is one of my favorite sources of joy, novelty, and connection, it’s a favorite practice of mine to spend a little bit of time making this space more useful, and my time spent in the kitchen more meaningful. Having people around my table (even figuratively) is how I show love, and bring people together – and although we can’t do much of that these days, I’m thankful to be able to take the time to feed myself well.

I’ve been writing these resolutions for more than a decade, and some of them pop up year after year – affirm doing good things that work – and a handful are new each year. You can take a peek through previous years here:  (2012) (2016) (2017)  (2018) (2019) (2020) (2022) (2023)

I try not to re-invent the wheel, so the categories are the same with some year in review updates!

Re-Commit to Consistent Kitchen Habits:

Particularly the habits that keep me consistent in other areas of my life. I find that most things in my life depend on me eating well.

  • Weekly Meal Planning: one of my home court habits in my “Let’s Eat” spreadsheet. I also make a weekly Evernote note with my shopping list on there as well. One thing that has made this easier in 2023 is that I now publish my meal plan each week in my newsletter! I plan on continuing this!
  • Update my “Anytime Shopping List” ie: regular groceries list (favorites, protein, don’t leave the store without this!)
  • Update my “New Recipes To Try” list (with at least 52 stellar recipes for the year and beyond); and a weekly Turkish recipe.

AND: Dishes cleaned before bed, coffee maker set. Coffee cup next to the coffee maker, ready to take on the day.

Remove Clutter:

While some people find a perfectly spotless and minimalist kitchen ideal; I actually need to be able to see appliances or pantry items in order to be inspired to use them.

  • Do a systems audit for blockages
  • Make what I want to use more obvious
  • Schedule a quarterly KITCHEN PURGE
  • Remove the storage pans from the oven so you can use it more easily this year

In 2023, I gave myself the gift of an organizer who came once a quarter. We worked on some big projects each time, and cleared out the vast majority of all tupperware from my kitchen. Life changing.

Quest for Best:

This is one of my personal values – I get a lot of satisfaction out of keeping track of the “best of”, like your own neighborhood consumer reports.

  • Do a pantry audit, and re-stock pantry with “best of” items, update my spreadsheet (did in 2023, do again in 2024)
  • Seek novelty: Bean of the Month Club, Spice Club, new item at Trader Joe’s or one new item at Formaggio each trip! (NEW: Noma R+D club shipments (re-upped for 2024 – the Dashi RDX and Corn Yuzu hot sauce were fab!)

AND: Update my 1000 new fruits/veg to try list! (By *season* if possible)

Assorted Culinary Miscellany

• Get your knives sharpened. Just do it! (China Fair does it for a dollar)
• Review storage containers for more sustainable options (updated with Anyday)
• Re-Read a classic cookbook every month
• Read more food writing (and memoirs) – added to reading list!

AND: Write a new travel (and local!) bucket list of restaurants. (Currently in my Ideas Doc)

Make Memories in the Kitchen

  • Update Friends + Family Favorite List so I can cook in honor of my people and think about them (or cook for them!) If I haven’t solicited some from you, drop your favorites in the comments for me!
  • Monthly: Update Seasonal Favorite Cooking List (in my Ideas Doc)
  • Monthly: Update my list of “Big Cooking Projects” (in my Ideas Doc)
  • Zoom Cooking classes with friends! (In 2021, I had a great time taking a truffle making course, and a Lamb Biryani from Pondicheri – looking forward to choosing a few great options to take with friends and family!)
  • Pick two signature cooking gifts (something to perfect and send to people)
  • “The Weekly Bean” – I have a subscription to the Rancho Gordo Bean Club that leaves me with a very large stash of beans to eat. I aim for a bag a week. I was very inspired by a picture in the Rancho Gordo Bean Club facebook group of a woman who had a nice running list in a bullet journal of her weekly beans. 

Restaurants in Boston I’d Like to Visit

Yes it’s not *technically in my kitchen* (also generally working my way through Eater 38) – this actually got a kickstart in 2023 with a monthly dinner with my friend Kathy! We went to Pammy’s (stand out!), O Ya (truly delightful), Fox & The Knife, and Bar Vlaha.

Still want to try: Oleana •  Kava Neo-Taverna  • Contessa •  Menton

New Cookbooks in 2024:

My bare minimum of reading/rereading starting point – I read a lot more cookbooks generally, but my specific resolution is to add recipes I want to try to my running doc! I also want to read a range for my creative input.

  • January: Jeremy Lee – Cooking Simply and Well, For One or Many

Do you have any kitchen resolutions this year? I’d love to hear about them!

PS: ICYMI: my non-exhaustive list of food I ate in 2021 and food I ate in 2022!

xo, Sam

Weekly Good Things – Week 52 2023

Cross-Posted to my Substack, my new weekly Newsletter. (Sign up for goodness in your inbox directly!)

Hello! Hello! Welcome to another weekly episode of Good Things where I give you a peek into my everyday life during the week, and roundup my good links, ideas, books, and more.

We made it to the last day of the year! I’m spending the day doing some planning, tidying, reading (including re-reading my own Winter Good Things Guide I published at the beginning of the year) and blog posts from years past. I always love the last week of the year for the “in-between energy”.

January Intentions

Each month I sit down and write out a list of intentions for the month ahead. It’s not exactly a to-do list, more like an “options” list. Place-holders also help me make space for more exciting adventures! How do I want to feel this month? Like I eased into January with purpose and renewed energy.

Out and About

Photography Walk with my nice camera – documenting New England winter wildlife • Movie Theater on $7 Tuesday • Dog Walks with friends • Movie Night at Home with Popcorn • Winter at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with Amanda (Jan 10th) • Monthly Boston dinner with my friend Kathy • Monthly family dinner out with my mom and brother

Good Eats

Food in January List (work in progress!) • Rancho Gordo Popcorn for movie nights • Candied Citrus • Annie’s with crab, tomato paste, sherry • Kapuska (Turkish cabbage and meat stew) • Lamb Biryani

Self Care

Self-Care List • Massage • Eye Masks in the fridge in the morning • Stick on Nails until you can get a manicure again • Float Spa (want to test Float and The Indoor Oasis) • Sauna at Kelo


The Needham New Year’s 5k • Lift (Weekly Lifting 3x at home with lifting schedule printed out, 1 at gym) • CRAW • Yoga (weekly Ompractice, daily 30 days) • Pilates (Reformer – SolidCore at Arsenal)

Update Lists

Inputs List (Podcasts, Reading, Watching) • Recipes to Cook • Cooking Projects 2024 • Bean of the Month • Hobonichi Prep for 2024 • Placeholders for “Once in a Lifetime monthly activities” • Favorites 2023 (see inspiration)


Write (Daily Ship30) • 2024 Calendar • Sketch in Sketchbook • 2024 Kitchen Resolutions


Tidy up outdoor plants for winter • List 5 things to giveaway on Buy Nothing • Haircut • Updated addresses for New Year Cards • Valvoline • RMV • Labcorp • Order lid screws for toilet • Get knives sharpened


📺 Watch: The Banshees of Inisherin  The Taste of Things • Killers of the Flower Moon • Past Lives • Poor Things (theater) • Michael Clayton • The Northman • The Holdovers  Past Lives • The Killing of a Sacred Deer (before Jan 22) • The Iron Claw (theater) • ‘Menus-Plaisirs — Les Troisgros’ (theater) • Fargo (TV) • Reacher (TV) • The Bear (TV) • New Season of Queer Eye (TV) • Jury Duty (TV) • Beef (TV)

📆 Accountability Workshop on 1/6/24

  • Something I’ve been toying with for the past few months has been how to help other people move things forward. I’m of the belief that community is one of the best forms of accountability. For years I hosted a weekly *Do The Thing Hour, which is currently on hiatus, but love the idea of co-working towards getting things done together! I’ll be trying out something new in January, a “One Month, One Goal” workshop. We’ll come together to identify a *singular* goal you’d like to tackle in 30 days, and work together to make daily or weekly actions on your goal both measurable and more easily implementable. We’ll then have a shared goal tracker (via a fancy Google Slide Deck) Sign up here for the live class, or the recording if you can’t make it! January 6th on Zoom + 30 days of fun! $42.

This Week in Good Things:

  • 🍏 A quick trip to New York City: my friend Rebeqa was visiting from Luxembourg! Highlights included an excellent Korean lunch at Han Bat (seafood pancake was the best! kalbi, kimchi fried rice, tofu stew), hot chocolate at Burdicks, dinner at Mercado Little Spain (pan con tomate, tripe stew, lentil soup, salad with avocado and goat cheese, another salad with egg and tuna, flan, and my favorite basque goat cheese cheesecake). A breakfast sandwich at Sip + Co (bacon, egg, cheese, on a bap). A points upgrade to the Kimpton Eventi (lovely!) Punctuated by wandering through Bergdorfs, Muji, and spending a lovely afternoon in the Housing Works Bookstore doing our end of year review and planning.
  • 🇹🇷 House Dinner with Turkish Food – my neighbor Elif cooked up a veritable feast for us all: köfte and vegetables, mercimek köfte, sarma, börek, carrot salad, potato salad (with yogurt and cornichons!), hummus, fried peppers, baklava. I have the true luck having neighbors I truly adore!
  • 🐾 Pup Walks with Friends: a walk with Sawyer (the Corgi) and her humans.

Good Things to Think About

What’s your backup? This year I’m working on backup lists – ideas for when to downshift because of lower energy, or when I need to intentionally reduce chaos or spend more time resting. I’ve been also thinking of Minimum Viable Consistency: “What’s your chicken fingers in the freezer version of your newsletter? (or whatever you’ve committed to)”

The “Hand-Copying Method”: I’m intrigued by the practice of copying writers by hand (as popularized by Gary Halbert) as a way to practice better writing and learning new skills. I’ve been trying to think of who I’d like to practice this with. Nigella Lawson?

Other Good Things

  • ☕️ Morning coffee with Crescent Ridge Eggnog by the “fireplace” with a good book. I drink my coffee black all other parts of the year.
  • 🔥 Watch (but not with family): Saltburn. (Murder on the Dance Floor is now stuck in my head and may never leave.)
  • 🔎 Use the Difficulty Michael Caine – a very short clip (90 seconds)
  • 🚀 Learn something new: Aprilynne Alter’s viral video on Youtube Thumbnails (and psychology) even if you have no desire to make a youtube channel, this is fascinating.
  • 🪡 Capturing the year: an embroidery journal (I love the idea of capturing the year in art, journaling, or other mediums.)
  • 🍽 To bookmark: The Trader Joe’s subreddit (where I find out about new in-stock items)
  • 🤣 Memes and randomness of the week: mortadella shortbread (I’m sorry) // the last week of 2023 // people are so good sometimes (New Seasons Parking Lot Girl) // if you are a Wellesley, please enjoy wabancam

The Weekly Meal Plan:

I’ve been working on a little project around what I’d like to eat in the New Year. Today I found myself thumbing through two of my favorite authors – Nigel Slater and Nigella Lawson, who seem to have captured what I want to eat at any time.

Lunches: Leftovers, palak paneer, tofu on greens

Snacks: Ricotta, soft boiled eggs, cottage cheese, cheese sticks, tofu, chicken broth.

Treat options: Tapioca Pudding. TJ’s Pretzel Breadpudding. Chocolate mousse. TJ’s Iced Gingerbread in the freezer. Peppermint Hold the Cones. Walker’s Shortbread. Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding. TJ’s Apple Tartin Tartelettes. (You’ll notice that this list keeps growing – I have a bad? habit of getting fancy desserts from Trader Joe’s from my freezer and taking forever to eat them.

🥑 Good Eats from this past week: I include a weekly meal plan in each week’s Good Things, and things never *actually* go as planned! Some of the standout additions include: Korean seafood pancake, Trader Joe’s tarte tatin with ricotta, basque goat cheese cheesecake.

That’s all for now! Hope you have a great week!

xo, Sam

What are you looking forward to in January?

Previous Years: