The Second Lunch Kitchen Resolutions 2022

julia child in her kitchen

🔪 Kitchen Resolutions 2022

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)

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
• Update my regular groceries list (favorites, protein, don’t leave the store without this!)
• Update my “New Recipes To Try” list (

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

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

• Seek novelty: Bean of the Month Club, Spice Club, new item at Trader Joe’s or one new item at Formaggio each trip!

AND: Update my 1000 new fruits/veg to try list

Assorted Culinary Miscellany

• Get your knives sharpened. Just do it!
• Review storage containers for more sustainable options
• Re-Read a classic cookbook every month
• Read more food writing (and memoirs)

AND: Update my bucket list restaurants for when that’s a thing again.

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!

• Update Seasonal Favorite Cooking List

• Update my list of “Big Cooking Projects”

• 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!

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

xo, Sam

2021 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive List

2021 Eating: A Non-Exhaustive List

Every year, I complete a fussy year long review that takes me a few weeks of compiling – a pages long list organized by category, which I find particularly cathartic, even – or particularly – in difficult times (and this year was full of truly great things, but also particularly shitty for me, losing my dad, one of my number one eating partners in crime.) I write about my full process here.

For some folks, a review of a year that is complicated or traumatic (hello, most of us in a pandemic) isn’t particularly appealing, but I find it to be one of my most satisfying activities. In part, because a full 50% of it is my re-living of my meals – the things may be going down in flames, but “at least, I ate!” approach. And ate, I did.

Here is my non-exhaustive list. Honestly, there was more than this, but I may have forgotten to snap a photo, or it really wasn’t worth eating. These are loosely organized, but the whole thing is a little chaotic. I can’t say that all of these things were great, but I’ll bold some of the things that I’d recommend.

Good Cooking

Items I cooked at home, either from recipes (I’ll link those I have) or ideas. Also, items cooked by friends.

Food from particular places, or quick items by theme

  • Other good food:
    • The Zahav Shortrib extravaganza in February from Goldbelly in NH with fam
    • Matzoh Ball soup with a massive matzah ball (Zahav)
    • Stone and Skillet English Muffins
      • As: egg sandwich; or with chicken liver pate, or with salmon caviar
    • Favorites From the Farm Share (Farmers to You – a consortium of small farms and food companies in Vermont who deliver to the Boston area – let me know if you want a referral discount!):
    • Favorites from Star Market (over the Mass Pike!): dark chocolate cake (three layers), Cape Cod Cafe Pizza (hands down the best frozen pizza!!), Bubbe’s passionfruit mochi, Stouffers stuffed peppers (don’t knock it), CRISPY LETTUCE
    • Wegmans: California Rolls (why are they so good?), bacon cheddar sliders on arugula salad, pumpernickel rye bread (with caviar!) or chopped liver!
    • Desserts of note: Roasted chestnuts with rum from Silvia downstairs – topped with rum, oatmeal chocolate chip cookie from Great Harvest; apple fritter from Love Bird, cinnamon roll from Formaggio; citrus from formaggio, sticky toffee pudding – sticky toffee pudding, co., and the warm chocolate pudding; sutlaç; macerated strawberries with oats and ricotta and brown sugar; meyer lemon and marrionberry ice cream from Red Rover Creamery
    • Favorites from Formaggio: robiola incavolata, old favorite Cabot Clothbound, Big Sky Grana (dear lord!), the Passionfruit curd, beet tzaziki, Fly by Jing Sichuan Chili Crisp, an overpriced emergency bottle of Kewpie
    • Favorites from Eataly: saffron and black pepper cheese ‘guffanti piacentinu di ena’, a perfect promotional melon – “buy prosciutto, get a promotional melon” (August 24th)
    • Smoothies and protein shakes of note
      • Blueberries and chocolate and spinach
      • Key lime: vanilla protein powder, cauliflower, pineapple, lime juice, coconut milk**
    • Whole foods: popcorn chili shrimp bowls; thai peanut tofu, elevation cake slice; pesto, cinnamon coffee cake, chicken scallopine (good!)
    • Trader Joe’s Items of Note: Hardwood Smoked Tuna, Kung Pao Chicken, Peppermint Hold the Cones; Mochi Cake; honey aleppo sauce; grainless granola; kibbeh; green goddess dip; kung pao mochi; plantain croutons; just chicken (ate a lot, sometimes convenience wins over quality); chicken drumellas, Calabrian tomato soup; spicy lentil wrap; Cacio Pepe pasta – with lobster! (or brussels sprouts!)  Bambino Pizza (thanks, Danielle!); frozen salmon including bbq plank, cauliflower gnocchi; bazaar mix; Saag Paneer; shrimp burger; meatloaf; crispy champignon mushroom snack; chicken piccata, frozen Mexican corn; fermented bomba (on Josephs’ lavash with cheese and egg), peanut udon noodles; french fries; Portuguese egg tarts; seafood cioppino; chicken sausage egg burrito things; Matcha Green Tea Japanese Noodles; southern peach crisp ice cream; cooked octopus; strawberry-oat ice cream bars; tangerine cream bars; fish sticks; ube mochi pancake mix; corn and cheese arepas; chickpea masala with pickled vegetables; cheese crisps; SPINDRIFT, bbq chicken, thai chicken kabobs, organic vanilla bean paste, breakfast egg frittatas, korean cinnamon filled pancakes (Hotteok), Gingerbread Coffee, Shade Grown Espresso Blend
    • Cottage cheese with various things
      • blueberries; oats, maple
      • passionfruit curd from Formaggio
      • olive oil, salt and pepper
      • on an OMG english muffin
      • peaches and cinnamon sugar
    • The Air Fryer! (Ninja 4 Qt. Would Recommend!)
      • Air fryer fish over “sushi rice” with furikake; tomatoes
      • Cauliflower
      • Red’s Calamari with Cocktail Sauce
      • Cheesy bagels; bagels with butter
      • Meat: Cubed ham; Perfect pork chops; TJ’s shawarma beef
      • lots of chicken strips
      • Chickpeas
      • An entire roasted chicken
    • Scottie dog shortbread
    • Rancho Gordo Bean Share: BEPS, Coronas (twice), pintos with honey, Popcorn, yellow eye beans, black lentils with onion (and red wine vinegar) – need to really start eating down the stash.
    • Hot cocoa with mini marshmallows
    • From John, specifically: Aldi goat mac and cheese, Elephantine Easter Lemon Curd tartlet, LEVAIN COOKIES (coming to Boston and I’m IN TROUBLE), Indian Pudding Ice Cream from Lagos, Poppyseed cake, from Zabars, lots of good things from Elephantine, Eggs and Maple from White Gate Farm
    • Tahini Faux-reo from Sofra
    • Turkish greek beans
    • The Starbucks Oatmilk Brown Sugar Latte (2) – I normally drink only black coffee?
    • Star Market Sushi (…not good, but I ate more of it than I’d admit)
    • Costco Bibigo dumplings
    • Overnight oats, particularly: Peach Overnight Oats; Cookie Dough
    • Skate Picatta
    • Hoisin Chicken and Asparagus
    • April 22nd stew of some kind with potato (no idea!)
    • Marinated lamb with cauliflower and tomato salad
    • Ikea Fish Balls (so easy!)
    • Frozen Passionfruit at Whole Foods
    • Baked beans and bbq jackfruit with cheddar
    • May 7 in Rye Beach: Roasted Chicken and Manti
    • Rasbpberry/Lemon Pucker Upper Sorbet and Limeade slushie
    • A waffle FISH with matcha and red bean ice cream at Seaport at Taiyaki
    • Momofuku Noodles and Chili Crisp
    • Hello Fresh Southwest Pork Tacos, cabbage slaw, sour cream

Mostly Local Takeout

  • Good Takeout
    • NYE Sushi dinner from Super Fusion 2 (With Tamago!)
    • Sakanaya Bowl
    • Shake Shack Korean chicken sandwich
    • LeDu Pad Kee Mao and Green Papaya Salad; crab rangoon***
    • Shan a Punjab Butter Chicken with Masala Chai; kheer and bubs licking the container (5 times)
    • Sandwich shared with my sibling from Monicas
    • Lunar New Year: date  Nian Gao + 8 Treasure Rice, sweet sesame balls (Feb 12), lo mein, and an orange (sent in cold hands for my walk home)
    • Lazuri Cafe – Iskender Kebab and Sutlaç
    • Cottage Lobster Sandwich and Burger
    • Shake Shack (more Shake Shack)
    • Chicken and Rice Guys (that garlic sauce!)
    • Vietnamese Bun (from pho-1 Brighton) – it’s no Pho So 1 Boston!
    • May 28th: Thistle and Leek
    • June 4 – Taqueria Mexico
    • June 6 – first Lobster roll of season at Beach Plum (10 oz.)
    • June 17 – Carriage House with Mom
    • June 19 – Eataly with Lizzy, Sofra, Legal Seafood, Rye Beach Lobster Rolls, Pho So 1 Boston
    • Lakon Paris – Thai Tea and AMAZING chocolate chip hockey puck thick cookie
    • McDonalds Pineapple Mango Shake (post-workouts)
    • A very good Chile Verde burrito from Los Amigos
    • August 21 end of season lobster roll in NH
    • Hugo’s Restaurant Week (Houston), with Julia, Hector, and Caro
    • Kolache Shoppe breakfast kolache
    • Sushico ($50.. for a tiny chirashi bowl; but decent. Would be WAY better in house)
    • Mr. Kim’s – meat and kimchi on rice with a fried egg, and papaya salad, and noodles, cheesecake with blueberries and lemon meringue (and a noodle kugel from mom)
    • October 24th. [Celebrate Dad’s Life] Barnacle Billy’s Steamers and Chowder
    • Dragon Star: HUGE AMOUNTS OF FOOD after the private funeral – pupu platter, etc.
    • Wild Willy’s Burgers
    • Cafe Sushi and Boba Milk Tea from next door
    • Zheng Garden Beef Noodle Soup
    • The chicken sandwich in Springfield from Granny’s Baking Table with pimento and jam
    • Clover Lunch (x4) – new around the corner from my house!
    • Tatte (with Caroline): egg sandwich (and she had mushroom shakshuka)
    • Cake from Cake Boss (don’t judge.)
    • Christmas Eve: Lobster Wok – wonton soup (amazing!) crab rangoon, shrimp lo mein
    • Max and Leo’s – Pepperoni Mushroom
    • Cranberry Curd Tart from Elephantine
    • A small bowl of ham bone soup from Somchay
    • Fresh Oysters from Island Creek

Take-out Adjacent:

During the months of September and October, I had the worst two months™️ as my dad was dying of cancer. I needed to feed myself, and wasn’t doing a good job of it. I also didn’t have the energy or desire for most takeout. So I went for a few prepared options, that were truly my saving grace during a hard time. I chose Diane Sanfilippo’s Balanced Bites meals for my freezer – high protein, high quality ingredients. My favorite meals were the spaghetti squash bolognese, egg roll in a bowl, and sloppy joe chili. And for a local delivery option, ordered from WeCo Hospitality, a few times a week.

  • WeCo Hospitality – started at the beginning of October, and so many great meals. Some of the standouts include:
    • Shrimp scampi fettuccine: lemon + garlic marinated shrimp in white wine + butter sauce with blistered cherry tomatoes and torn herbs; hand cut fettuccine, shaved parmesan, roasted broccoli
    • Soba + Dumpling Bowl: edamame + roasted shiitake dumplings, buckwheat soba noodles, miso-marinated eggplant, pickled carrots + ginger and roasted sesame dressing
    • Roasted Eggplant and Farro Bowl (top!): roasted eggplant with black garlic + wood ear mushrooms over poached farro + barley with blistered cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, field greens, feta cheese and meyer lemon vinaigrette
    • Salt Roasted Beet and Burrata Bowl**: salt roasted Applefield beets, watercress, golden quinoa, toasted pistachios, tarragon dressing and creamy burrata
    • NY Strip Steak Au Poivre: peppercorn crusted marinated strip steak, four peppercorn + cognac sauce; paprika roasted yukon potatoes, black truffle parmesan butter, blistered broccoli with smoked garlic honey + pickled shallots
    • Pumpkin Soup
    • Curried Orzo and Braised Chicken Thigh
    • Roasted Carrot Salad
    • Roasted Chicken Ramen: soy marinated roasted chicken breast with hoisin + ginger glaze; shiitake mushroom + spring onion broth, spicy miso paste; spring beans + peas with curry leaves + wilted spinach, fresh wavy noodles, scallions, pickled mushrooms and marinated egg
    • Foragers Bowl: shredded duck confit over barley with roasted mushrooms, rehydrated pickled mushrooms, roasted asparagus, carrots, and pesto
    • Roasted chicken biryani: yogurt + curry marinated chicken breast, basmati rice cooked in shorba with saffron, onion, mustard seed + coriander; sweet potato korma braised in coconut milk with chiles + spices; cucumber + red onion raita with mint + dill, naan
    • Oolong Tea Braised shortribs with charred alliums, sichuan peppercorn honey jus, toasted farro with maitake + oyster mushrooms, dried cherries + tahini brown butter; roasted cauliflower + broccoli with sweet chili garlic crunch, charred kale + arugula salad with torn herbs + candied orange; matcha vinaigrette
    • Baja Shrimp Tacos: citrus poached shrimp with guajillo-agave glaze, fresh mango salsa, pineapple-chipotle mayo, cilantro-lime rice, crunch napa cabbage slaw with shaved veggies + citrus, pickled red onion + lime
    • Desserts of note: Cranberry + Apple Crumble with pecan brown butter crumbs, Weco COOKIES, Carrot Cake, blueberry cheesecake with oat crumble

What’s next?

Here’s to great eats in 2022! I’d love to hear your favorite 1-3 recipes or meals. I’ll add them to my list for next year!

Rituals for Starting Things: Be Your Own Ceremonial Torch

Whether it’s a 30 day challenge, or my next new project: I love crafting a good starting ritual to get myself into the MINDSET for success. Truth: nobody is going to build rituals for you. Why not have fun designing some? Ceremonies! Magic! Ribbon-Cutting with massive scissors. Golden Spikes. Weird pre-pitch jiggles on the mound. “Launched my app on Product Hunt!”

Although I love a good show – a good starting ritual does not have to be complicated.

Here are a few of my go-to’s: ⤵

  1. Clear the decks – digital and physical – before starting I clear up all my clutter on my desktop, and I empty a single shelf. There’s always just a deep exhale that comes from knowing you have both literal and metaphorical space to breathe.
  1. Start with a new pen and notebook. Whenever I start a new project, I get myself a fresh G2 Gel Pen in 10, and a new Cambridge Action Planner notebook with lines on the right, and clear scribble space on the left.

*Yes, I’m totally justifying my office product habit here.

  1. Ask my “Starting Questions”:

• Who will I be when I complete this new thing?
• What habits do I need to start or stop to succeed?
• How will I measure?
• What does “Good” look like?
• What does “Mediocre” look like?
• Who can help me to achieve this?

  1. Round up my SQUAD. (And make it fun with swag.) “Hi, I’m doing this thing, u in?” – it’s more fun to do things with others.

• make t-shirts (or mousepads)
• pick a theme to go all-in on
• have fun with puns, GIFS, celebration
• “team” jewels or nerdy pins

  1. Take responsibility for the ritual I want to see. (Don’t assume others will do it for you.)

When beginning, I lean into my values:

👋 Inclusion: make a point to welcome others.

😍 Celebration: set the tone of JOY.

💌 Gratitude: acknowledge GOOD THINGS in the world.

How do YOU mark the start of new things? (I’d love to hear about your favorite rituals – the weirder, the better. How will you bring your own torch today?

The Weekly Meal Plan

Okay, you get roses instead of vegetables! (Last weekend at Fuller Gardens, in New Hampshire.)

Cornerstone habits that add the most value to my week are the ones that provide structure to my days, reduce my mental load to free me up for better decision making.  Meal planning uses a simple template that I repeat!

Prep: I root through my fridge, and seeing what needs to be used up. This week, I went to Farmers Market without a plan, so I have a glut of veg to use. Usually I take a quick pic of my fridge contents to help me plan.

To use this week: scallops, cod, eggs, beet hummus, labne, tomato, cucumber, scallions, garlic scapes, kale, spinach, broccoli, arugula, sweet potato, tortillas, Banza, frozen green beans, frozen onions and peppers, bamya, oatmeal, green goddess dip, piri-piri

  • S: cauliflower gnocchi lemon cacio pepe with scallops and arugula
  • M: miso-mayo cod with garlic spinach
  • T: tomato and wine braised fish from freezer, cucumber tomato salad
  • W: banza (chickpea) pasta with tomato sauce, chicken
  • Th: sweet potato with beef and tahini (Stone Soup)
  • Fr: Epicurious kale and date salad with leftover chickenSa: Cava? or Vietnamese takeout.

Lunches: (usually in no particular order) – or leftovers // broccoli with lemon, parmesan, beet hummus and eggs // arugula lemon parmesan salad with tinned fish // soft boiled eggs and pb protein shake with berries // barbunya pilaki with bamya (stewed cranberry beans and okra)

Snacks + Dessert: cheese sticks, yogurt fruit oats, soft boiled eggs, cottage cheese, key lime pineapple coconut shake, air fried green beans

To Buy: onion, vanilla protein powder, frozen cauliflower (smoothies), cottage cheese, chicken, rice, spindrift lemon, limeade, tea

Batch cook: soft boiled eggs, defrost chicken, slice and freeze bagels, barbunya, strawberry rhubarb mush

Learn something new every day

It’s insidiously easy to go through your day on auto-pilot. Work, checklist, plan, execute. I’m making the effort to learn something new every day, intentionally. I want ideas that make my brain explode with curiosity. Here’s where I’m looking:

I’m gathering books across a variety of my interests – and especially ones that friends are reading. I want to be able to read and then discuss salon style. I’m also a part of several book clubs to encourage this habit. (I’m also working to improve my notes to facilitate easier writing.)

How I’m trying to choose my reading: I try to read a few books on the same topic around the same time, to see commonalities and patterns, and outliers. I’ll gather:

• The top few classic books on a topic
• A new book on the topic
• The BIO of an expert on the topic

Why bios? I’m fascinated by the environment behind the idea. Where were the idea-makers living, what were they doing? Who were they influenced by?

It’s surprisingly easy to become passably fluent in a new topic by only reading a handful of the best books, intelligently curated.

I’m also looking for ideas from slow news, with global context. I’ve cut myself out of the 24-hour news cycle. I’m not interested in the stress, I want insight and information thats a level deeper. I try to catch up every few weeks on the Economist in print. I aim for a diversity of voices and viewpoints. I want to read about the world in a global context. I want to learn:

• How can we work together better?
• How can we do better in our shared mission for a better world?
• How can we learn from one another?
• What are the stories around the world that are being suppressed, minimized, or overlooked?

Where do you learn the best things? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned or read this week?

June Intentions

For the past week, I’ve been participating in a month long writing challenge on Twitter. Each day, we write a 250 or so word essay on a graphic. My topics are free flowing, but I’m generally writing about Startups and Entrepreneurship, Brain Productivity, Mindset, and Self Care, and Food (of course!).

So far I’ve written about routines and habits, giving gratitude a rebrand, how to read better stuff, the secret sauce is people, creating a Swipe File, overcoming writers block with haiku, an essay “What am I inviting in?”, and notes from Reggie Hubbard’s Ompractice workshop: the Embodied Practice – Yoga of Service. The full series is here.

Tonight I sat down to write out my June Intentions, which reminded me that I am long overdue for some time writing here as well. The graphic I created is below (and I’ll write out the text below in case the image doesn’t come through well, or you are reading on a reader; as alt text doesn’t allow for the full character length.)

Monthly Intentions: A June Shortlist

Each month, I sit down to make a list of intentions. While not set in stone, my short list helps me to take advantage of my time when I’m not feeling adventurous or creative. This is the first pass, and I’ll update as I go along.

Cook and Eat Delicious Things:

  • my first lobster roll of the season
  • new cookbook of the month; classic cookbook re-read: @davidleite New Portuguese Table
  • grill things!
  • strawberry season
  • revisit 2021 kitchen resolutions

Move my Body with Joy and Ease:

  • continue my GVRAT and CRAW adventures
  • KAYAKing is open at Paddle Boston!
  • continue my 3x weekly strength work
  • weekly Ompractice yin/breathwork/mobility/new classes
  • pick a new hike on Alltrails

Goal is to find myself some novelty!

Connect more Deeply with my Humans:

  • time spent in NH with family
  • get back into the habit of friend calls on my walks
  • getting the crew back together with my Wellesley bffs
  • initiate texts and love to friends (this is hard for me!)
  • hand written notes to friends 🙂

Create and Consume:

  • cultivate my garden (pots and plot); lettuces, clip herbs daily
  • weekly creative dates with myself: MFA boston Basquiat, Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, Museum of Science Arctic adventure.
  • if I can safely see a film in the theater, I’d love to
  • Red Sox at Fenway

Watch and Read:

  • Diane Hessan’s new book Our Common Ground: Insights from Four Years of Listening to American Voters
  • V.E. Schwab ExtraOrdinary #0
  • Gentleman Jack Season 2!
  • Marvel watch party good times: Loki on Disney+
  • In the Heights! 🙌
  • Mare of Easttown

What else is on the docket? Work goals, drilling down into novelty, and still working on my learning goals for the month! What are you planning for June?