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)
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.
Update my “Anytime Shopping List” ie: regular groceries list (favorites, protein, don’t leave the store without this!) — got a head start!
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. (After a year + without a working dishwasher, this is now so much easier with a working one! Another reminder to tackle nagging tasks!)
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
(New) Schedule a quarterly KITCHEN PURGE.
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! (NEW: Noma R+D club shipments, an Omsom Everything box.)
• Get your knives sharpened. Just do it! (China Fair does it for a dollar) • Review storage containers for more sustainable options • 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!)
NEW: Pick two signature cooking gifts (something to perfect and send to people)
NEW: “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.
At the end of December, I spend a few weeks in self review mode. I spend a lot of time thinking about what went well, what didn’t, and dreaming up what I want to improve. It’s part gratitude, part exploratory, part strategy. I write about my full process here.
I make it a point to look through my entire roll of photos (I take many!) and one of the most fun parts of my review is simply writing out a list of all the food that I’ve eaten. (This isn’t as difficult as it seems, because I keep regular journals, a “let’s eat!” spreadsheet, and meal plans for just about everything.) Since the pandemic upped my delivery frequency, I look through my various apps for a history of what I ordered from where as well.
Making a grand old list of food is a wonderful way for me to re-live a great meal. It also helps me to expand on what I’d like to eat in the new year and is a great way to help me meal plan. I start seeing patterns (you’ll notice a lot of butter chicken). (You can see last year’s list here.)
One day I aspire to write a kitchen diary cookbook as robust as Nigel Slater’s, or something like Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year. For now, there’s this list!
In 2023, I’m hoping to be a little bit more creative in the kitchen! More recipes, more projects, more cooking with friends and family. More Turkish cooking. (I’ll be working on my kitchen resolutions this week – but here’s the 2022 version.)
It’s broken down a few different ways: Good Things I’ve cooked (very few recipes, but when I use them, they are linked). WeCo Meals (a local prepped meal delivery service) gets it’s own long section this year. Good Takeout (roughly once a week). A section for treats eaten at any time. And a miscellaneous section at the bottom.
I’m sure I’m missing lots of things in here, but here’s the non-exhaustive list:
WeCo has absolutely saved me for the better part of the year. I lived for a LONG time without a working dishwasher, and having prepared and delicious “home cooked” food was a lifesaver. Bolded some of my favorites! Most times I’d order a dinner and a kid’s meal for lunch the next day, or split a meal over two lunches. I’ll note that WeCo’s vegetarian and pescatarian meals are *awesome*.
One other thing to note: from the end of March for many months, I experienced a near total loss of taste from COVID for some time, and dampened for several more months. I was mildly afraid to cook lest I burn the house down, and gravitated towards as bright colors and textures as I could. (WeCo totally delivered!)
Hello hello! I hope you are keeping warm this winter so far. After having fun doing another end of the year review, one of my winter projects was creating my winter intentions list for myself – a list of Good Things to take advantage of in the coming season across a range of topics.
I do this kind of planning for myself not because I want to jam-pack my days, but because if I think creatively when I’m in good headspace, I’m more likely to take advantage of my own wisdom in the dark days when I’m not. It’s a kindness that I try to practice for myself regularly. (As is updating my list of lists!)
I thought this year I’d write up my guide to share, so you can now download the Winter Good Things guide here for yourself!This 20-page resource is full of lists and ideas to inspire and motivate you during the colder months.
This guide covers a range of topics to help you feel your best, including:
Feelings: Tips on how to process and manage your emotions, as well as resources like the Feeling Wheel and Emotion Sensation to help you better understand and express your feelings.
Food: From cooking and pantry-stocking ideas to finding joy in the kitchen, plus an “all the time shopping list” plenty of goodness to keep you nourished and satisfied.
Products: Looking to make your life a little easier or more enjoyable? This mini-gift guide includes suggestions for products that can help, things that bring joy, (as well as tips on how to avoid overspending).
Curating Inputs: Want to find new movies, TV shows, or books to enjoy? This guide includes recommendations for all three, as well as ideas for curating your inputs for maximum enjoyment.
Movement: Whether you’re looking for enjoyable activities to keep you moving, ways to stay accountable with your fitness, or inspiration for what good looks like, I’ve got you covered.
Activities: From activities to do with friends to solo pursuits, plenty of ideas to keep you entertained and engaged. (Including some Boston area specific ones)
Giving: As the end of the year approaches, the guide offers ideas for giving back to your local, national, and global communities, whether through money, time, or effort.
Rest: Finally, some thoughts on the importance of rest and self care, as well as ideas for physical rest and self nurturing to help you recharge and feel your best.
With so much included, the Winter Good Things guide is sure to have something for everyone. So why wait? Get yours today and start making the most of the winter season!
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