Wednesday, March 20, 2019
It's March, and if your well-intentioned 2019 new year's resolutions and diets have flown out the window, you're not alone. Resolutions are tricky, especially if they involve freeing yourself from gluten or juicing your vegetables or eating six small meals a day. Some diets are punitive and focused on deprivation (even if they pretend not to be), and thus unsustainable.
I propose that we bring pleasure back into our vocabulary around food. In honor of all those dead diet resolutions, here are some ideas for making the rest of 2019 more, ahem, palatable.
Make 2019 the year of fresh bread (or loose-leaf tea, or Korean barbecue, or creme brulee, or ...). I got this idea from a food podcast I subscribe to called "The Sporkful." Each year, the host Dan Pashman asks listeners to call in with a message about what food they want to eat more of in the coming year. Notice that it's "want to eat," not "should eat."
Maybe you want to make more homemade pies. Or maybe you want to go to a local ramen restaurant each time you visit a new city. You may learn that you like tonkatsu ramen more than shio. For me, this is the year I'm going to learn to make homemade biscuits. I've never made them from scratch before, but I hope that come December, I'll have a few tried-and-true recipes up my sleeve.
Make a family recipe. Last year, I hosted my first Passover Seder, which, of course, required that I make my great grandmother's matzo-ball soup. My mom sent me the recipe, which instructed the home cook to "pluck feathers," and "boil chicken feet until tender." I skipped these steps, and the soup still turned out great. Plus, I felt connected to the generations of women in my family who have made this same soup.
Is there a family recipe you love? Your uncle's famous muscadine wine, perhaps? Or your bubbe's beloved rugelach? Give it a try in your own kitchen.
Be a snack-food tourist in your own city. In my humble opinion, snacking is one of the best parts of being alive. This year, try exploring the culinary world while upping your snack game. Treat yourself to an alfajor, a decadent dulce-de-leche-filled Argentinian cookie, at La Brioche. Wander through the dusty Kosher section in a local grocery store for some halvah and imported German pickles. Pick up chocolate covered Pocky and dried seaweed snacks from Mr. Chen's Oriental Market.
In fact, why not try a different country's snack food each month of the year? You can splurge on those stroopwafels you found on Amazon while watching an obscure Dutch movie on Netflix. You deserve it.
Please know that I'm not trying to stop anyone from drinking green juice or eating healthier. After all, I like kale salad as much as the next yoga-loving white lady from Colorado. I'm just here to remind you that food can be nourishing and fun. No calorie-counting or carb-cutting required.