Monday, January 2, 2012

A (non) resolution made in the kitchen

I see more of this in my future: home-cooking.

They're the domain of failure, a bastion of letdowns.

If 'Resolution' was a spot on the map, I'm convinced it would be the place self-esteem forgot.

Hey, I've fallen for what the changing of the calendar can make a person think they can do. I've set many a resolution and while I congratulate those with the discipline to turn those life goals into life habits successfully, I am not one of them.

Take the year I vowed to get to work on time. Did I mention that I might have been one of the reporters in my newsroom who inspired a mass email warning us that if we weren't at our desks by 9 a.m. every day, we may just get a letter in our file? The resolution to shave 15 minutes off my arrival time didn't work but the fear of a grumpy city editor sure did.

Punctuality is not in my genes. But then neither is the stick-to-it-iveness that new year's resolutions require. I'll admit, I can be flaky.

Last year's resolution to cook twice a month from a particular cookbook in my collection so that it wouldn't be a how-to unfulfilled started off well. But after five tries, the wheels fell off that, too. Tuesdays were to be the day devoted to such a task but then suddenly Tuesdays become the busiest night of my week to do anything but stick to my resolution. So did Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for that matter. And weekends? Those days dedicated to sleeping in and roaming the countryside or lounging with my cats? Forget about it.

Plans change and over the holidays, I was reminded of that rather harshly with the caveat that there's very little — if anything at all — I can do to stop it.

So this year, I've decided 'Down with resolutions.' I'm all about setting goals that I will ease myself into rather than start and stop cold free-range, organic turkey. None of this going to the gym on New Year's Day only to have my membership collecting dust by week's end.

No, I know what I want to accomplish this year — I'm hopeful it'll be sooner rather than later — and so I'll set about to doing what I can when I can to achieve it.

My goals for 2012 are mostly financial — I've said I'm going to eliminate my credit card bills once and for all — but food will figure in my plans to achieve that.

I will be cooking at home more often.

That means fewer lunches from market vendors or my favourite falafel stop downtown. A larger number of summer weekend outings capped off by a meal in my backyard rather than on a restaurant patio. Bucking up and just finding something to eat at home no matter how much easier it would be to get take out. Not caving to the temptation of prix fixe menus that pop up at all those fantastic food establishments that I love to patronize.

It's not that I don't enjoy cooking and that's why I don't do it daily. Most days after work, I find it therapeutic to get lost in the smells, sounds and stirring of a pot in my kitchen as I make something that nourishes both my body and spirit. It's pure bliss for me to flip through the pages of a cookbook or find a new recipe online and think about what could be.

The sense of accomplishment when trying something new in the kitchen and hitting it out of the park, an achievement affirmed by the zealous gobbling of food by my husband, is first-rate.

I love to cook but I just need to do it more often and in larger amounts. That way, I'll have enough leftovers for both me and my husband to have for lunch the next day. Or the day after that. Or to eat when I get home from work and don't feel like cooking. Sorry market vendors and takeout peddlers.

I see in my future more Sundays in the kitchen preparing meals for the days ahead so that I can hit reheat on the microwave when I walk through the door after work on Monday instead of starting from scratch. I was so good at it in university — in university, for goodness' sake, when I had a more pressing social life or the demands of academic deadlines that were way scarier than anything I've encountered in my career filled with do-or-die timeliness.

If I was that organized and gung-ho once, I know I can be again.

That way, my goals — not resolutions — to eliminate debt and pad the savings account — will be within reach. Totally doable.

So here's to more home-cooked meals in 2012, salve for the soul and the wallet, because I'd rather eat them than my words.

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