Here ya go, sweeties! A few foodie resolutions that should be FUN to keep.
1. Challenge your food beliefs.
"I don't like coconut." "I hate raisins." "I don't eat chocolate on Saturdays." How many of you make broad statements like this? I do, for sure. But if you've been saying one of these things for years...is it really true, or are you just used to saying it? How about this year, you and I both resolve to challenge these food beliefs? After all, sometimes these things can change and you can actually find yourself enjoying something.
I'll give you an example. I used to think I hated coconut cream pie and I just didn't eat it. Then one day I tried the version that Dahlia Bakery in Seattle made. It was so well made that it transcended my sweeping dismissal of this dessert. The fact is, when something is done well, it can make you a believer. It might not always be the case, but don't shut yourself out of experiences because of something you decided long ago!
2. Make something new (even if you fail).
Are you enchanted by Baked Alaska but too scared to make it? Or, does something like making your own pie crust make you break out in cold sweat? Fact is, buddies, your first attempt is unlikely to be perfect or pin-worthy (at least mine rarely is). But you know what? the fact that you tried something new and delicious is celebration-worthy on its own. I did a post a while back about how even a pie crust made with melted butter (which is like, a cardinal sin) tasted pretty ok. The fact that you've made something and it's homemade already makes it pretty good; you need time to learn how to really do it. Progress, not perfection!
3. Be creative.
The first time I saw a lattice crust, I was intimidated by it. But when I tried it, I learned it was a lot easier than it looked. From there, I was able to add it to my repertoire and make other creative things using the technique. For instance, I was really proud of these basket weave cookies for Craftsy, wherein the lattice crust technique was applied to cookie dough. Don't just be bound by the constraints of recipes that already exist! Forge your own path.
4. Make food your destination!
While of course delicious food will taste good anywhere, some foods just taste better in their natural habitat. Case in point: a lobster roll enjoyed on the Maine coast; a black and white cookie in New York City; Key Lime pie in Florida. When you travel, be sure to try the local specialties in their home setting and see for yourself if it makes a difference. As for me, I am going to the Gulf coast soon and I can't wait to try shrimp and who knows what else there!
5. Discover foods from different cultures.
I suppose this is related to the resolution above, but it's something that doesn't necessarily require traveling. You can discover the foods of different cultures by cooking at home; or, it's likely that there's a foreign food you've never tried which is accessible in your hometown. For instance, last year I discovered, and made, and fell in love with, khachapuri, a Georgian eggy flatbread. Not only does discovering a new food expand your horizons, but it makes you more interested in the world and makes your palate more broad!
6. Focus on pleasure.
Many people resolve to eat "healthier" around the new year. Whole 30 and paleo diets and whatever abound. Personally, I think it's kind of BS. I don't think that focusing on healthier eating is a bad thing at all, don't get me wrong. But I think it's important to focus on your mental health, as well. And sometimes, a great cookie or brownie or cupcake can do as much for your soul as a superfood salad does for your body. If you focus on truly enjoying and appreciating the treats you give yourself, I promise you won't need to overdo it. So rather than focusing on denying yourself these items, focus on truly enjoying it when you do treat yourself.
7. Be tolerant of others.
It's never a bad thing to be tolerant, but I am specifically talking about food. If someone follows a different diet than you, or eats more or less sugar than you, etc, etc, let them be that way. Don't try to dictate your diet mentality to others, and let it wash off of you if others try to tell you how to eat. Live and let live, ok?
8. Discover new techniques.
When I went to Los Angeles a few years ago for a baking adventure with King Arthur flour, I learned a nifty technique of making pie crust with your hands. For some reason, this made pie crust "click" for me--clearly, I had found the technique that worked for me and that made me enthusiastic about making pie crust. Sometimes, a new technique can enliven your cooking like that! Keep on discovering new techniques for things you do frequently and you may discover something that works perfectly for you.
9. Treat yourself every day.
This relates back to the "focus on pleasure" resolution. Remember to treat yourself every day! As Dale Cooper said in Twin Peaks, "Harry, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee." Your treat might be a manicure or it might be a cake truffle. OK, so technically it doesn't have to be food, but it does have to be sweet and geared toward yourself. Whatever it is, be sure to be kind to yourself in some way every day!
What's your New Year's resolution?