Resolved: To Eat, Cook Enjoy With Care 

I don't make New Year's resolutions, for most of us they're empty promises just waiting to be broken by the second or third week of January. That's because resolutions are usually negative - especially the food-related resolutions: I will lose 20 pounds (eat less)
I will cut down on diet Cokes (deny myself that pleasure)
I will eat more healthily (avoid the foods I like best) Bah! In modern American culture food is an enemy, it's something we loath ourselves for enjoying and under a mistakenly puritanical impulse attempt to deny ourselves to somehow become more pure and deserving. I'm not saying we should overdue the ice cream before bed or eat a bag of pork rinds every day. But denying yourself is just begging for failure.

In that spirit, since I don't have any New Year's resolutions, I do have a few some food-related things I'd like to do this year - all positive.

Charcuterie: A couple of years ago I devoted some effort to learning to preserve meat, making pork and duck confit, sausages, corning a beef brisket, and so on. It was great fun, I got some marvelous treats from my efforts. I got to share this with friends and family and I learned a hell of a lot. Last year I ended up focused on writing and concentrating on making foods that I thought would interest a larger audience than my efforts to create a lamb sausage recipe. Enough of that! It's back to the meat market this year and learning to make some dried sausages like salami and Spanish chorizo.

Cheese: I've been meaning to learn to make cheese for ages. My ambitions aren't large, I'm not talking about 2-year-old aged cheddar or raclette. But I have access to cow, goat, and sheep milk - both pasteurized and un-pasteurized. I can make some fresh cheeses such as mozzarella, mascarpone, and farmer's cheese. The trick to this effort (and the next step in my charcuterie) is getting a wine refrigerator to age the cheese and sausages in since a wine fridge gives control over both temp and humidity, which is essential.

Meat & Beans: In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I'm not as conscientious about buying meat from my local farmers as I wish I were. One reason is that, unlike the supermarket, I can't decide I want a pork shoulder Friday morning and pick one up from Tracy the rancher that afternoon. There's a convenience factor, in other words. There's also cost. Meat that was well-cared for before it became meat is more expensive than the stuff at the supermarket. And part of it is I really eat too much meat.

I love meat. But I want to learn to appreciate it more than I do. Getting back into charcuterie is one way of doing that, but so is learning to use meat as a less central ingredient in meals. On the flip side, I'm not a big fan of dried beans, and yet some of my favorite recipes feature beans with a bit of meat for flavoring. So I'm planning to devote more effort to exploring this mixture. And it has the added benefit of being cheap. Win/win/win!

Ice Cream: Like dried beans, I'm not a big ice cream fan. But late last summer I got a Cuisinart ice cream maker on sale, and this summer I'm going to give it a workout. The truth is I do love fruit desserts and I enjoy both sorbets/sherbet and granitas. So I'll get a copy of Dave Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop and add ice cream to my cooking repertoire. I think that's a noble ambition.

Food isn't an enemy - something to be shunned and denied - it's one of the great pleasures in life. After touch, taste is the most sensual of our senses, a sense closely tied to our pleasure centers. So my goal, this coming year, is to enhance that pleasure not by over-indulging, but by indulging with thought, deliberation, and care.

Copyright (c) 2007, SteelWill, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Spot On is a trademark of SteelWill, Inc.

Tags: ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Opinion

  • Oakland Poised to Lead in Protecting Privacy

    The city council is on the verge of implementing significant citywide reforms aimed at protecting the privacy of its residents, including a first-of-its-kind surveillance equipment ordinance.
    • Feb 4, 2015
  • How Fracking Changes Everything

    From seismology to geopolitics to Wall Street to major-league sports to the biggest divorce settlement in US history, fracking affects nearly every facet of our lives.
    • Jan 21, 2015
  • It's Not the Heat, It's the Stupidity

    The new Congress may be the most boldly anti-science body since the time of the Scopes Monkey Trial.
    • Jan 7, 2015
  • More »

Author Archives

  • Ratio: A Review

    Have you noticed how the more succinct a book's title is the longer the sub-title is? An example is Michael Ruhlman's new ...
    • May 1, 2009
  • Fighting What You Eat: The Diet Cong

    I have a client, a wealthy woman in her 60s, who has celiac disease. This means gluten - a primary protein in ...
    • Apr 24, 2009
  • More»

Most Popular Stories

  • Umm, Thanks, Republicans?

    How the GOP led the way in defunding the War on Medical Weed.
  • Drowning California's History

    The state's Water Resources Center and Archive has played a crucial role in documenting — and shaping — California water history. Longtime users say it has greatly declined since leaving Berkeley.
  • The Battle Over Teachers' Seniority Rights

    Oakland Unified's push to overhaul teacher seniority rights has sparked an intense contract dispute.
  • Bay Area Workers and Unions Finance the Fracking Boom

    Bay Area workers and unions are increasingly joining the climate justice movement, but their pension funds have been quietly investing in the oil and natural gas boom.
  • The Women of Oakland Take Over

    With Mayor Libby Schaaf's selection of Sabrina Landreth as city administrator, the city will be run by two female Oakland natives who not only agree on the issues, but also absolutely love The Town.

Special Reports

Insider's Guide 2015

Everything you need to know about the East Bay's hidden shopping, nightlife, dining, annual events, and more.

Holiday Guide 2014

Your guide to the best gifts, gadgets, toys, music, and books of the year; plus holiday food and drink, snow sports, winter getaways, and more.

© 2015 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation