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

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Opinion

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

  • Davis Dysfunction Dooms Raiders Again

    Mark Davis’ head-scratching decision to move the team to Las Vegas has proven to be a major distraction for the team.
  • The Wrong Path?

    Paideia helped turn Oakland Tech into the best public high school in the city. But some teachers and parents are worried about the future of the acclaimed humanities program.
  • Why Oakland Should Cut Off ICE

    Federal immigration officials say they've been investigating "human trafficking" in the city. But in the past decade, they have not imprisoned anyone from Oakland for that crime.
  • Highland Hospital Surveillance Stirs Concerns

    The county's main hospital in Oakland has a camera that reads license plates and shares that information with federal law enforcement, including ICE.
  • Jerry Brown's Cap-and-Trade Program Isn't Working

    California's greenhouse gas emissions declined last year. But it was primarily due to the rainy weather — not the governor's climate policies.

Special Reports

Holiday Guide 2017

A guide to this holiday season's gifts, outings, eats, and more.

Taste, Fall 2017

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation