As mid-January rolls in, those traditional New Year’s health resolutions fade away: Loose ten pounds, get fit, etc. Why? Deprivation sucks. Our food loving community here at Eat Drink Better continues to rise like yeast dough on a hot day for one common reason: we embrace food with passion and realize that our eating choices impact the world around us. Hungry for knowledge, we share a mutual quest to eat and drink better.
So while January still hangs on the calendar, come up with your own “Good Food Bliss List” for 2010. Folks probably are familiar with the “Bucket List” concept, popularized by the movie with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman: Make a list of all those things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” Oh yeah one more point: do them.
The “Good Food Bliss List” has two key differences:
1. One year time frame.
Just think about what you could realistically achieve in 2010. I confess I’m the local, seasonal, organic version of Veruca of Willie Wonka. Higher standards (and hopefully a dash more pleasant), but I still want it now.
2. Food-related items only.
Within this category, get creative. Think about something you want to cook or grow yourself, experience at a restaurant or savor at a certain time of year. The goal here is to prioritize and focus on some of those things you spark to but that annually get relegated to the “back burner” due to the realities of life.
A couple other tips to get you started:
• Prioritize local treasures.
There undoubtedly are things grown or made right in your own backyard that you’ve never tasted. I live in Green County, Wisconsin, the highest cheese-producing county in the country. Despite my sincere love of all things cheese, I haven’t sampled everything made locally. Limburger, here I come!
• Think seasonally.
There are several things I think about but never do every spring, like making homemade grape leaves for dolmades. Granted, spring ushers in a crazy busy season on our farm and B&B, Inn Serendipity, and grape leaves need to be picked and processed early when the leaves are tender. No excuses this year.
• Celebrate the process.
Sometimes the real satisfaction bubbles up during the process, not the end result. Case in point: Turkish Delight. My eight-year old son, Liam, and I have been reading aloud the Chronicles of Narnia, and became fascinated with that confection the evil White Witch uses to lure the naughty brother Edmund to the dark side: Turkish Delight.
Thanks to the popularity of the movie, there’s a wealth of Turkish Delight recipes out there, but the process took longer (and was more fun) than we anticipated. We foraged at specialty stores for unique ingredients like rose water and bulk gelatin. Our first attempts didn’t gel at all, so we resuscitated some life into the sugary, rosy syrup for freezing them in Popsicle mold. When we finally got it “right” and concocted a jelly-like candy, we discovered something amusing: we didn’t care for the taste. But we had a ball throughout “Operation Turkey Delight” as we called it. Savor the process.
I’m starting on my 2010 “Good Food Bliss List;” here’s my initial list. Please share your own ideas!
1. Make homemade grape leaves for those dolmades.
2. Go blueberry picking. My family loves blueberries and, despite several growing efforts, we can’t raise them in our garden, as the soil is not acidic enough. I’ve heard about some relatively close U-pick places; this is the year we do it.
3. Grow sprouts. This will be a good March project, when we’re all yearning for something fresh and green here in the Midwest. I actually have packs of sprout seeds sitting in my pantry for years now with this intent; just haven’t prioritized doing it (hopefully they will still sprout).
Photo Credit: Graphic Leftovers