And So It Begins

January 8, 2011

I love starting over. And although I may not be much of a new years resolution type of girl, I do like the whole idea of looking back at the past year to see how far I’ve come, looking ahead at the twelve months laid out in front of me, full of potential to make the next year whatever I want it to be and the chance to start anew.  I also like lists. I’m not a big “to do” list keeper, except when my mind is overloaded and there’s no room left in it for new information, in which case I use a list as sort of an external hard drive for my brain.  But as I’ve gone through old notebooks I’ve found various lists scratched in the margins, on the back flap or inside cover, or on pieces of paper tucked in the pages of books collecting dust on the bookshelf.  Lists of random things I’m interested in or want to know more about, foods I want to try, places I want to travel, brilliant ideas for the future, both practical and far from it.

So in honor of the beauty of lists, boycotting the standard new years resolution tradition that only leaves you feeling disappointed and defeated in your lack of discipline (or maybe that’s just me), and resolving to take life a little less seriously in 2011, to have more fun, to think outside the box a bit more and to find that delicate balance between plans and going with the flow, here’s my 2011 Here We Come list that I wrote down the other night while watching season 5 of Anthony Bourdain, which explains why it’s mostly food related.

1.  Eat more cured meats. – While this may seem like a strange non-resolution resolution, I was influenced by talking with my friend Amber who lives in Rome about all the incredible cured meats she’s come across: Mortadella, Salamis, Capicola, Prosciutto. And my trip to Benton’s Bacon this summer pretty much did me in on the whole country ham and bacon front.  There is something so incredibly satisfying about cured meats and the fact that something we now tend to think of as indulgent and over-the-top (or again, maybe that’s just how I grew up) was just a way to preserve meat back in the day when there was no such thing as refrigeration.  Its simplicity and deliciousness entices me.

2.  Make my own pasta.  – I’ve wanted to do this for a long time but for whatever reason, have never tried.  So 2011, you’re the year.

3. Write a book. – I’ve been thinking about writing a book since I was 14 years old, living in Fort Wayne, Indiana and wanting to write something that other teenagers whose parents moved them from a cool town to a really really boring town, could relate to.  As I’ve grown out of my angsty teenage years, through the whirlwind that was my twenties and now being into my thirties, my perspective has changed a bit but I’ve still always carried with me the desire to write something that most people can relate to on some level, whether they’re aware of it or not.  At the moment my influences are David Sedaris, This American Life, delicious food, the strangeness and enjoyment of living in the south, Andre Dubus and the business model of Zingermans.  Even though it may not look like it, to me, all these things are very much related.

4. Have monthly dinners with friends.  – Again, something I’ve thought about doing for a while but have never quite made happen.  There have been glimpses of it along the way, incredible dinner parties and barbecues in Minneapolis, the most delicious breakfasts that appear out of nowhere with Kim and Ryan, two person impromptu dinner parties with just me and Drew on a Friday night with peel-n-eat shrimps and cold beer.  But the whole Sunday dinner thing has always intrigued me and I think this might be a good year to start.

5. Make my own cheese. – Because I hear some cheeses are super easy to make, so, why not try ’em out.

6. Make a summer drink of white wine mixed with pineapple ice cream. – This one is straight up out of the Anthony Bourdain episode where he goes to Chile.  I guess this is a national drink of Chile or something and frankly, it sounds delicious.  And thinking about sipping one of them on a 100 degree afternoon with 100% humidity in July in the south, well, I’m not sure you can get much better than that.  Except maybe the drive thru daiquiri stands in New Orleans that my cousin Tim told me about.

7. Speaking of New Orleans, I’d like to go there. – We almost moved to New Orleans but instead decided on Nashville, which I couldn’t be happier about.  Especially when I found out my cousin Tim and his cool girlfriend Anna moved there last summer, so now we have some fun non-local locals to show us around.  The invitation is there for Mardi Gras, so we shall see….

 

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