Resolutions come and go, but goals are there to be hit.
On the run into 2023, I’ve been looking at what my goals for the year ahead are, certain targets and milestones that I would like to hit over the next 12 months. These have nothing to do with the blog, writing, socials, chasing numbers or anything like that and are much more to do with broadening my food horizons, getting out of my comfort zone and maybe trying something new.
So what do I think is in store for this year?
1. Learn how to cook a new type of cuisine, or something I’ve not tried before
This one seems the most straight-forward. When it comes to cooking at home, there are the staples of the batch-cooking school of thought: salads, lasagne, shepherds pie, a curry, and while they’re great, my cooking routine has become less about experimentation and more about cooking out of necessity.
For this year, it’s time to dust off some of the books in the kitchen and brush up on my French, Mexican, Indian or Italian cooking methods and approaches to dishes. It’s time to stop saying “oh I’d love to know how to make that” and actually get out and make it. Then make it again, master it, and have it in the arsenal.
2. Host a dinner party
This one’s not for everyone, but it dawned on me that since Covid kicked in, the opportunity to host a dinner party – or have people around for a dinner night with all the trimmings – has been non-existent.
We’re talking starters, mains, dessert, get the wines going, break out the cards or Settlers and the rest of it. It may lean into the first goal which is to get to grips with a new type of cuisine or dish, ultimately unleashing it on a somewhat unexpecting audience but having enjoyed a few nights around other tables over the festive period, there’s a lot to be said for scrubbing down the kitchen and returning the gesture.
3. Take a cookery class
I’ve spent some time in the past year helping others set up cookery classes, online demos, online course material and more but I can count on one hand in the last ten years the number of classes that I’ve taken. Whether it’s going for a series of classes or jumping into a one-off masterclass, it’s about time that I brushed up on something and learn from someone else.
And who knows? It might lend itself to number one and feed into number two on this list.
4. Experiment more with plant-based cooking
In May 2020, I recorded a podcast with Dr. Alan Desmond, gastroenterologist-turned-author and advocate for a whole foods plant-based diet. You can hear it below.
Alan’s book, The Plant-based Diet Revolution was released in January 2021 and two years on, I’m still looking at it while considering changes to my diet and lifestyle in general. It’s a long, drawn-out process. However, I’m acutely more aware of the need to introduce more plants and vegetables into my diet on a consistent basis, not just for the sake of a “veganuary” fad.
Being married to a vegetarian, you would think I would know better but it’s certainly something that’s on the agenda and I’ll be exploring again in blog posts later this year.
5. Expand my food culture horizons
This, in a way, ties back into the first point about learning to cook a new type of cuisine, but if you really want to get into the nuts and bolts of something then it’s sometimes better to understand the point of origin and the culture behind the cuisine in order to better put your new skills to use. Why do the French do things this way, what are the differences in a korma from region to region in India, why does my coffee from the north side of this mountain taste different to that on the south side.
There’s plenty to discover and learn in terms of heritage and culture about food – even in Ireland with traditional cooking methods, evolutions of recipes, and origins of dishes. Maybe a trip to the library is long overdue.
6. Visit a new food destination
I’ve got a list of restaurants in Kilkenny this year that I’m going to start crossing off. Some of these restaurants I’ve been advocates for for years, purely based on reputation over experience. Others I’ve had a chance to dine in on my own but not en famille.
For 2023, I’m aiming to shorten that list somewhat – whether it’s the new coffee shop that’s opened up on the corner of a rural town, or a trip to that Michelin-starred restaurant that’s been on my radar for more years than I care to remember. For me it’s more on the local front, for you it could be that food truck you’ve always wanted to try, maybe it’s chips by the sea, or getting out of the country altogether and following your Masterchef Australia goal.
Whatever it is, it’s time to broaden those horizons!
If you’ve set yourself a food-related goal for the year, I’d love to hear about it. Tweet me @kenonfood, leave a comment below or pop me a mail here.