A New Year In The Kitchen
by Buck Reed
So, we made it through another year, and just in time, because the new one is starting. Maybe you got everything accomplished that you wanted and maybe you didn’t. No judgement from me. It is for you to decide if you are worthy to move on. But, whether you do, the new year is coming anyway. Since we all have been busy, distracted, or otherwise preoccupied, it is understandable if you did not come up with a resolution for 2022. Don’t fear, as always, I am here to help.
I suggest you make a short list of dishes, techniques, or cuisines you want to learn or master in the upcoming year. Think of the food you or your family like to eat or want to try and write it out. If you are ambitious, you can try for one for every month of the year. Here are a few ideas and a few thoughts on how to accomplish them.
Make a Soup Meal — This could be a great project for those long winter days. Just find a good chowder or seafood idea and bump it up to the next level. This could turn into a wonderful winter warmer.
Make Valentine’s Day Dinner for Someone — Let’s face it, going out to a restaurant on this holiday can be a drag on the night and on your wallet. But, with a little study, practice, and work you could create a meal that will dazzle the love of your life. At the very least, you should get points for trying. Don’t forget the flowers.
Learn to Make Pizza – Everyone likes pizza, and you will need relatively little equipment and to master a few techniques to get this one checked off. Learning how to correctly make the dough can be challenging, but once you get the yeast to behave properly, you have it. The best part is, once you master the yeast, there are numerous baked goods that will work for you. Get creative with your toppings.
Work with Seafood — This one might push you out of your comfort zone, but what is living without a little peril? This is where a little studying and finesse will need to be employed. Just have a little faith in your abilities and give it your best shot.
Make a Dessert — There are cake people and there are pie people, and you should not try to change either of them. We won’t mention pudding people. Just pick your favorite, and, well…you know what to do.
Master a Cuisine — If I were to pick a favorite, I might pick Latin American. It has a rich history and an underappreciated diversity.
Step Up Your Grill Game — Here is one for a summer meal. Try a new ingredient on the grill. If you want easy, try grilled scallions as a side dish (it’s a game-changer). Or, if you feel like swaggering, put a couple of whole fish over the fire.
Given the circumstances of the last couple of years, cooking at home is an option everyone should seriously consider. With the increase in the cost of going out to eat and the availability of certain ingredients, it would be fitting for us all to not only cook more of our own meals, but also learn to do it well.