There's the kind of cook you are, and there's the kind of cook you want to be.
For each of the past four years, we've kicked off the calendar by making Culinary Resolutions, a list of the things we'd like to eat, or try, or, in some cases, see.
We think this is a good way to start the year, because it's not a "no" list of things we're giving up. Rather, it's a list of things we're going to embrace as we endeavor to be better cooks and share our experience with you.
We wager that if you're reading this blog, there are things you'd like for yourself in 2013, too. We'd especially love to hear about them, so please leave them here in the comments and tell us about your own Culinary Resolutions for 2013.
In the meantime, here's what's on our list, followed by an update on our 2012 Culinary Resolutions:
The Bitten Word's 2013 Culinary Resolutions:
Learn to make excellent sauces. We want to learn to make fantastic sauces this year, the kind of things that pair perfectly with meats or vegetables and heighten a meal. There's a new restaurant in our neighborhood that serves a pork with a charcuterie sauce. Phenomenal. We're going to become sauciers! (And we may become saucier in the process.)
Be more aggressive gardeners. We're going to focus this year on the things we know we can grow easily in our backyard, with its limited light. But we want to garden more aggressively this year, preparing for an early spring planting and perpetuating the garden up until the first frost.
Cook a goose. Until recently, we'd never given too much thought to goose. But we read a few articles around Thanksgiving and Christmas that have us intrigued. So we're gonna cook a goose.
Show you the food in our neighborhood. We have a pretty amazing diversity of food just outside our front doors. There are Middle Eastern markets and Ethiopian restaurants. We need to take more of an advantage of that, and we'll take you along, too.
Revisit some resolutions of years past. Our knives are dull and our spice cabinet is out of control. We're going to revisit some resolutions from previous years -- including a pledge to keep our knives sharp and give our spices a much needed clean out.
Get organized in the kitchen. We'll proudly claim success here. We cleaned out our drawers. And purged a lot of things from our cabinets in the Cupboard Cleanout. We also took a bunch of items that we barely use and threw them in the top of our bedroom closet, just to see if we'd miss them. We didn't, and purged them a few months after their exile. We're keeping the kitchen fairly organized. Now if we could just stop bringing new items into it....
Use smaller plates. We wanted to use smaller plates in order to serve smaller portions. Sometimes we we reached for smaller plates. Othertimes not. It's a work in progress.
Make restaurant meals count. This is a bonafide success -- we often found ourselves contemplating whether to run out to grab some food, but this resolution served as a good reminder to just make some of the food we already have in our house. And that's we what did, not always, but most of the time. We still had plenty of fantastic meals out, but we tried to make sure we were using those opportunities to eat something (or somewhere) very special.
Buy a nice olive oil. Done and done. After we posted about this a year ago, we received wonderful suggestions from a few readers about nice olive oils they enjoy. We even received some actual bottles from some readers -- including Paula from Kukkula Winery and Mario from O Olive Oils -- which was so very thoughtful. We've kept those wonderful, tastier oils alongside the cheap stuff. We still use the cheaper oil for sauteing onions and such. But for salad dressings or finishing a fish with a drizzle of oil, we've loved sampling the nicer varieties.
2012's "Haven't Quite Happened Yet" list
Make a crown roast. Nope, didn't do it. Another time....
Push our boundaries on ethnic cuisines. We didn't make it to the Eritrean restaurant or the Caribbean place that we mentioned in last year's resolutions. They're still on our list.
What do you resolve to eat, cook or do this year? Let us know in the comments!