I’m starting off 2013 with intentions, not resolutions. I’m not even going to list them here, so that, when I miss one, it doesn’t have to be a big deal. I think the problem with resolutions in general is that people get down on themselves when those resolutions aren’t met. I recently read an article about taking big goals like resolutions and making them more approachable by simplifying.
Simplification is a good plan overall. In the context of resolutions, think of small changes you can make to take you to the next level in that area, not necessarily to the top of the game. Think of one step, not the whole staircase. If you make the scope of change so large that you can’t picture how to get from here to there, it gets frustrating and unproductive.
I have a good real-world example of this. My wife and I moved to the country 10 years ago and live in some really nice woods. The landscaping around the house still needed to be addressed, though, and every time i thought of how much there was to do, I got overwhelmed and got nothing done. Then I had the bright idea of just taking a 20′ x 20′ area and planting perennials there. Next thing I knew, we had the whole side of the house, plus some, planted with gorgeous perennials!
This actually works with just about any area of my life for me, including cooking. So one area in which I’m going to simplify things is to make sure to include recipe cards for anything I post here that has a recipe with it, to make it easier for any of you reading that want to try out a dish to get the recipe in a concise manner.
I’m also going to work on how I talk about stuff. Part one of that is to write more. The more I write, the more easier it is to write. See? I’m rusty now!
I already started a next-level type thing last summer by joining a local photography club. I’m finding that it’s good to have a group pushing me to learn more and get better. I would look at photos online and get frustrated that I couldn’t produce photos that good. I’m learning a lot about taking all kinds of photos just by putting myself into a group of talented people who share their skills with others. Here are a few of my most recent shots…
And, finally, I’m going to push my cooking up a level or two. I’ll revisit some old dishes to improve them and create some new ones that may not usually be cooked outdoors. On New Year’s Day, I redid an old classic (one that Saveur once named the best entrée for a fancy Christmas dinner), Beef Wellington, originally posted here in 2008.. I took this to the next level by using a food processor to chop up the mushrooms much finer and faster, and I didn’t leave any string that was wrapped around the tenderloin! It was really a great meal, and was actually better than the first time around.
So what are some “next level” things you want to work on this year? If I can help with the food related ones, let me know!