New Year’s Resolution: A Cooking Challenge
Did you make a New Year’s resolution? Did you think about a New Year’s resolution for a cooking challenge? Maybe you picked some of the standard resolutions like improving your health, weight loss, time for yourself, or self-improvement. Maybe you have a New Year’s resolution to connect more deeply with friends, family, or a significant other? A resolution involving cooking is a great way to start the New Year and meet your goals for better health, weight loss, self-improvement, and connection! And, it might even be a resolution that you can keep!
Every year we start over. The calendar starts over. Our dreams get rebooted. Our desires are re-ignited. The entire year lies before you with the potential to be your best year ever! Who wouldn’t be excited and optimistic?
So, let go of last year — especially last year! This is the time to move forward setting new intentions for our lives that will refresh, enlighten, focus, challenge, and hopefully, give us something to savor in the end. A cooking challenge for a New Year’s resolution might even be fun!
Refresh with a New Year’s Cooking Resolution
January is a time to refresh and freshen up our desires, goals, and choices. So many people are on 30 day decluttering challenges, detox challenges, or weight loss challenges. This isn’t just about your figure. What kind of weight do you carry emotionally or physically in your home? Are there things you need to unburden, clean out, or rephrase? If you don’t know what you want do you know what you DON’T want? Sometimes clearing out what does not apply means gaining clarity on what does apply.
Refresh your perspective about cooking. What are the cons of cooking? Preparation, clean up, time, and energy for a start. What are the pros? Developing your skills. Explore new cuisines. Gathering with others to connect. What better way to connect with others than to show love for them by feeding them a healthy (usually), great-tasting meal?
Gather your family in the kitchen and around the table to share an experience, converse, exchange ideas, air concerns or fears, celebrate successes, share joys and dreams, get support for challenges, and make memories. Cooking can refresh your perspective on family time.
Enlighten Yourself with a Cooking Challenge
So many people told me about cooking challenges they took on when everyone was in lockdown. They kept trying until they could create that daunting 9 layer cake, make perfect macarons, maintain a sourdough starter, or finally tackle that special recipe they never took the time in the past to make.
Apparently, many cooking ideas and challenges presented themselves when time became less of a factor. Each challenge rewarded the cooks with great memories, increased kitchen confidence, and quite a few laughs. Yes, a few tears were reported along the way as occasionally lessons have a pinch of frustration in them. But the cooks did not quit until their challenge met with a successful outcome. And they all readily admit they are better, more enlightened cooks because they embraced their challenges.
Just Pick One!
Well, here is a whole new year! Choose what you want to accomplish in the kitchen and make it a goal! Pick a good challenge that will enlighten you, educate you, or just be fun to try. If it doesn’t scare you a little bit then maybe you want to take some time and dig a little deeper. What do you want to try that really excites you and makes you a bit nervous?
Once you have come up with a few cooking challenge ideas, just pick one! None of them are wrong if you are considering them. Start with the one that excites you or inspires you or just piques your curiosity.
FOCUS on Your Cooking Challenge
When you accept your challenge – FOCUS on it.
The 9-Hour Cake
- First things first. What do you need to accomplish your cooking resolution challenge? Take stock of what you have and what you need. Think about the time you’ll need to set aside and pick a date. If you don’t have a “No Later Than” date, odds are you won’t finish.
- Oddball Equipment. If you need that special icing kit or pan is it worth the investment? Is this a one and done for you or are you willing to invest in new equipment? If expensive tools are not in the budget, can you think of a workaround?
- I made a huge 5 layer cake, which I call the 9-Hour Cake, for my Mom’s birthday last year. It required special piping tips and some other equipment I did not have and really did not want to buy. So I did a little research online and decided to use Ziploc bags instead of the fancy items in the recipe. The icing did not look at all like the perfect recipe photo, but I unleashed my inner Jackson Pollock and it turned out beautifully!
- Connect. Do you want help in the kitchen or do you want to share your creation with others when it is complete? Either way, cooking something special with and for others is a worthwhile endeavor. Invite someone or several, over for an adventure. Remember, if it doesn’t turn out, you can always order pizza.
- Be Undistracted. Dedicate the time you need to work on your cooking resolution. We’re not talking about completing the Culinary Institute of America’s Master Degree program in a month. (Well, if you are then I am duly impressed!) Set aside a little time to research how others have tackled your recipe or cooking technique or dinner party planning. (Hint: LoneStarGatherings.com has menus to help with that!) Knowing how others have succeeded will boost your confidence that you can do it too!
- Step into your kitchen. Just get started cooking! This is supposed to be FUN! Pro tip: Remember to keep wine close by. I always cook with wine. Sometimes it even goes in the recipe.
Savor Your Success
Most importantly, enjoy the process as well as the results. So many of us are focused on the destination or end result we miss the good stuff in the middle of the trip. Last year enlightened me by showing me that a lot of time can go by without having to arrive at a destination. There are many opportunities to change course which can enhance any journey beyond your expectations.
So cheers to making a cooking resolution for the New Year and to enjoy your journey — with a glass of wine. Well, make it a bottle. Then you can share!
P.S. When you decide on your Cooking Resolution or challenge for the New Year, email me at [email protected] and tell me all about it! I’d love to help!
I occasionally teach friends and neighbors to bake bread–just a basic white loaf of “sandwich bread.” I teach it more to allow them to realize that they don’t knead (ha ha) to be afraid of yeast. One thing I will tell them is that I’ve had bread bricks come out of the oven. I try to figure out why but I’ve never let that stop me. And besides, they’re really good tasting bricks. I will slice them very thinly and then toast them in the oven; they make great crackers.
Sue, Homemade crackers sound good to me! I agree with you to keep trying. Rome was not built in a day. I embrace Julia Child’s attitude when it comes to trying new things in the kitchen. She believed you just have to have a “what-the-hell” attitude! I couldn’t have said it better myself! Cheers!