It’s true what they say about babies taking a lot of time. I thought I was going to be immune. I’m super-organized, efficient, and not prone to waste time which are good qualities for still accomplishing things even in the midst of total chaos. Yet even I found myself stunned by how time disappeared in 2014.
For regular followers of this blog, you may remember that my husband and I adopted a beautiful baby girl in January of this past year. It was certainly the highlight of our year and we’ve loved the past 11 months of baby giggles, first steps, and open-mouthed kisses. While the joys are too many to count, the time crunch remains a challenge and we are still figuring out how to get everything done as hours disappear between feedings, naps, and diaper changes.
In what has to be a law of the universe, when long naps are needed babies don’t sleep and my cooking, which use to be a leisurely pursuit with NPR and no timeline involved, now involves me pleading with my little one to put on the brakes as I peel carrots into a sink still full of dirty breakfast dishes. If I’m lucky, my baby will stop to consider my request (buying me a few extra precious seconds) before plunging herself into our dog’s water bowl. From there, hands must be washed, the floor dried, and baby must be strategically placed in a location that will allow me to chop an onion before she pulls herself up on a floor lamp.
Still, in what is evidence that miracles do happen, this marks my 60th blog post for 2014. For all the things that I did not get done in 2014, it’s nice to review my blog from the past year and see what I did accomplish one post at a time. I had forgotten that I discovered I really like black bass, that one person can make 5 meals for 2 people from one chicken, and that pancakes can be made with beer. And for all the days that I did not leave my house, it’s nice to see that readers from as far away as Kyrgyzstan, Slovenia, Suriname, and Namibia peeked into my kitchen by way of this blog.
Made from Scratch Cake Pops were the top post of 2014 (oh, the irony) although my favorite recipes from the past year would be pickled shrimp, Buffalo chicken wings without the fryer, or the very easy, but irresistible acorn squash with miso-butter. Of the almost 60 recipes from this year, I hope you’ve found a new favorite; I always love hearing from readers about what recipes you make again and again.
Looking forward, my main goal in 2015 is to claim more (uninterrupted) time for my cooking. I’m eager to experiment with grains (I tend to prepare them the same way every time) and want to get more creative with my vegetable cookery. Getting a head start on those goals, I’ve been flipping through Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook Plenty More and the photography alone has left me inspired and hungry.
This time of year, I always like to expand my cookbook library and 2014 provided plenty of books worthy of consideration. New books by two of my favorite bakers, Rose Levy Berenbaum and Dorie Greenspan, have me preheating the oven and Charles Phan’s The Slanted Door on Vietnamese cooking has me heading to my kitchen instead of my favorite take-out place.
In addition to working on menus for FOOD LOVE classes and private dinners, I’ll spend the first part of 2015 building out my lesson plans for my class at John C. Campbell Folk School this June. I’m teaching a week-long survey course on South American Cooking and I’m looking forward to immersing myself in the subject matter over the next couple of months. Recipe-testing means my refrigerator will be full of ajis, ceviche, and empanadas and I look forward to sharing some of my favorite dishes with you here on Minced. Space is still available in the class and I’d love for you to join me in beautiful Brasstown, NC this summer.
But before I tackle my lengthy list of 2015 to-dos, first I need to make sure I have good fortune in 2015. If you visit my kitchen tomorrow you’ll find collard greens and black-eyed peas simmering on my stove top for just that purpose. I recommend you do the same. After all, you don’t mess with a recipe for a year’s worth of prosperity. Thank you, hungry readers for your support this past year; I look forward to feeding your appetites in 2015 and wish you a happy, healthy, and delicious new year.