The hangovers have (mostly) cleared, the sun is shining brightly, marijuana is legal and gym memberships are spiking all around the country. Which all means one thing: the time for making and breaking resolutions is upon us.
Personally, I'm not one for resolutions. The whole idea of an effectively arbitrary day on which to place a ton of pressure toward self-improvement seems to beg for failure. But when gearing up for this column, I thought about all the different food-related resolutions people perennially make — lose weight, hit the gym more, eat more vegetables, etc. Fortunately, we live in trim-and-fit Aspen so for most of us, these aren't really an issue.
So then I thought a little more about the types of foodie things I wanted to accomplish. So here I present a foodie checklist for the New Year. Am I resolved to make them all happen? No, but I think they're all pretty great things to do for any year, new or not. In no specific order...
Host More Dinner Parties
This is a no-brainer for me. I'm hard-pressed to remember a dinner party at which I didn't have a really good time. Friends, food, wine, and board games — instant recipe for success. And if you think your apartment is too small, think again. One of the best dinner parties I ever attended was a few years ago in a studio apartment in downtown Aspen. We all sat on pillows around a coffee table and had a blast. And try inviting a few people outside of your normal close circle. Intimate gatherings offer a excellent opportunity to get to know new people. You might just walk away with a new friend.
Try New Cheeses
Cheese is one of my favorite food groups. But, like most people, I have my go-tos at the grocery store. But there's far more to the world of cheese than sharp cheddar, goat, brie, and blue. How about a crumbly, sharp, nutty Roquefort? A buttery Camembert? Cojita on tacos, salads, soups, and guacamole? Or try a nice Manchego in your next grilled cheese. There are over 900 known cheeses in the world. So try a few new ones at your next dinner party.
Take a Cooking Class
These are just down right fun. Learn a new dish to impress the gentleman or lady in your life while picking up key skills that can be applied to all types of dishes. I recommend M&M Catering and Cooking School out at the Airport Business Center. The top-notch chefs host everything from kids cooking classes, baking seminars to, my favorite, ethnic cooking classes like South American cuisine, tapas, Thai and Indian cooking classes.
Use Those Cook Books
Pretty much every apartment/house I've been to has at least a few cookbooks lying around. But how often do you actually crack them and make a recipe? So this year, try to cook one recipe from each book and make them more than just decoration.
How much food do you end up throwing out at the end of the week or month? If you're like most Americans, then the answer is a lot. More than 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted annually, much of which is completely avoidable with a little planning. For people not feeding large families, that means adopting a more European approach to shopping by stopping by the grocery store on the way home after work just for the meal you plan on eating that night. Or buying less of ingredients while you are there. Also, plan meals that use similar ingredients. Taco night can very easily become omelet morning.