Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead book cover

For the last ten years or so I’ve written out New Year’s Intentions.  They are like resolutions but a bit less, well, resolute.

They represent goals and habits that I’m interested in building a life on, but they lack the forcefulness and grit the term “resolutions” implies. The usual suspects health, fitness and family make regular appearances on the annual lists as do career and financial goals.  Results, to put it mildly, vary.

One area that’s been a particular struggle is the eating well intention. After years of study, I now have a very sophisticated food philosophy.  Problem is, I’m entirely ill-equipped to live it.

Like an increasing number of American women, I’m concerned about the origin of most of the food I eat and the industrial food complex that delivers it.  I believe that buying and preparing fresh, healthy and sustainably sourced food is among the most powerful ways I can have a positive moral, political and environmental impact in the world.  I also have no clue as to how to do this on a consistent basis.

The combination of my increasingly high food “intentions” and embarrassingly poor meal planning, sourcing and preparation skills led to major kitchen fails daily in 2013.  I’m talking about exorbitant grocery bills that don’t add up to meals anyone would want to eat.  Community supported agriculture vegetables literally rotting on the counter. And lots and lots of eating out.  The situation would be really funny if I didn’t think food was incredibly important.

But I’ve gotten serious about getting my kitchen act together.  I’m armed with Betty Crocker Cooking Basics, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything: The Basics and a raft of as-seen-on-TV kitchen gadgets (Vidalia Chop Wizard, anyone?).  I’ve also got backup in the form of several kitchen-capable friends I can call when things get tough. This year I learn to cook.

The Intention

I cook healthy, delicious meals for my family daily. 

The Mantra

Competence before excellence.

First Steps

  • Know what it takes to fully stock my kitchen for a week’s worth of healthy, delicious meals.
  • Maintain a digital list of these kitchen staples, organized by the grocery store aisles in which they reside.
  • Keep it simple and rely upon recipes from basic cookbooks.

It’s early, but it’s working.  I have cooked and eaten every meal at home every day this year, except for nachos at a sports grill where my husband tapes his radio show.  I intend to keep it up.  Wish me luck!

Question: What have you resolved to do differently this year?  How’s it going?  Any tips?

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