Cooking Through the New Year

20080108-magz.jpgA lot of people make New Year’s resolutions about food, whether it’s to eat less of it in order to lose weight, or to be healthier by replacing cream with skim and switching to fat-free cheese. I’m a waitress at a popular brunch spot in Brooklyn, and I’ve never taken as many orders for egg white omelets as I did on January 1.

While I’m all for maintaining a wholesome diet, I can’t help but feel that these kinds of resolutions aren’t very much fun. Food is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I’m a firm believer that one of the reasons America is in the midst of an obesity-related health crisis is that people don’t take the time to enjoy it properly.

When I was a kid, I once made a New Year’s resolution to begin cutting my own steak instead of letting my mother do it for me. Silly and trivial, I know, but the point is that I vowed to learn something instead of to deny or deprive myself. This year, I decided to make a similar, education-related pledge.

I’m obsessed with food magazines. My coffee table is stacked with them, they overflow from under my bed, they are piled in potentially fire-hazardous heaps on the radiator in my kitchen. Yet often, months go by when I cook nothing from them—I read the recipe head notes on the subway and admire the pictures while sprawled on the couch, but when it’s actually time for dinner I order sushi from around the corner.

So here goes: Currently, I subscribe Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, and Everyday Food. I vow to prepare one dish from each issue this year. That’s four recipes a month. No excuses. No It serves 4 to 6 and I live alone, no My boyfriend won’t eat that. As I go along, I’ll write up the results for all you Serious Eats readers—which recipes I chose, when I made them, and how they turned out. I think it’ll be fun. And by 2009, who knows? Maybe I’ll have mastered the perfect coq au vin. Or at least be able to whip up a batch of killer cookies to spoil your resolution next year.