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December 31, 2012

Pennsylvania is a weird place. Yesterday I was hoping to buy some beer, but apparently the beer distributors are closed on Sunday. You can’t even buy beer in the supermarkets here. I complain sometimes about the restrictive laws of New York State, but perhaps I should learn to be lucky for the good things we have.

The above means that I’m far behind in my New Year’s Eve preparations. The meat store was closed on Sunday as well, so I don’t even have a locally raised pork roast to braise in sauerkraut for good luck in the new year.

Hopefully today I can pick up at least a bottle of bubbly.

It’s going to be an extra low key celebration on the farm this year. My brother-in-law is taking off early with his family, and that cuts the party down to just Mrs. Fussy and myself. Maybe the two of us will practice being really old and play gin rummy while waiting for the clock to strike twelve. Or maybe we’ll just sit on the couch and each read our own books. I’m going to try really hard not to lose myself in a game of Plants vs. Zombies.

Reading is one of those things I’d like to do more of in the new year. Here are some others:

1) Update my blogroll
Wow, that thing is long. It’s not the length I mind. I love being part of a large regional food blogging community. But there are lots of blogs there that have been dormant for a while, and I’m sure there are others that are in my Google Reader and not reflected in the blogroll. If I haven’t linked to you, it’s probably an oversight. Send me an email and nag me. It’s the only way stuff gets done.

2) Make dinner that’s “just food”
This may come as a shock to you, but I have a way of overthinking things. Meals don’t just get made, they are carefully considered. Most dinners take a lot of preparation. More dishes than one might expect are multi-day affairs. Granted, the first day might be soaking beans or making some kind of stock. But it would be great to throw caution and taste to the wind and just toss some wholesome ingredients in a pot with some liquid and seasoning and eat the results.

3) Eat better and be happy about it
Over this trip I finally watched Forks Over Knives. Now I’m not going vegan, but I am tempted to try it for a period of time. Whether that be a week or a month, I don’t know. However it seems like a very good experiment to try before I make an appointment to have my blood cholesterol checked. And it’s not like I eat a lot of meat or dairy anyhow. Yes, I love them. And it would be brutal for me to visit The Cheese Traveler without sampling the amazing foods made from animal products. But I promise there will be many meats and cheeses when I celebrate my good doctor’s report.

4) Exercise more
In theory this should be easy, because I don’t exercise at all now. But I really just don’t see how this one is going to happen. Mostly since the premise is entirely a lie. I don’t really want to exercise. I hate sweating. And my skin is shatteringly dry despite massive attempts at moisturization and strict limits to the time I spend in hot showers. Adding more shower time seems inadvisable, as does walking around with the stench of exertion.

5) Meet more people
It’s hard to tell how many people think I’m still an asshole. The interesting thing is that when people finally meet me in person they find out I’m a nice guy than they imagined. Not that I’m interested in having people like me. The goal here is to make my arguments about food compelling, and if face to face meetings are what’s needed to get people over to my side of the fence, I’m willing to put in the groundwork. Seriously, if you see me out and about please come up and say hello. If I check in somewhere and you’re in the vicinity, you are welcome to drop by. Also, if you are lurking in the shadows of the blog, I’m hoping that this year you’ll find it within yourself to step up and offer a comment. The more the merrier.

6) Make it to the Charles F. Lucas Confectionery
Vic and Heather, if you are reading this, please forgive me. My absence from your establishment is inexcusable. I got to see the space that these two were creating before it opened, and recently I’ve been paying close attention to their Facebook feed. Not only have they brought Blue Bottle Coffee to Troy, but they are bringing in products from one of my favorite wineries in the Anderson Valley. It’s a crime that I’m not there weekly.

7) Get more sleep
I don’t sleep. Mostly because I’ve always done my best work late at night. That doesn’t work so well with two young children in the house who need to go to school and all that rot. So I stay up late at night writing and then wake up early in the morning. It’s not a great combination. Luckily, God gave us coffee. But if I’m ever in a particularly foul mood, it’s probably largely driven by sleeplessness. Seriously, if I were well rested, this would probably turn into the HAPPYlittleBLOG. Maybe it’s not such a good idea after all.

We’ll see how it goes. This is a pretty modest list. Obviously there are a lot of small specific things I want to do over the course of the next year: places I want to eat, events I want to organize, ingredients I want to use, stores I want to shop, tools I want to procure, and a whole host of other food centric things for my food centric life.

I am looking forward to getting back to some more conversations about food when I get back. There are some big topics that I’ve been leaving for that time after the holidays when life returns to normal. Luckily that’s almost upon us. Get ready, because 2013 is going to be dynamite.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2012 11:41 am

    Regarding #4 – excuses, excuses … :)
    Have you thought about getting a dog? Built in exercise right there.
    But, seriously, I could see you enjoying hiking. Someone who enjoys food as much as you do, I could also see you appreciating the beauty the outdoors of this region has to offer. It is all related, circle of life and all that. There are some really easy hikes in the local state parks. At Schodack Island, for example, you might get to spy a bald eagle. This spring/summer I plan on starting to train for a 10K, enjoying our local bike trails more, and tackling a high peak … but I wouldn’t advise starting out at my pace. :)

    Regarding #2, in the warmer months (and in the cold months, though not nearly as often), we will cut up vegetables, measure out cut up chicken breast (usually about 5 oz per meal, which yields about 4 dinners from each package, on average), and throw it in a wok with some kind of Asian style sauce. Cutting the vegetables and chicken takes some time (though not all that much, really), but once the chicken and the cut vegetables are bagged, it is just a matter of taking it out of the fridge and then mixing up some sauce.

    It is so simple that *I* don’t mess it up.

    In the winter months we do a lot of stews and chilis. We used to have a tagine, however the bottom cracked. I want to get C a Le Crueset tagine, which is cast iron and therefore won’t crack, but they’re expensive. This takes longer to cook, of course, but not really any longer to prepare. You can also make a lot of it in the crockpot, which means it cooks while I am at work.

    Regarding #3, we’re not giving up meat and dairy, but we’ve really been good about cutting back on it and only purchasing happy meat. We still have meat for (usually) at least one meal a day on most days, but we’ll have a small portion and we’ll supplement it with a LOT of vegetables. In the summer, it is not uncommon for us to have an all-veggie stir fry with our CSA bounty. I would really like to start weaning off of rice – we eat far too much of it. I’ve been trying to cut back on it in meals, but C loves having something to soak up all the juices. I really want to try cauliflower for this. We’ve already (mostly) replaced potatoes with sweet potatoes … replacing rice with cauliflower has been a tougher sell. :)

    • December 31, 2012 11:43 am

      Oh! One more thing. Which winery in the Alexander Valley are you referring to? C keeps telling people that was my favorite when we visited Sonoma back in May. While I liked it very much, certainly, I actually liked Dry Creek better. It’s just that all of the tasting room workers were so nice in the Alexander Valley, giving us tasting coupons and comping us all over … :)

  2. December 31, 2012 12:39 pm

    Love this. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to try out a bunch of different “diets” and eating habits. Maybe Veganism will make the list.

    Anytime you need a buddy for The Confectionery, let me know!

    And whenever somebody says you seem like a total Crankenstein, I always sing your nice-guy praises :).

    Wishing you a lovely 2013!

  3. Kate H permalink
    December 31, 2012 12:52 pm

    I with Irisira on #4 – there’s a ton of great outdoor walks that don’t require a whole lot of exertion but will help you stay healthy. Schodack Island, Grafton, Thatcher and there’s a ton of Nature Conservancy places in Albany County.

    My goals are to learn to love kale, eat more local food and try out some of the recipes in the numerous cookbooks people have given me to see if they’re worth the shelf space.

    The Charles F. Lucas Confectionery and The Olde English are on the places to try in January.

  4. December 31, 2012 2:10 pm

    Walking is exercise. So is dancing, if that’s your thing (even if it’s putting on some music and shaking it as you’re putting away dishes, that’s physical activity, it counts).

  5. December 31, 2012 3:27 pm

    Seriously, trying to buy booze in Pennsylvania is the biggest hassle. Makes all these other states trying to cling to their 17th century values, like NY and Mass., pale in comparison.

    I am still amused by the 4 a.m. last call here, though. I’d expect that in, say, Montana, but here?

    Oh and damn right about needing to get to the Confectionery. Right near the top of my list, too.

  6. Michaeline permalink
    January 2, 2013 4:28 pm

    Happy New Year Daniel……

  7. January 2, 2013 11:15 pm

    I could have brought a fresh piece of pork and homemade saurkraut over when my son and I were there for a visit. My son and I had a very nice evening with the family. We alweays have fresh pork because we butcher alot. I also make alot of saurkraut. Happy New Year to you and your family.

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