Over here 2011 included starting this blog, finishing grad school, moving to Madison, starting two new jobs and setting down roots. The last two weeks were a flurry all their own with family festivities in the warm south and more carousing with the good folks in the rural parts of (slightly colder) southern Wisconsin. Cooking, eating, storytelling, trouble-making, indulging, more eating, a bit of drinking, more eating and a few too many m&m's (it's a long story) filled most of my time. And now we're all tucked in back to our cozy, hidden home in Madison and I'm ready for a sweet little exhale. So it's out with 2011, out with hurry-scurry, out with the handful of parsnips in the fridge that didn't make the haul and it's hello to the dark, cozy, slow months of the beginning of this new year and the half-pint of duck fat in the freezer.
I love that January and February extend us their cold, dark days as a good reason to take it slow, hold still and imbibe every warm concoction imaginable. There is a natural slow down after the rush of the holidays, and it feels just right to sip into weeks of soup with potent flavor that warm you from the inside out. I am excited for flavor dense winter soups, pots of chili with canned and frozen tomatoes and the summer flavors of the chutneys, pickles, relishes and syrups casting sunshine in the cupboards. I especially like the Canal House Cleanse writing from the January edition of Bon Appetite. No it's not actually a cleanse, it's just a beautiful sentiment ending with this:
"It is great and hopeful, this tradition of turning over a new leaf. We've got a few resolutions for 2012 that we hope will stick: We promise to enjoy life more, to simplify, and to feed our minds as well as our bodies."
I am not a resolution type of person. I did not resolve to eat less (who would do that), exercise more (i like my dog walks and bike rides), call my mom more often or any of that. [Although I figure it's best to cut down on the butter in the next few weeks, but that's a different story.] However, I do like goals, and last night after unpacking our week-and-a-half haul of luggage (the skis we packed hoping for snow), gifts (smartwools, lavender and stationery!), leftovers (stinky cheese and the whatnot mom wants to get rid of), dirty laundry (self-explanatory) and dog supplies (also self-explanatory) we set to making a very short and spontaneous list. Lofty goals they may be, but I like them. N set the goal of selling a loaf of her bread. Mine is to complete a business plan and begin building equity in a herd, somehow. Our together we're aiming at renting a U-haul (the third time in a year and a half)...which means a move to the farm. Yup, the totally yet-to-be-discovered and yet-to-be-located farm. That's a good start to the year, and I have no problem aiming high.
Beyond the oh-so-official sounding goals above, I'll get back to posting an episode of Pens to Pasture: Fodder from the Field each Monday. If you love the e-mails, blog, website or newsletter of your farmers, please share them with me at here. I'm still muddling along at sprucing up the blog, which is a fun adventure, and there's more to come on that in February! I've also created a Facebook page for Just Write Food, which you can visit here. I dare you to visit the page and "Like" it, and then you can get the short-attention-span version of the blog and food news galore.
May you have a wonderful and bright start to your 2012! I send you warm wishes for hearty meals, adventures finding your favorite ingredients and the best weather for growing your favorite crops. Cheers!