After finishing graduate school (hello, MA in Writing!), I’ve had to reacquaint myself with life a little bit — you know, that whole “free time” after work thing I’ve been hearing so much about. It’s taken me a little time to get used to the idea that I can actually pursue other interests—aside from reading and writing. For someone who loves learning and exploring as much as I do, there are many worthy pursuits competing for my attention—but aside from journaling more and reading the books I actually want to read (old habits die hard), I’ve still had that naggy feeling of what am I doing with myself?
When talking to my husband about this, he challenged me with a question: what exactly do you feel like you don’t have enough time for? In all the complaining and rushing from appointment to to-do list, I hadn’t actually pinpointed what I wanted to do.
The answer came simply: more cooking! More dinner parties!
I’ve joked for long enough that “all of my goals are food-related” without taking the time to follow through. When I sat down to write out my “food-related” goals, I was buzzing with excitement, one idea tumbling out after another. I blame it on my inner critic and inner academic for not taking it seriously at first. Food, after all, is a worthy pursuit! Food is nourishment, culture, creativity, resourcefulness. All things I care deeply about. To me, it is the language of love.
I’ve been cooking since I was 7, more passionately since I ventured off to college, particularly in the past few years after. Our culture tends to obsess over food and often has an unhealthy relationship to food — how much, what, when, this is good, that is bad. For me, learning more about ingredients, cooking, and culture has been a way to break that pesky cycle and find more freedom in the kitchen. So, to tack on to cooking! dinner parties! I’ll also say, more information!
I aim for this blog to be a place to hold myself accountable to these goals, these passions — and to share what I learn. Field Notes on Feasting will be as much a scientific exploration as a creative pursuit. I’ll be reading, learning, and sharing information, exploring and observing with diligent notes, trying and playing, and sharing and entertaining. True to my list-making nature, I’ve written a few food-related things I aim to explore in Field Notes on Feasting, below.
Food goals or bust!
Cooking 101: Revisiting the Basics – I consider myself to be a pretty adventurous cook. I am comfortable in the kitchen. I have learned from watching and doing. But I have missed out on the instruction of the basics. If I could go back in time, I may have nudged my teen self to go into culinary arts rather than academia so I could satisfy my interests in the science behind cooking and the proper way to hold a knife, chop an onion, or make an omelet.
Ingredients – Sourcing, eating responsibly, seasonal cooking, learning herbs and spices, foraging, storing food, prepping ingredients, DIY.
Sustainability – Wasting less, using scraps and leftovers, food preservations methods, growing food, eco-friendliness.
Learning from Others – Reading books about food and cooking, cookbooks, reviews, testing recipes, notes from cooking, restaurant reviews, drawing inspiration.
Culture – History of various cuisines, regional cooking, holiday cooking.
The Art of Sharing – Entertaining with Food – dinner parties, themed meals, holidays, tea, brunch, romantic meals, cooking for two, food gifts for hosts, tablescapes and decor, DIY.
Libations – Wine facts and pairings, cocktails, bourbon basics, ingredients (DIY, history, best of), bar basics and techniques, bar snacks.
Always Prepared – Tools and Tricks – food to make ahead, substitutions, meal planning, grocery lists to maximize ingredients, taking care of kitchen tools, stocking the pantry.