Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Culinary Aspirations for 2016

I wanted to learn how to embroider this year. So after finals this past semester, I went to Joann Fabrics to pick up a hoop, a 24 pack of embroidery thread, a needle kit, and this cake pattern. Finally, with a little time to myself, not inundated by papers, exams, or homework assignments, I sat to watch a few YouTube videos to learn how to embroider...cat in lap, and tea sitting right next to me...like I'm already little old lady. Funny though, once I started, I realized that I had already learned this somehow--like the spirit of a lifetime ago was patiently reminding me how to back stich. When I was a kid though, I half paid attention to the lessons my mother taught me about needle and thread, probably when I would have rather been doing something else, I'm sure. All of this came back to me, and I fell in love with embroidery. Thus far, I have embroidered cards, baby onesies for my cousins baby shower, and soon I will be tackling some Mexican floral patterns. 2016 was supposed to be my year to learn how to embroider...turns out that year was actually 1990, but still, 2016 will be the year I actually embroider.

This still leaves me with needing to fill the spot of "Goal for 2016". This year I will be turning 34. I've turned into a grown-ass woman...and grown ass women make goals--or something (I don't know, I'm just here, not really knowing what I'm doing half the time). Of course exercising and general organization of thoughts, things, and knick-knacks make the list, but I (ME), I am a constant student of food, and nothing usually takes precedence in my life over food. So here are my culinary aspirations for 2016.

This year, I want to...
1. Learn at least one enduring recipe or technique from a family member.
            My wife’s grandmother makes tamales every year for Christmas; the holiday staple that gets made in enormous quantities, served on Christmas day and bagged up at the end of the night for everyone to take at least 12 home. This December, my wife, her aunt, grandmother and myself gathered around the kitchen table, draped in a vinyl tablecloth with blue flowers on it to assemble the tamales for Christmas 2015. I learned how to fill and fold the tamales but the secret, sacred pork filling recipe was made ahead of time, and this year I want to learn how to make it. It would also be great to have my mom over and have her teach me how to make pozole. I have a soft spot in my heart for the porky stew with white hominy and chilies, topped with fresh lime, radish, onion and cilantro. Damn, that stuff is good!

2. Food writing.
            I can’t think of anything I love writing about more than food. A few years ago I got myself all worked up about constantly having a gorgeous photo, a recipe, and an interesting story to match when I write and post on OriginalCinn. Its because I had this ridiculous notion that I can’t have a successful blog without having all that jazz. It got me so frazzled that I had a complex every time I posted, frantically photographing in the shitty light available in my apartment, manically reading the content over and over again to make sure it was perfect before posting, then waiting patiently for comments to come pouring in…
But I have news for myself—I ain’t got time for that, yo! I vow, or solemnly swear or whatever to just write…about food because I love it, whatever I make, however it comes out, photographed in whatever light. Because, yeah.

3. Try new cuisine. Often.
            I admit this is in part due to my upcoming travels to Iceland. Never before did I think I would ever go to a place like Iceland, but I am so, so excited to be traveling to a place where the climate is something I have never experienced, and also a food culture I have never experienced. All that, while accommodating T’s gluten intolerance so I’m pretty sure there will be a Gluten Free Reykjav√≠k post in the near future! Other than that, there are so many different cuisines in my area that it would just be silly not to find a new culture to experience within my city limits as often as I can…and then write about it.

4. Cook and learn from my vintage cookbooks.
            I went to an estate sale where there were probably thousands of cookbooks from the 1800s to the 1970s available for purchase at an incredible price. From the few I have picked up, I have learned so much about how people used to eat during the World Wars, in the 1890s, and what stands now in the place of where businesses used to be a century ago. There was a shop that stood on Market, a place for corsets, and bonnets in San Francisco, and now that address belongs to a McDonalds. The building above that used to be a hotel, is now offices. Fascinating, right? I have an amazing collection, and I need to really study them this year from an anthropological and culinary perspective.

5. Find a way to teach again.
            I really don’t think anything has given me any more joy in my culinary career than teaching. I really miss it and I will need to find a way to do it again. Even if it is teaching my goddaughters to make something yummy, teaching my wife how to do something cool in the kitchen, or teaching a group of people in a classroom like I used to. It is so much fun, and I can’t wait to get back in and start teaching again.

6. Transfer all of my recipes from notebooks to my computer.

            In all of the years I worked in restaurants, I wrote in notebooks. Now all of those recipes need to be transferred to my computer. It’s a lot of recipes, some I hope to revisit. On another note, I need to edit some recipes too. This is making my brain hurt and gives me heart palpitations...I have. So. Many. Recipes.

I will probably reach these goals, one way or another. I value every day I get to be here on this earth and experience everything I can. In combination with school, work, all of my craft projects, keeping up with reading and writing for my other projects, and cooking for my lovely wife, I feel like 2016 will be the year I experience, and write as much as I possibly can. 

Thanks for listening.


  1. Can I help eat the Christmas tamales? Oh and I will sign up for your cooking class. I need to expand beyond quesadillas and pancakes.

    1. I would love to help you expand your repertoire! Lets set it up! Thanks for your comment, Love.

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