Two years ago, my whole world revolved around the supermarket. Vegetables knew no season, I didn't think twice about cooking food from a can, and ground beef and rotisserie chicken were a way of life. But very slowly, new doors have opened and a stream of light has come pouring in.
I experienced my first trip to a farmers' market, and what a revelation it was. Sugary sweet strawberries tasted like nothing I'd ever encountered. Fifteen different varieties of citrus, each with its own unique flavor and color, eagerly called out my name. And the meat. Let me just tell you, a fresh farmers' market chicken roasted with just a pat of butter and a sprinkle of salt will change your life.
I've learned what's in season when: why asparagus should be revered in the first months of spring, and left to its' own devices during all other months. How delicious a tomato can truly be when you've forgone watery grocery store tomatoes and waited patiently through the winter months to taste a just-plucked heirloom. Why paying a little more to a farmer for his one-of-kind Blenheim apricots will always win out over paying a little less to a corporate giant for crap.
All this being said, I am just at the beginning of this culinary journey. Convenience often wins out after a long day at work, which means Ralph's is often the quickest way to dinner. And that can of cream of mushroom in my famous Mexican lasagna is, quite frankly, irreplaceable. And sometimes, just sometimes, I can't resist a southern-style chicken sandwich and french fries from McDonalds. And that's okay.
Every day, every meal is about choices: choices that are not always black or white, right or wrong. But here's the thing -- it should be about making a better choice, when possible. So now I give you my culinary resolutions of 2010. Here's hoping to a delicious year!
- Love my farmers. I'm going to make the extra effort on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings to hit up the local markets in my area; get to know the farmers personally; and put my money where my mouth is.
- Eat less meat. But when I do, it will be high-quality, sustainable, free-range meats from reliable vendors. And while this may cost a little more up front, I'll be saving in the end.
- No more processed foods, sodas, and fast-food. Bye bye high-fructose corn syrup, hello healthy heart!
- Grow something green. I don't exactly have a green thumb, so I'm going to start small. Perhaps some herbs in the windowsill. (Walt, I'll need your help on this...)
- Crazy kitchen projects. I look forward to my first endeavors in bread baking, cheese-making, and lots more canning and preserving.
- And lastly, making Dixie Caviar the best it can be. I can't wait to share more Southern recipes from my kitchen, but I want to share more of your recipes, too. Send over your family favorites and the stories behind them. Let's help DC grow!