In some ways, I might remember 2014 as a year of unparalleled distress. Not only has the national news been in the last few months downright tragic; but on a personal level, I will never forget the anxiety of this summer as my family struggled with the fear of losing my grandmother to cancer. There is nothing I’m more grateful for, looking back on this year, than the miraculous recovery she made after surgery. In light of that blessing, I’m trying really hard to concentrate instead on all the good I’ve experienced in the last year.
In 2014, I turned 25, celebrated my first wedding anniversary, earned my first career promotion, and started writing this blog. I traveled to Florida and Oregon, two states I’d never been to before. I witnessed three beautiful weddings. I had a lightbulb moment when I discovered that I experience ASMR, which has totally changed the way I sleep and combat stress. I tasted so many things for the first time: raw oysters, kimchi, rhubarb, mustard greens, garlic scapes, carrot tops, ground cherries, and my first margarita. I treasured my kitchen.
Not one hour ago, I completed my 2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge, a personal goal of 30 books. They totaled nearly 10,000 pages. Here they are, starting with the most recently completed:
Among them were 9 fiction and 21 nonfiction, most of which were food-related. Continuing in that vein, some of my upcoming reads include Cooked by Michael Pollen, New York Street Food by Tom Vandenberghe, Jacqueline Goossens, and Luk Thys, Provence 1970 by Luke Barr, and Queens: A Culinary Passport by Andrea Lynn.
Despite varying levels of success, I enjoyed cooking my recipe per month from Notes from the Larder. I’m saving my final December recipe (Parmesan and mascarpone rarebit puffs) for this Sunday, when I’m having the family over for Armenian Christmas dinner. For 2015, I have a less regimented goal, but it’s in keeping with the spirit of documenting my attempts at new recipes. I hardly ever turn to most of the huge selection of cookbooks up on my kitchen shelf. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to open them more often and try new things.
Speaking of new experiences, a few weeks ago, Malvina and I participated in a company event volunteering at City Harvest in Long Island City. We spent the afternoon packing thousands of apples to be distributed to food pantries and at their mobile markets throughout the city. Seeing their operation and how much food they’ve rescued from farms and local businesses was jaw-dropping. It really inspired me to get more involved. Doing more volunteer work with them is definitely a huge goal of mine for the coming year.
Lastly, I’m resolving to maintain a mindfulness about my health and nutrition. I recently started taking Zumba classes twice a week. I dropped my daily Starbucks coffee. I’ve been thinking more and more about making good choices in general, and I feel better about myself than I did just a month or two ago. Here’s to keeping that momentum going into the new year. As I say every year, my New Year’s resolution is just to be better, however I can and whatever that may mean to me each passing day.
The book I just finished this evening, The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection could not have had a more apt conclusion for a year-end read.
In cuisine, and in all life.