A New Year

Here’s something you need to know about me: I take New Year’s very seriously. As someone who really struggles to be “in the now” and “in the moment”, New Year’s is the time for me when there isn’t a present – there is only the year that came before and the year to come, only past and future. I can reflect on where I’ve been and where I’d like to go. This is the time when I indulge in major introspection and evaluate my life and its direction.

That said, I don’t care for resolutions. I mean, why set myself up to fail? Rather, I make a list of goals…because I’m just that anal-retentive. I’m *such* a list maker! I like a list that I can check off; it helps me feel like I accomplished something when I see a list of crossed-off things.

So after some reflection, here is the list of my current goals for 2009, as they pertain to children’s literature and food*:

- Host a dinner party. A proper one. None of this “hey, dudes, come on over!” sort of willy-nilly thing I do. But a real event. Something coordinated and planned. I want multiple courses. I want ironed table linens. I want candlelight. I want a coordinated playlist on my iPod. I want eight people – enough that I have to put the leaf in my table. Hell, I might even bake. I’m already formulating my invitation list…and you may just be on it (though you will have to trek to Queens)!

- Delve into some other international cuisine. I know, “delve into” is vague. But I can’t “master” anything…god knows I’m far from mastering anything. But I want to explore and become familiar with some other cuisine. This French…Italian…pseudo-Spanish thing I have going needs to be put on pause. It’s not so much a rut as it’s a…habit. I was thinking Indian initially, but more and more I’m thinking Latin America. I just love the flavors, particularly on these dreary cold NYC days. Any cookbook recommendations or chefs I need to be aware of?

- I want to be a little more serious in my reading. It was embarrassing talking to Betsy yesterday: I told her I hadn’t read The Underneath…or any other book in Newbery contention. She said, “Well, you’ve read Chains, right?” Um…negative. “Graveyard Book?” Yeah, no. Her eyes bugged out of her head. How embarrassing to admit that I’ve spent all my time reading foodie books, The Luxe, and Georgia Nicolson. Particularly when I have Newbery Committee aspirations. I’ve got no street cred among my peeps. Again, this goal is kind of vague…but I’ll work on it nonetheless.

- Master the soufflé. It will be mine. Oh, yes, it will be mine. Even if I have to go All The Way to Brooklyn and make Ellen teach me.

- Finish the article I’m working on for a children’s book review publication. It’s meant for a particular journal, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing that here. But I do want to submit it for publication. The key is that I have to…you know…actually write it if I expect to finish it.

- Re-read some classics. I spend so much time forging ahead with my books that I don’t often go back and revisit some books I have loved in the past. Some ideas: The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (I actually hated this in high school…I’m hoping I’ll appreciate it with an adult perspective), Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements (I loooooooved this as a kid – I thought it would be fun to re-read it). And for heaven's sake, I will read my first Roald Dahl book this year.

- Be more active in the blogsphere. Join Barefoot Bloggers. Or do Poetry Friday. Or go to a Slow Food NYC event. Get more involved.

- Try more foods. I will try foie gras this year; I’m ethically opposed to it, but I still want to see what the fuss is about. And I have never had a brussel sprout – must do. Haven’t had a beet either so I’m doing that this year as well.

- Continue to combine my love of food and books. In particular, plan an outing. I talked with Andrea about it…and now Molly and I have talked…and I want to get my foodie book friends together for food adventures in the city (or outside of it...road trip to wineries on Long Island, anyone?). Starting with Calexico in Brooklyn…I’ll make the trek for a mission-style burrito, especially one Andrea swears by. And I want to eat at Union Square Café since I’ve never been…and I’ll invite my foodie book friends…we’ll channel Ina Garten who says it’s her favorite restaurant in the city.

- Split a CSA box with friends this summer. Really, there is no excuse in the world why I shouldn’t.

And those are just a few of the things I want to do this year…

Eat, drink, and make the most of every year…and every moment.

* Because you don’t need to know about the other ones, like go to the dentist (you couldn’t begin to guess when my last visit occurred) or declutter my closet.


Anali said...

Wow, you listed my own To-Read list: I've been meaning to read (or re-read) your whole revisit list. I loved Nothing's Fair, and Dahl's The BFG in particular.

Susan T. said...

Oh, Laura, do try foie gras. I'm opposed to it, too, theoretically, but Lordee, I've about keeled over in delight when I ate it.

You try foie gras, and I'll try truffles, okay?

Andrea V.J. said...

Calexico is due to open in early February. The whole Columbia Street Waterfront District is quivering with anticipation.

Ellen said...

Well, we can got to Union Square Cafe (also my favorite restaurant in the city, but I eat at the bar and love it!) AND get foie gras. It's like buttah. Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Lisa said...

Um, I don't care if we're in CA. We had better be invited to your oh-so-elegant dinner party - at least in spirit!

Nicole said...

Great bucket list for the year, Laura! I should do the same. I feel I have been so out of touch with the blogging community lately and I really need to get back on track with my life goals and desires. Happy 2009 to you!

Sarah Hinkle said...

Read the Twits Laura! So hilarious and you can finish it in 20 minutes. Also I recommend Ina's roasted brussel sprouts recipe... they are almost like popcorn!

Anonymous said...

how on earth have you made it through life without eating a single brussel sprout? my mother practically stuffed them in our mattresses. maybe you were one of those cool families i yearned to be a part of.. you know, those who didn't shop at the food co-op and get their honey in 3 gallon metal cans..

Anonymous said...

oh, and gatsby is much better the second time around, i read it on the plane to buenos aires. i feel i have the right to chime in since we read it together in the same class, likely wearing matching keds.

Anonymous said...

I will completely vow for your street cred, hon. And on a completely unrelated note, a dinner party, eh? Gee, that would sure be interesting. Getting to see a Laura Lutz dinner party. >stares pointedly in Laura's direction for an uncomfortable amount of time<