Happy New Year's!

I've mentioned here before how seriously I take New Year's Eve and the few days that precede and follow it.  Sure, I party and celebrate with the best of 'em...but I also take a moment for introspection and, truth be known, I shed a few tears of happiness every year.  To me, New Year's is one of the rare times when we have no other choice but to live in the moment, straddling what has passed and what is to come. I take stock of what I've done and who I am...and I think about how that'll look going forward.  And it's a bonus if I get to share all this with friends and family.  And I did this year, toasting to me, Adam, and Bug moving to Manhattan, toasting to the Soul Twin and The Other Husband moving to NYC, toasting to my new position as visiting assistant professor at Pratt Institute (oh, wait...did I not tell you guys about that yet?  More to come...).  In the end, Adam and I invoked one of our favorite toasts: "To all our shit!"  Seriously.  Because we're vulgar and dorky that way.

I'm still getting my feet back under me, post-holiday, so it'll be a couple days before I'm back with recipes, photos, and chatter.  In the meantime, my rad friend Jen sent me this article: "A Recipe for Simplifying Life: Ditch All the Recipes" by Tara Parker-Pope, and I would love for the rest of you to take a look at it as well.  Let me know what you think.  I have conflicting feelings about the book Parker-Pope is discussing, AN EVERLASTING MEAL: COOKING WITH ECONOMY AND GRACE by Tamar Adler...or, more accurately, I have issues with Parker-Pope's complete reverence for it in this article.

First, I think not having a gimmick is the new gimmick and, as someone who has been in marketing for a publisher, I see the marketing behind this book from a mile away.  Second, cooking isn't easy and I have real problems with any book that makes the promise that it is (even my beloved Ina is guilty of this).  Why not say that, yes, it is hard work?  Yes, it does take up a large chunk of time?  Yes, you will have failures in the kitchen?  But the rewards are soooooo worth it?  But I don't know that enough of these books do that.  And then their readers get frustrated when they inevitably experience failure...or when they inevitably realize that it's still a lot of work, that "simple" does not equal "easy".  Lastly, there's so much emphasis on cooking made easy and simple...but I have always felt that menu planning and food shopping is given short shrift in the cookbooks I read.  THAT is the time-consuming, complicated, creative part of the cooking process, I think.  I'd love to discuss that more.  (And I will note that I haven't read AN EVERLASTING MEAL yet.  Amy mentioned it to me, and I'm adding it to the top of my list)

Phew!  Okay, well, there's my rant.  If you read the article, let me know what you think or, better yet, if you've read Tamar Adler's book, let me know how it works for you.

Happy New Year, all!  I'm not a fan of resolutions (to quote Mary Poppins, they're pie crust promises: easily made, easily broken).  However, I always strive to live life fully, eat and drink well, treasure my friends and family, and challenge myself.  So I hereby renew my conviction to do so in the next year.

Eat, drink, and cheers to new beginnings!


Tamar Adler said...

Hello. I'm the writer of An Everlasting Meal. The book actually addresses everything that you imagine it should, in your post. Tara Parker-Pope didn't get any of her thoughts on the book from the press release or a big marketing push. She actually just read a copy and called because she felt inspired to cook, and to approach her day-to-day cooking differently. I hope you'll take a look at the book, and I look forward to your thoughts afterwards. I think you'll be glad someone's saying so much of what you feel, quite correctly about cooking. All best, Tamar

Unknown said...

I'm so glad you responded, Tamar! I'm afraid that I did go off on a tangential rant; I hope it didn't appear that I was saying anything negative about AN EVERLASTING MEAL. That was not my intention, I assure you.

I actually bought the book yesterday and, lordy, I'm in love. I'm only 20 pages in and I've already dog-eared and highlighted the hell out of it! From the get-go, your discussion of "boil-and-toss" pasta recipes was spot-on (and made me laugh). Ditto the "last-minute" omelet recipes. Heck, yes. I'm in the boiling meats section and, while I'm verrrry skeptical of boiling meat (that irrational prejudice against it...), I'm willing to give anything a go.

A blog post about AN EVERLASTING MEAL is absolutely warranted and I can't wait to write it. Kool-Aid drunk and you can already consider me a fan.