New year, new eats

Photo courtesy of Allie Ghisson

As the month of January passes by, so does the determination and will that drove the resolutions made by many at the beginning of the year. Historically, a new year has always marked a chance to establish a beginning for a goal. The most tangible New Year’s resolution can be sought out as an occupant of the Campus Recreation Center here at Tech — get “fit,” lose weight, work out more, etc. While the idea of a resolution can spark a few days, maybe even a week or two of motivation, that short amount of time rarely makes a difference unless you can stick with it beyond the first month of the year. 

What if, rather than making resolutions that are often impacted by societal perceptions, we made resolutions purely for ourselves? Buckle up for this story of my holiday break failure, paired with the reasoning behind my resolution.

I always believed that, given a recipe with clear directions, I could cook just about anything. It makes sense, right? I go to Tech, so I must know how to measure things, I have proven myself to be decent at following instructions through various outlets. Surely I can understand the basics of cooking. 

Over this past winter holiday break, I found out that I actually lacked the first two skills, and was much more on the “basics” side of things than I thought when it came to the kitchen. 

When we hosted multiple guests while I was home, I was driven by the desire to not only create a charcuterie board, but also to cook multiple dishes that tasted good and were presented beautifully.

I chose some recipes and embarked on my cooking spree. While making a dish for just my family, I read some directions that said to gradually pour one-quarter cup of the solution I had made over some rice. 

Mind you, this recipe had produced about one and a half cups of the solution in total. I figured the recipe meant to pour one-quarter cup after another, gradually, until all of the solution was used — I ended up with some extremely soggy rice, which I had to throw out and redo. 

“No worries,” I thought. 

Later that day, I dealt with another “simple” recipe that called for three-quarters of a cup of cheese, which I filed away in my brain to mean that I would use these three-quarters of a cup. All. At. Once. 

Most of you can tell where this is going — in fact, I needed to use one-quarter cup of cheese at one point in the recipe, then use the rest later. Alas, I dumped my cheese into the pan, realizing my mistake too late. 

After having this realization, I started laughing, which turned into tears as I came to the quick conclusion that I do not know how to follow directions! 

It was the straw that broke the camel’s back after I had laughed off the first mishap. Thankfully, too much cheese never really hurt anyone (unless you are lactose-intolerant), so I soldiered on with my mom’s assurance that it would taste fine. 

In the end, both of these recipes turned out just fine, but not without me having a big awakening in terms of my own capabilities — something that I find to always be a nice knock back to reality. I had not thought much about a New Year’s resolution, but I assumed it would be related to fitness or thought processes. With a week left in 2019, I proudly declared to my parents that my resolution would be to cook a “real” meal for myself at least once a week, with “real” ingredients and proper preparation. 

This meant I would cook with fresh veggies, meat and spices — oh, and I would have to measure everything while following a recipe of choice.

I am going on my third week of this resolution and I am happy to report that I have not messed up a measurement yet. While I applaud those that make huge resolutions and stick with them, I believe that this may be my most successful year yet in terms of fulfilling my resolution, due to not only the necessity of feeding myself, but also my desire to truly better myself in this one respect. 

While fitness resolutions in particular can be hard to stick with, whether it is because one never feels like they accomplish being “fit” or because it can be such a drastic change from the past year’s routine, taking this crucial element of my daily life and turning it into a learning experience is something I feel will be a resolution of growth.