Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A resolution-free zone

I bloody hate them. New year resolutions, that is. Made in a  fog of post-festive-indulgence guilt, they’re quickly broken because, quite frankly, January is the one month you need a bit of comfort and pleasure. After the come-down of Christmas and the always-slightly-anti-climactic New Year celebrations, it’s very comforting and somehow indulgent without being excessive to treat yourself to the odd sybaritic pleasure. It’s the old saw, I’m afraid, of everything in moderation.

So, having denounced he very thought of resolution, I have got a few thoughts on how to make life a bit better and more bearable with still months to go till Spring, when – with the burst of new life – it seems more appropriate to make plans.

1. In Victoria Moore’s excellent How to Drink, she recommends Spanish Albarino and steely, flinty whites to get us through to the warmer times. So I resolve to buy some decent white wine and treasure every sip rather than glugging back rivers of Sauvignon blanc and Pinot grigio in the mixed cases I so lazily order.

2. We always eat loads of vegetables, but Christmas lends itself rather more to fat-inducing carbohydrates (all those potatoes, parsnips and the bread for fabulous layered sandwiches) than most festive occasions, so I shall resolve to use my ingenuity and India Knight’s inspiring Idiot-Proof Diet Cook Book to spread the load a little more. Feeling sluggish and toxic this month is completely normal, and I don’t intend to go cold turkey either, but more pulses, more celeriac (heavenly in dauphinoise or in a version of patatas bravas), more greens.

3. To be nicer. I make this non-resolution every year: not to lose my temper so often; not to get so easily frustrated with the trials of every day life and the exasperating slowness of other people; and I fail every time. It lasts maybe three days and then I come across someone maddeningly not doing something as I want it done – impatience is my huge character flaw – or too slowly and I’m a goner. So this year – again – I shall try my best to curb my misanthropic tendencies and view humanity with vaguely pink tinted lenses. But please, can you all not walk just a bit quicker?

4. To really get the vegetable plot going all year. Last year we got it going like gangbusters for the summer but then lack of proper planning meant we had no greens or potatoes for winter, so I am going to make like Nigel Slater and get a notebook and draw the goddamn plants in. From there it is the merest of efforts to digging in the manure and getting the seeds in.

5. To nail down where we want to live in Dorset during one of our recce missions and then work towards it with the fury of two possessed. And obviously to have lots of fun with MCD Jr by the sea.

6. To blog more frequently – to get the recipes I love cooking up and out there and to push myself with the whole concept. Oh – and to conquer LinkedIn.

I’m reluctant to put down any more: I may have to hold myself to them and I don’t want to exhaust myself before March. Tally-ho!

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