Tag: books

New Year’s Resolutions 2015

New Year’s Resolutions 2015

Goals. Resolutions. Plans. Projects. I can hear different voices in my head, that this idea of productivity is a capitalist endeavour, that unless we are doing we are seen as lazy. We must be productive, we must produce, we must be active, we must work. And I am a lover of idleness. Of keeping still, of thinking, of watching, external passiveness with a storm of internal thought. I suppose that’s why I can work from home and not be crippled by the solitude.

But still. That idle simmer of languid thought builds up and it needs somewhere to go, and that’s where the doing comes in, the action and it feels so good when it comes out.

I like resolutions for the New Year because you have a whole year to do it, a whole year for your desires to cook and pop. You make them in the midst of that colour switch from the gold, silver and coloured lights of the holiday season to the sunny white, pale blue and coming green of the new year. Everything seems clean ahead of you. And with that pen and piece of paper, all ready to write down your goals for the year, you have the power to create, to make things happen. It’s just between you and the paper, a conversation with yourself and your secret desires.

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This is the second year that I’ve decided to put my resolutions in a book instead of keeping them as a list in my notebook. In book form, it exists as something separate from the rest of my outpourings of emotions, memories and to-do lists that fill my notebook. I kept the 2014 book on the mantle to collect dust, but every now and then I’d flip through the pages. Surprisingly, even without being completely conscious of it, I managed to do them all. I put in some easy ones like ‘get married’ (the date was already set) but there were other ones that I did like take up jogging (I managed to run a 5k race) and start a blog (hello) which makes me feel like I accomplished something, or least took myself for my word. Even if I didn’t do them all well (after the 5k race I stopped running and starting eating cake when I began working in a bakery), I still did them and that’s a good feeling.

So this year, I wanted to do it again in a book and I used the little notebooks that we made for our wedding. (I told you how to do it here.) I like the way the small book fits in my hand and I like turning the pages.

Here they are:

  1. Write. This is always number 1 every year. But this year I’d like to publish more and get paid for it. Finish more stories. Join a writing group.
  2. Poems. Make a list of books read in 2015. This is a fun one! (And I can use one of the little notebooks for it.)
  3. Keep blogging and let it evolve if it wants to go in a different direction.
  4. Make a writer’s website.
  5. Learn Indesign.
  6. Do Pilates/Yoga.
  7. Make a quilt. An easy one with big pieces of fabric.Do more readings. Perform new material.

Having them written into something that I can hold makes me think that each goal is an object, something I can hold, a little baby to grown. You should do it, too. I think it will make you feel good.

Five Books on Food Writing to Make You Love Life

Five Books on Food Writing to Make You Love Life

Food is the centre of my life. Being hypoglycaemic, I have to eat proper meals with timed snacks so I don’t function like a turd. Basically, when my blood sugar level goes down, all my years of social conditioning from infancy to adulthood disintegrate and I turn into a rabid animal. I can’t listen, I can’t hear, I feel nauseous, I hate people standing too close to me, and it takes a lot of control and awareness that I’m still part of society to not bite them.

It’s not nice when it happens, but it’s really easy to control if I can just have a snack. This means that my day is planned around food and I have to carry nuts with me in order to talk to people.

So food is always on my mind and I’m always eating and on top of that, I also love reading about food. No, let me try that again. I LOVE reading about food, especially food memoirs.

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They show you the kitchen as the nucleus for human life. It’s stimulating to read about what people are cooking and eating and what’s going on in their lives. I want to know what they’re thinking about while they’re cooking, why they chose to make veal medallions and green beans on a snowy night all alone in the house. I want to know how hungry they are after having sex with a new lover and what they’re going to do with the onion and lardons in the fridge. Tell me about how much you love baked beans and the first time you tried them. Let me hear about how you got chestnuts with your mom in the farmers market on Christmas Eve. I want to know how your memories are filled with eating, what someone fed you when you found out your father was going to die, how colourful the oranges were on the streets of Rome in February 2005, how good that bowl of French onion soup was when you got off the boat on that cold, rainy day.

Food makes people’s lives tangible, relatable and close. In the end, we are all doing the same thing, filling up our stomachs in order to survive.

So here are 5 books on food writing that I go back to again and again. The more I read them, the more inspired I am to live, eat and write about life:

     1.     Alone in the Kitchen with an Egglant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone (2007) – ed. Jenni Ferrari-Adler

–       a collection of essays about cooking for one including essays by MFK Fisher, Colin Harrison, Nora Ephron, and Laurie Colwin. What do these people eat when they are alone? Here you can get a sense of all these different voices and different styles in food writing.


how to cook a wolf2.     How to Cook a Wolf  (1942) by MFK Fisher

–       This is written like a how-to manual for keeping a joyful kitchen during WWII. But it’s quite subversive and modern and today it’s like reading a DIY book on dissident home cooking against a homegenized food culture. Very modern for America in 1942.



FullSizeRender 23.     Home Cooking (1988) and More Home Cooking (1993) by Laurie Colwin

–       Colwin’s essays on home cuisine are loved by many readers and convey a sense of a well-loved time spent with yourself. You get the feeling of the author’s home and writing life and how food and her writing practice went hand in hand. It’s straightforward cooking and straightforward writing and you come away enthusiastic for some basic ingredients that you want to try in your own kitchen.


cooking for mr latte4.     Cooking for Mr. Latte (2004) by Amanda Hesser

–       The former NY Times food critic chronicles her courtship with Tad Friend, staff writer for The New Yorker alongside recipes of the meals they shared. Don’t be fooled by the stylized chick-lit cover, this is good writing and moments of humour and depth are woven into the chapters. It also makes you feel like you can recreate sensuality in your own life with these recipes.


lunch in paris5.     Lunch in Paris (2010) by Elizabeth Bard

–       Another story about the successful love affair between an American writer and a French grad student with fun and easy recipes. I loved this one in particular since I could identify with her struggles and joys as an ex-pat in Europe. I’m excited to find out that she has another book, Picnic in Provence, scheduled to come out in April 2015.