Tuesday, January 5, 2010

To a Messy, Imperfect, and Hopeful New Year

For this year, I have decided to be okay with failure, with imperfection, and with a sink full of dirty dishes. But, I will never be okay with giving up on living a passionate, inspired life. I will not stop working to live the life that I want.

I've been in New Year purgatory, that space between New Year's and the beginning of the spring semester this week. It's an odd place, both exhilarating for its newness and exasperating for the pressure to live up to a new year's worth of expectations. This week is a space to wax nostalgic and indulge in my favorite weakness--reminiscing about "the good old days."

But, as I reflect 2009, I begin to find a theme: perfectionism is getting in the way of my life. So for 2010, there is no list of resolutions, no "I will be betters," no promises. Another thing I realized during all my holiday travels and visits with family and old friends, is that I am truly happy with who I am and where I'm at with my life right now. This is huge.

It's taken me a long time to be happy in Ohio. For the first year I was here, I had these incredibly sad, longing-filled dreams in which I yearned to be back in Omaha. I would dream the details of the apartments I left behind, the slant of sunlight from the kitchen window, the lime green painted living room, the backyard where I planted my first garden.

Over Christmas it was great to be back in Omaha, but it also made me realize that even if I did want to move back, I wouldn't quite fit anymore. In fact, I felt like a walking ghost. The term "old haunts" rang true. My nostalgic ache vanished, and realized I am content.

I'm content even if my 2009 Food Resolutions didn't pan out like I hoped. Here they are:

1. Make my own ricotta and mozzarella cheese. (And hopefully taste raw milk for the first time.)
Sort of. I made ricotta, and I tasted raw goat milk for the first time, but I never got around to ordering the rennet to make mozzarella cheese.

2. Make homemade sesame seed bagels.

3. Learn to can tomatoes from my garden.


4. Make dandelion wine and Lemoncello.
Sort of. I made dandelion wine, and it was a disaster. I used balloons for the off-gassing of the fermentation process and the wine ended up tasting like latex. Yes, the finish of my dandelion wine was condom-flavored. After that I didn't risk Lemoncello.

5. Cure my own corned beef.
Nope. I found a recipe from Martha Stewart, but ultimately it was too pricey for my budget when I wanted to try it in March for St. Patty's day.

6. Cook and eat beef tongue.
Not yet. Stay posted! I got a frozen beef tongue as a Christmas present!

7. Make pirogi.

8. Make coffee can ice cream.
Sort of. After finding a cheap electric ice cream maker at a yard sale, I've never looked back. Salted caramel ice cream was the best result so far!

9. Make Baked Alaska and other frivolously retro desserts.

10. Make something with dried lavender flowers.
Yes. Made a lavender vinaigrette to serve with a goat cheese and candied pecan salad.

Here's hoping that you are content where you are now in your life. I also hope you're thrilled with all the possibility the next twelve months hold.


Anonymous said...

#4 was hillarious and you will have fun with the beef tongue. I have made a raisin sauce for it with a recipe from Fanny Farmer. It was delicious. Good luck with your food endeavers for 2010!!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fabulous place to be. :) I think we're going to do cheese in May with Preserving Traditions, btw. and here's a great recipe for tongue: http://www.theslowcook.com/2010/01/04/tongue-broth/

Diane said...

I can't believe you got a tongue for Christmas!!! Only you! :)

AMR said...

I better to taste the beef tongue, lady! ;) Love this post! It is hopeful and exciting and inspiring to me!