Well, 2014 certainly got away from me. There’s no doubt about that. Not that it wasn’t an excellent year in many respects, but I certainly felt as though I was holding it by the tail of its shirt and running along trying to keep up.
There were definitely highlights. Travelling to Europe was amazing, as well it might be, and it also had both its culinary highlights and culinary lowlights. The passionfruit and mango caramels at Jacques Genin remain one of the most beautiful things I have ever put in my mouth. The sour cream porridge at Ersgard… well, let’s call that one an acquired taste and move on.
I loved doing the Live Below the Line challenge in May, both because of the opportunity to reflect on the challenges of food poverty and because it was actually quite reassuring to see how far I’ve come since I last lived with food insecurity. I never, ever want to find myself in that place again – but it was nice to realise that my food-related survival skills are actually pretty good these days. I don’t think I – or anyone – could truly live healthily on such a tiny budget for long, but I could certainly do a better job than my student-self managed!
I discovered some truly amazing cookbooks this year, including my favourite cake cookbook of all time, and I think I fed the entire floor – as well as the electoral office where Andrew worked – with Herman the German cakes for about a month back in November. Herman has now finished his time in my kitchen, but his many offspring live on in the homes of numerous friends and colleagues. Apparently, my constant neglect of Herman provided some pretty intense natural selection for vigorous and hardy strains, and his tendency to escape and rampage across kitchen benches alarmed several of my friends. He has even survived a conversion to a vegan, gluten-free diet, which suggests a decidedly strong constitution.
Looking back at my New Year’s Aspirations from last year… well, they were lovely, but it’s a good thing they weren’t resolutions, because I really didn’t get very far with them. Work, politics, travel, and, pleasingly, quite a bit of singing work rather got in the way. Still, they are nice things to aspire to, so I’m going to put them out there again, and hope for the best for 2015!
- Resurrect the Vegetarian Food Challenge. Starting tomorrow! (And if anyone has an itch to run this challenge for me one month, please, comment below and we will talk. I am evidently not capable of running twelve of these in a year…)
- Participate in at least one food blog challenge a month. I like meeting fellow food bloggers!
- Plan and eat vegan meals more often. I have huge numbers of these recipes – why do I never do anything with them?
- Actually invite my fellow food bloggers to hang out and do food stuff. This shouldn’t be scary. Why is it scary? (Why are people scary? Who knows?)
- The aspiration that dares not speak its name. Still too big and exciting to even admit to thinking about publicly yet, because I don’t know if I can do it. Especially while running eight events at work and having a wrist operation at some point in addition to all my regular commitments. But I shall not forget it, for all that!
To this I think I will also add:
- Re-do the pantry challenge. My pantry is getting entirely out of hand again, and must be tamed.
- Do the Live Below the Line Challenge, or another food justice related challenge next year.
But they are still only aspirations and not resolutions, so if I don’t manage to do all of them every time, it’s OK. Really.
Once again, I’m going to make a gallery for 2014 showing two favourite recipes for each month – one of mine, and one from another blog. While I’ve been awfully quiet and antisocial on other blogs this year, I always love reading what people are up to, and what fascinating recipes they’ve come up with (or how often they have eaten at Smith and Daughters recently, not looking at anyone, Cindy and Michael…) (Actually, that was another highlight for the year – if you like Latin-American inspired food and haven’t been to Smith and Daughters yet, you certainly should. It’s one of my favourite places to go in Melbourne.).
I hope you will, too. And I hope that 2015 brings you everything you most wish for.