Trying Something New This Year

This week I want to try that onion dicing trick. You probably know the one. You dice an onion while keeping it intact by not cutting through the root and making vertical AND horizontal cuts to make the evenly cut diced onion fall apart. I have a few tricks like that that I want to learn and practice this year.

It got me to thinking that sometimes cooking can be like the businesses I consult with. You have to have strategic goals (aligned with your mission) and shorter-term tactics and actions that will help you get there. So why not have these for areas of your personal life too? When it comes to cooking, I have a few that I plan to concentrate on this year. (Although they overlap a little, these are my personal goals, not goals I have for my business.)

Here’s my list for 2016:

1. Significantly improve my knife skills. I figure knife skills are sort of the backbone of your cooking life. Over the last few years I’ve acquired some really nice kitchen knives. And in 2015 I spent some time improving my knife skills by reading and taking some some online classes - and then practicing what I learned. But I feel like there is still a long, long way for me to go. So this year I hope to improve A LOT on those skills. I think that being adept at a whole set of knife skills will make my cooking better and more efficient.

2. Greatly expand my network of chefs, cooks, and food bloggers that I know in-person (not only online). While you can kind of get to know people somewhat online (and I work to do that), you can learn so much more and develop such deeper relationships in person. So I’ve made that one of my 2016 goals. I want to expand the list of people in the cooking world who I know personally. There’s so much I can learn from them (you) about the different aspects of cooking. And I can get face-to-face feedback that I can apply to make a better resource for all of you.

3. Become expert at 10 new recipes. I think it was Ina Garten who gave the advice that if you master ten recipes (and three variations of each), you will have a stable of thirty recipes you are really good at. I thought that was really great, practical advice. So I plan to follow it this year. This goal will serve several purposes. Of course it will give me a lot of recipes in my toolkit. Learning those recipes will also have some side benefits. I will learn and use more cooking skills along the way - knife cuts and other cooking techniques, ingredients, cookware, etc. Although I’ll be using them as guinea pigs a little (sorry guys!), eventually I hope it will make my family happy by making me a better, smarter, and more efficient cook.

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I think the tough thing (perhaps the toughest) about making a list like this is all the things you have to leave off. There is so much for me to learn. So much for me to practice. So much for me to improve. I could have easily made this list 10-15 goals long. EASILY. 

So, have you thought about what YOUR 2016 cooking goals are? What are the 2-3 primary things you want to be able to do by year-end? Like any set of goals it helps to be clear and targeted - and to write them down. And sharing them (maybe even doing them) with others can help also. Cook together. Take a cooking class together. Shop together.