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Happy New Year and a food manifesto

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015Are you writing a whole list of New Year’s resolutions? Do you find it helpful, inspiring or another stick to beat yourself with? I’m easing myself out of my ‘everything on a list’ comfort zone and focusing on a word. Sounds a bit strange? Here’s why:

A while ago, a new friend walked into my kitchen for the first time and sighed with relief. “Oh it’s not as perfect as I thought it would be.” She’d seen the photos on my blog which, taken by a talented photographer with a bit of diffused lighting, doesn’t show the cabinet doors hanging off their hinges, the worn chairs, the notes stuck up with magnets, the tray of bottles balanced on top of the fridge, the ancient micro-wave, the mismatched pots and all the other things that show it’s a real kitchen at the heart of our home rather than a show kitchen.

My friend’s comment filled me with relief as I’m always a bit embarrassed about the slightly too cluttered surfaces, the inability to fit all the food and implements neatly into the cupboard space available which must be the curse of every keen cook. Looking at my kitchen you wouldn’t think that I’m a perfectionist but in my head I am and – I’ve had a light bulb moment since I read this post by Fat Mum Slim. It’s hard living this way and spending a huge amount of emotional energy constantly letting yourself down.

So my word of the year is this:KINDER

Kinder to me: to stop being so hard on myself; to look after my health by eating well and not missing my newly found love of yoga.

Kinder to others: Not be impatient, to understand more and put myself in their shoes.

Yes. It’s a kind of mindfulness and if you want to know more about this I recommend Ruby Wax’s Sane New World.

Food resolutions

Making better pastry, mastering sour dough, dusting off my pasta machine, learning more about Emirati cuisine, cooking something Georgian, learning more about Polish cookery, making more stock, baking more pies, cooking fish more often…. all these things are recurring resolutions which crop up year after year.

However…. I’m not putting them on a list this time. Instead I’m pinning up my food manifesto and trying to stay true to it.

My custard pie manifesto

Savour every bite… of ingredients, of food, of life. Let’s greet 2015 together, wide-eyed with excitement, grinning with pleasure, enjoying every last morsel of whatever comes our way…. Happy New Year.

27 Comments
  1. daver001 permalink
    January 1, 2015 11:13 pm

    May I add one more thing? We all know the horrors of Big Food, but seeing the documentary Food Inc showed me just how powerful and all-invasive a tiny handful of companies have become, removing most of our food chain from any local action or initiative. It is a horrifying, soul depressing litany of evil where animals, species and people are finally just meaningless items on a corporate balance sheet. A shoah of the core of life. Download it, view it, change your eating patterns. 2015 is the year of the rebirth of real food, but it all starts with a single bite.

    • January 1, 2015 11:18 pm

      You know that you and I are on the same page on this one. Food Inc should be compulsory viewing for everyone who cares about our planet … our very existence. Control of our food is the most fundamentally powerful thing there is. Thanks for such a brilliant and insightful comment. Happy New Year.

      • daver001 permalink
        January 2, 2015 11:24 am

        Last day of the year, our boss decided to treat the whole office to lunch. I offered a modern Lebanese menu but he went full-on KFC! I admit to the guilty pleasure of a once a year bean burger from Burger King – yes, I know, it’s the worst thing I do in my life, honest – but the sight of work colleagues falling on the greasy, synthetic, addictive and chemical stuffed ‘food’ truly horrified me. Can’t find a tea;thy alternative for lunch or dinner? Hell, a missed meal won’t kill you but fast food certainly will.

      • daver001 permalink
        January 2, 2015 11:27 am

        I’d also urge all of you to read this. It will change your life.

      • daver001 permalink
        January 2, 2015 6:56 pm

        My comment had the content stripped out for some reason. The book I urge you all to read is Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.

  2. January 2, 2015 12:27 am

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Sally! And thanks for the reference to Food Inc. – I didn’t know about this documentary and will add it to my ever-growing to-do-list (too late for a NY resolution, I’m afraid)
    Happy New Year!

  3. January 2, 2015 12:55 am

    My guiding lights in the way I cook and eat mirror yours Sally, but I’d add all things in moderation with the emphasis on the all. I’ve been a vocal opponent of the industrialization of our food for a loooong time, I have not been aware of Food Inc until reading the comments here, I’m off to check it out. Happy 2015

    • January 2, 2015 9:07 am

      Ah yes…. perhaps I should too… not very good at that one! Happy New Year 🙂

  4. sarahjmir permalink
    January 2, 2015 1:15 am

    Kinder. I love it

  5. January 2, 2015 1:29 am

    “Kinder to me” and “kinder to others” Thank-you Sally for the mindfulness and your beloved wit – In gratitude

    • January 2, 2015 9:06 am

      Thanks Ciara – have a most wonderful 2015 🙂

  6. andreamynard permalink
    January 2, 2015 2:06 am

    Happy New Year Sally! Great food manifesto, I too will definitely try to ‘savour every bite’ this year.

    • January 2, 2015 9:06 am

      Happy New Year Andrea – looking forward to ‘visiting’ your kitchen and garden again in 2015.

  7. January 2, 2015 5:41 am

    I generally hate New Year’s resolutions. But I can live with those. 🙂 Happy 2015!

    • January 2, 2015 9:05 am

      Happy New Year Michelle – here’s to reading more of your delicious posts.

  8. January 2, 2015 12:20 pm

    Love the manifesto! I’m a bit late with thinking about my New Year Resolutions but I’m sure most of them will revolve around food. I want to improve my food photography too, and I love the start of your post which makes me feel better about my shabby kitchen already!

    Wishing you a glorious 2015 – Jenny x

  9. January 2, 2015 6:48 pm

    Happy new year Sally. I too have those ‘eased into’ bits of the kitchen that need more time and energy that I resolve to find in the new year, in what sounds a similar way to yours; eating well and being kinder. Best of luck and joy to you cxx

  10. January 3, 2015 4:14 pm

    Perfect 🙂 I’m in absolute agreement about all of it, and I hadn’t heard of the documentary either – going to look it up immediately. Thanks!

  11. January 3, 2015 10:04 pm

    Happy New Year Sally, I too have plans to dust off my pasta machine. 😊

  12. January 4, 2015 12:36 pm

    Happy, kind 2015! Sounds lovely & I like the idea of a one word statement to sum things up. I don’t know how you got the text superimposed on the beach pic – looks great – would like to get better at clever computing in 2015! Which beach is it?

  13. January 4, 2015 1:50 pm

    I love your ‘kinder’ resolution and also that you’ve discovered yoga. I’ve been a convert for a past few years and my back thanks me for it! I’m also secretly pleased to hear that your kitchen isn’t as perfect as the photos portray – it makes me feel a little bit less of a slob! 😉
    Have a wonder ‘kindering’ 2015…

  14. January 4, 2015 2:33 pm

    Hi, Sally, I’ve just posted my NY manifesto after being inspired by your ‘kinder’. I hope you don’t mind my copying yours. I really enjoy reading your blog and I’m looking forward to more stories in the new year. Happy new year!

  15. January 5, 2015 9:13 am

    Happy new year to you too, Sally! I wish you a very successful year and keep up the good work. Your blog and instagram are really amazing 😉 Kisses

  16. January 7, 2015 12:39 am

    Kinder is good. I’ll take that one on, thanks Sally! xxx

  17. January 9, 2015 12:34 pm

    Sugar Fat Salt is an excellent book. And by excellent I mean it scared me half to death in the first 50 pages and I haven’t continued. I know I should. I love your kinder resolution. That was mine last year (but I didn’t realise it until I reflected back). This year I think it will be the same. It is such an all-encompassing way of living. Happy New Year x

  18. January 11, 2015 11:58 pm

    To be kinder is a wonderful mindset to start a new year with, both in life and in blogging. As someone fairly new to the blogging world, it’s all too easy to be harsh on yourself when you compare your work to those of others you admire but everyone started somewhere right? Have a wonderful – and of course delicious! – year!

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