Hey, y’all! Happy Holidays, and (almost) Happy New Year! While NYE isn’t my favorite holiday, I do make resolutions every year, and I inevitably fail at accomplishing them. I know I’m not alone in that, so this year, I am going to set goals for the New Year that are more tangible than some of the resolutions I’ve made in the past that involve changing myself in ways that are unrealistic. See last year’s blog post about keeping a planner…that lasted for a few months, but my free-spirited self wasn’t having it by March. Bullet journaling sounds like a nightmare to me, but I digress.
This blog post is more for me than for y’all…sorry. I need some way to hold myself accountable to these goals, meaning I need to remember them somehow, and I do not/cannot keep a planner. Without further ado, here’s my list of goals for the new year. Naturally, some are food-related, while others are not.
- Read actual books more frequently, so I can relax my mind at night. I used to love reading and would plow through novels before bed. Thanks to grad school, I stick to TV, but it doesn’t do as good of a job helping me relax. Also, “they” say excessive screen time before bed messes up your REM cycle or whatever. But mainly, I feel like so many great books have come out during the past 5 years, and I want to make time to read them.
- Learn how to cook steak. My dad is a good cook, but he should stick to pastries and non-meat items because he makes the worst steaks ever. They’re always overcooked because he thinks my mom wants hers well done. She doesn’t.
- Learn how to make more cocktails. I love beer, but I’ve been feeling the scotch lately, and I want to explore further the world of craft cocktails. I plan to buy proper materials when I get back to NC.
- Make more bread that isn’t quick bread. While I love whipping up a beer bread in a pinch, I love the art of bread-making and freshly baked loaves of bread straight out of the oven. I made a challah once in 2017, and it was fantastic. It took five hours or so start to finish, but it was worth it. I love sourdough bread and want to try my hand at that. Having a standing mixer should help me explore this process more efficiently.
- Take more non-food pictures. I love taking pics for the ‘gram; don’t get me wrong. But taking pictures of food has fostered within me a love of photography. NC is beautiful, and I want to document my daily moments (apart from my meals that I already photograph as if they were Kardashian sisters—see the featured pictures of cookies I had my mom hold up to the light for a good shot).
- Watch more shows and movies that I haven’t seen before. I don’t know about y’all, but I have sensory overload when I scroll Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and any other streaming service. I browse all titles for a few minutes, then I end up defaulting to Golden Girls, 30 Rock, Broad City, or some other show I’ve seen at least three times in full.
- Finish my dissertation. I should have done this in 2018, but life happens, ya know?
- Start exploring how I can combine the psychology of intergroup relations with food. I ultimately want to combine my two passions—food and political science—into my academic research agenda involving food identity politics. Introverting is difficult for me. Like really difficult. BUT, when I find an activity I enjoy doing solo like cooking or baking or prepping for class, it’s not as bad. In the new year, I want to give myself the freedom to allow my creative self to seep fully into my academic self. I give credit to my friend Lauren for first putting the idea into my mind that political science is also an art, and we can be creative with our ideas. When I was writing an article for INDY Week about the politics of Thanksgiving food, I skipped several social events to make sure I could think through my ideas and articulate them with care. I and others were shocked by this action. This opportunity inspired my Instagram name change, which brings me to my next goal.
- Be more authentic on social media. I changed my Instagram name, and for whatever reason, I breathed a sigh of relief because it felt like a more accurate representation of who I am as a person. I have been studying political science for 10 years, which is a bit less than 8 years longer than I’ve had my foodstagram and associated social media (aka this blog). I love politics, and I love teaching political science, and yes, I do have political opinions. Shocking, I know. If people want to unfollow me because I reveal these opinions explicitly, I could care less. Food is political, though, so I’d almost feel guilty not speaking my mind when so many do not enjoy that privilege.
- Make more of an effort to be a listener, not just a talker. Like I said, I’m a chronic extrovert, and I have the gift of gab. I want to make a concerted effort to listen as much, if not more, than I speak. In terms of social media, I want to try to engage with my followers on my food Instagram in a more meaningful way instead of sending mere “thank yous” or emoji responses to their comments.
If any of y’all have book, show, or movie recommendations, please send them my way. If you have any tips or tricks for bread-making, steak cooking, etc., also feel free to share. Thank you for following along this year. Happy 2019! I hope you enjoy peace and great food in the new year!