Welcoming the new year with simple pleasures

As the year draws to a close, it’s customary to look back at the previous twelve months and take note of what happened. One word comes to mind for 2018, and that word is tumultuous. We lost a few shining lights, saw the #metoo movement’s effect on restaurant empires, and took note of controversy in cookbook awards

With all of the depressing news it can be difficult to find things to be thankful for, but 2018’s epic year in cookbook publishing helped. Sometimes it’s the little things that spark a note of hopefulness. For me, it’s finding pleasure in everyday tasks, especially those that revolve around cooking and baking. When you engage in something timeless, like making a loaf of bread or assembling a stew that will bubble away for hours in the oven, it can give you a sense that everything is going to be all right. 

1/8 cup measure

Even simple items can trigger this feeling, like the tiny 1/8 cup measure that I use almost daily. I don’t remember how I came to own it, but I’m sure that it was once part of a larger set. Perhaps the original owner found it cumbersome because no recipe ever called for 1/8 cup of anything and discarded it. I’ve had it for decades, and it’s proved itself so useful that despite a cross-country move and several kitchen tool downsizings, it has retained a spot in my limited drawer space. It’s the perfect size for ingredients that are too small for weighing but too large for a measuring spoon. I love the twee cup, and the idea it demonstrates – that even if one person finds something to be of little value it can be indispensable to someone else. 

Looking forward, we already know that 2019 will be another great year for cookbooks, but predicting much else is a fool’s errand. I’m not a big resolution person so I don’t have any lofty goals, and there is no diet or exercise regimen in the works. My only ambition is to make something from a cookbook I haven’t used before once a week (or thereabouts). Wish me luck, and Happy New Year!

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  • averythingcooks  on  January 1, 2019

    This post resonated deeply with me. When I talk about weekend cooking projects, some people respond with "why bother? You can just buy that stuff". When some people see my cookbook collection (& at just over 100 titles , it is so very modest compared to many site members!), they say things like "who has time to bother to cook from books – just use the Internet". I mostly just nod and smile knowing that they don't understand the joy I get from cooking. And it is very hard to explain that pulling a beautiful dutch oven or cast iron pan of food out of the oven is such a soul satisfying moment. When people say "must be nice to have time to cook"' I just remember that we all make time to do the things that enrich us…..and I will not feel guilty or apologize that my choice is often an afternoon in my kitchen.

  • Veronik  on  January 13, 2019

    I have the same little measuring cup and it is also a favourite. Actually, I have two, purchased to replace the first which was lost: it took ages to find another, which is why I bought two.

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