Optimism abounds this time of year, the temporal fresh start a necessary reminder of our own potential for improvement, for clarity, for fulfillment. Last week, I encouraged readers to share their resolutions for the new year. I was moved by their buoyancy, particularly this note, from Suzanne:
“I’m still forming my dreams and goals for 2024, but I’m heavily inspired by my friend Jessica. Her 2023 resolutions were as follows: eat as many different shapes of pasta as possible over the course of the year, try a new fruit every month and smile at every child she saw. I’m heavily leaning into the idea that resolutions can be silly side quests that just exist to wedge more joy into my life.”
Let’s all resolve to wedge more joy into our lives! Cooking is a fabulous way to do so. Maybe you want to become a good enough baker to make a birthday cake for someone special. Or maybe you’re new to meatless cooking, and you’d like to share more meals with a loved one who’s vegetarian. (If either of those resolutions speak to you, I have recipes for you here!) Much like optimism, delicious recipes abound to help you reach your goals. Here are a few other ideas for 2024.
Learn to love veggies: Maybe your goals brought you to this very newsletter. If so, welcome! For those new to vegetarian cooking — or those who simply want to improve their relationship with good ol’ vegetables — Ali Slagle’s whole roasted squash with tomato-ginger chickpeas is a flavor-packed place to start. So, too, is her sweet potato hash with tofu. Each is low on effort and plenty hearty, ideal for those skeptical of meatless cooking.
Find more labors of love: In 2024, why not take a crack at a few fun cooking projects every month, starting with Lidey Heuck’s seasonally appropriate sauerkraut? But they don’t all have to be multiday affairs. Anything you can manage to impress yourself with, like perfecting Ham El-Waylly’s bean and cheese pupusas, counts.
Treat yourself: If you subscribe to the idea that completing the smallest task deserves a little reward, you probably spent a pretty penny on treats in 2023. Keep that same energy, but perhaps try making your own snacks (like Genevieve Ko’s energy bars, Kay Chun’s furikake snack mix or Yossy Arefi’s vegan peanut-butter chocolate-chip cookies) to toss in your tote bag.
Live a little luxuriously: In line with Suzanne and Jessica’s desire for more silly side quests is making each day a little more whimsical, a little more lush. Why not whip up Yewande Komolafe’s goat cheese and dill Dutch baby, which you might otherwise save for a holiday brunch, for no other reason than it’s a Thursday and you can?
One More Thing!
If you’re still in need of inspiration, here are a few additional reader resolutions that are too lovely not to share.
“To cook a dinner for friends as an opportunity to connect and share. Health, friends and personal interactions are the most valuable things we have in life.” — Kathrin B.
“Use the ras el hanout a friend gifted me to try some N. African recipes.” — Gail
“I will continue to read cookbooks, sweet or not, ESPECIALLY when I’m not feeling well, because they are the happy books. Nothing bad happens in them. That positive energy is perfect for recovering from illness.” — Janna
“To reduce food waste. I feel like old people when I think ‘It’s a sin to throw food out.’ Well, I AM old, so there you are.” — Ruth
“Review the recipes in my NYT box and actually cook some of them.” — Linda
I’m going to hold you to that, Linda. Thank you all for writing in and for reading, and I’ll see you next week.