17 December 2016

Weekend Cooking: Year-End Thoughts & a Look to the Future

A  year of cooking: looking back and looking aheadThis time of year is all full of crazy when it comes to cooking and eating. First, the house is full of Christmas cookies. Second, between work and shopping and social events, there seems little time to make healthful dinners. Finally, did I mention those social events? And all the food?

I'm not much for making New Year's resolutions, but after a month of eating lots of very yummy but not so good for me food, I'm always ready to get back to normal. And that, in turn, leads me to think about what I want to do differently in the year to come.

Look Back on 2016. For the the first time ever, I became curious about the nature of my Weekend Cooking posts, so I did a little breakdown for the year:

  • Reviews: 18 cookbooks, 5 food writing/memoirs, 6 movies
  • Other: 9 recipe posts, 11 miscellaneous
A  year of cooking: looking back and looking aheadThe miscellaneous category contains culinary mystery round-ups, thoughts on meal planning, food and wine apps, podcasts, and other random posts. Although I read fewer food writing titles than normal, I added more variety to my posts, so all in all I'm pretty pleased.

Things I Wish I did in 2016. I had intended to keep good a record of all our dinners in 2016 so I could create pretty graphs and/or share interesting (to me, anyway) statistics on my cooking habits. That was a total fail. I gave up sometime in, oh, March!

I also wanted to write a great post comparing my electric pressure cooker (which I got last Christmas) to my stovetop pressure cooker (which I've had for 20+ years). Did I write that post? No! Both items are on my list for 2017; maybe next year will be different.

Looking Ahead. I don't see many changes for Weekend Cooking. I still want to read through some of my backlog of books and cookbooks, share winning recipes, and muse about food and cooking.

A  year of cooking: looking back and looking aheadOne thing I really want to get a handle on is our food budget -- or rather I'd like to make a budget. I am forever surprised at how much we spend on food each week, despite the fact that we don't eat meat every day, we buy no snack food or soda, and concentrate primarily on vegetables, fruit, beans, and grains. Part of the issue is our commitment to quality and our desire to to eat a fairly clean diet in terms of additives and pesticides. Unfortunately those choices often mean more dollars.

I also hope to do some organizing of recipes, both on paper and online. I don't always remember to pin recipes or record which cookbook something came from. And let's not even get into where I've stashed those recipes I cut out of old magazines. Argh. Every couple of years I spend a few winter evenings culling clippings and pinning recipes -- guess what I'll be doing in January?

Do you have any big food-related plans for 2017?
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


Tina 12/17/16, 7:19 AM  

I was thinking of doing a look at this year as well. I would be greatly interested to hear about your pressure cookers, the differences and ease of use for both. Ah, the food budget.....I know we spend quite a bit and I have been trying to get the healthier foods when they are on sale. We haven't had meat since September but we do eat fish. Can be costly it we must be good to our bodies.

2017 goals are to continue to track our meals ( I use a notebook) and I've joined some reading challenges, hopefully get out of my comfort same old zone and discover new voices.

Sarah's Book Shelves 12/17/16, 7:33 AM  

Good for you for trying to track your cooking stats, but I can see why that's tough to do for a whole year.

And - I've always been curious about the stovetop pressure cooker ever since seeing it on Iron Chef all the time!

jama 12/17/16, 8:50 AM  

Thanks for another wonderful year of Weekend Cooking. I always look forward to Saturdays to see what everyone's doing.

Alas, I'm not as organized as you, with plans to track my weekly menus or even map out a budget. I do find it's quite a challenge to simply feed ourselves well with healthy choices because I've developed more food allergies and sensitivities in recent years. These limitations mean relying on a lot of same-old standbys when I'd rather be more adventurous with cooking. Perhaps that's why I enjoy reading good food writing and living vicariously through cooking shows. :)

bermudaonion 12/17/16, 9:23 AM  

I love your Weekend Cooking feature! Buying high quality food is expensive.

Mae Travels 12/17/16, 9:25 AM  

Things I don't keep track of: meals we have eaten, books I have read, pots and pans and their relative merits, recipes and clippings online or off, what we spend on food. My hat is off to you for even considering such a thing!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Jackie McGuinness 12/17/16, 9:54 AM  

I also feel like 2016 got away from me. there is a long list of things in my head I "should" have done. Maybe I should make a list. They are always the things that don't really take any time once you apply yourself!
Recipes - I use pinterest, but find I don't go and look up what I previously pinned that seemed good to me.
Cooking - I have been tracking our dinners. In the last month or 2 I lost my momentum for new recipes and fell back on the old faithfuls.
Reading - I did fairly well.I think I'll hit about 90 this year. Perhaps I should have done some of those other things instead!

Deb in Hawaii 12/17/16, 10:24 AM  

Great post. I have not made a list of what I want to accomplish yet for myself, my cooking, or my blog and being more planful and focused is definitely something I could benefit from. ;-) I know that do want to do a better job of working my way through my (massive) collection of cookbooks and decide what to keep and what to donate. I started this year and only made a small dent on both cookbooks and my other books, but I want to pare down and then catalogue what I do keep.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 12/17/16, 11:03 AM  

I have been able to implement the eating/cooking changes since moving to the peninsula. We must be organized (local groceries are spotty and NO large markets) which was my first change I had hoped to have come about. It was easier in a larger community to fall prey to getting take out if it had been a rough day at work. I have so enjoyed getting back to cooking and eating a nice relaxed meal with my family.

I also have two pressure cookers, the stovetop still frightens me (silly silly girl) but I am loving the electric model, I hope from there to put the stove top to better use by increasing my comfort with the electric one.

PS, Weekend Cooking is such a joy, thank you so much for hosting.

rhapsodyinbooks 12/17/16, 11:25 AM  

Our house was full of Christmas cookies too until today, when there is only one left..... A large amount seemed to have disappeared....

Claudia 12/17/16, 11:27 AM  

The only cooking goal I have decided on is to inspect ingredients more and try to eliminate as much sugar as possible. As for books, I've got a New Year's resolution to keep a record of what I read.

Thanks for continuing to host your Weekend Cooking. I look forward to it.

Molly 12/17/16, 11:36 AM  

I want to get back into the kitchen in 2017. I used to love reading cookbooks, researching recipes, and using creative culinary skills. Now that I'm retired, I have the time to reconnect with that old part of me. I love this weekly feature and hope to participate more in the coming year

Heidenkind 12/17/16, 1:55 PM  

For the past few months I've been trying to eat more vegetables and less meat. I hope to continue that in 2017.

Unknown 12/17/16, 3:25 PM  

I too wonder how we spend so much on food. Meal planning is a resolution for me in 2017. Or maybe it's more about sticking to the meal plan. I swear I have a show me something shiny problem at the grocery store.i see all these great ingredients and end up deviating from the plan.

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 12/18/16, 2:50 AM  

I enjoy your Weekend Cooking posts, so I'm glad not much will be changing next year. I have the same problem with the food budget -- eating healthy is expensive. The more I learn about factory farming, the more I avoid it and try to buy local whenever possible.

Katherine P 12/18/16, 6:33 PM  

I'm curious about the pressure cooker post! I'm terrified of pressure cookers as a whole but also curious. I love the idea of tracking meals but have yet to actually remember to do so. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do in 2017!

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