Here are some of the meals I made in the first half of 2016. Click on any picture to launch a full-screen slide show view:
Obviously, I made more than 12 meals in the past six months, and not all of them worked, but I’m really happy about these, for a whole bunch of reasons.
Each of them involved some technique or combination of ingredients that I’d never used in the past. That means that I’ve actually kept a New Year’s resolution—in this case, to up my game in the kitchen—for more than two weeks!
My mother was an excellent cook, and we always ate well at home, but growing up in an insulated, isolated small town meant that I wasn’t exposed to much culinary variety. The ethnic stock in that v rural part of Pennsylvania was largely British and German, and I don’t believe I even tasted pizza or anything so exotic as “Chinese food” until I escaped. Ever since, I’ve been trying to expand my palate, which can be an immensely enjoyable enterprise. (At the same time, I’d trade all these meals in a second if I could have a homemade chicken and waffles Sunday dinner with my mother again.)
Finally, I’ve always agreed with George Herbert, that “living well is the best revenge.” In a way, this little project makes up for all those lunches of tuna salad sandwiches or hamburger-and-fries that I ate for lunch in my younger, poorer days. Take that, Wonderbread!