New Year’s is notorious for inspiring ambitious and myriad food-related resolutions, including loosing weight, eating more locally, giving up meat/gluten/sugar, starting a cleanse, or juicing. Personally, I usually stay away from food resolutions, but this year my husband and I have resolved to get back in touch with our simple-food roots.
Like many 30-somethings, we can get caught up in the quest for meal perfection, an illusion which has been artificially imposed by the increasing number of food blogs, reality shows, and constantly-changing food trends. This, combined with our constant focus on maintaining a limited to low food budget, means that cooking dinner has become a bit of an energy drain, rather than a nourishing experience. Eating dinner just shouldn’t be stressful or costly, so we’re working to move beyond the complicated recipes and lengthy meal preps, to re-focus on the pantry staples.
Last year, after reading one of my favorite food books – Tamar Adler’s Everlasting Meal – we made a pretty good run at shifting our relationship with food. Every Sunday we would roast up a couple pans of vegetables to get us through the week; we made a sport out of creatively re-interpreting leftovers (hello spaghetti frittata and pea pod broth); and we embraced simplicity. But, when the reality of running a start-up once again got in the way, our new food habits were the first thing to go and we once again found ourselves living from recipe to recipe rather than developing a stronger confidence in the basics.
This year, I woke up on New Year’s Day and read Mark Bittman’s call for “Sustainable Resolutions for your Diet” in the NYTimes and was once again inspired to get back to the basics. Instead of compiling a list of beautifully arranged recipes every week (usually ending in additional food waste and too much time/stress), my husband and I have decided to take up his call. Enlisting the help of our brand new Crock Pot, we are going to start off the New Year with a commitment to bulk up on the staples every week: grains, beans, and vegetables. By prepping these simple and hearty foods in bulk and in advance, we can easily combine them with our backyard eggs/greens and upgrade them to a variety of meals, throughout the week:
- White beans with sausage and kale
- Black beans with chorizo and rice
- Black-eyed peas with greens
- Roasted vegetables with poached eggs
- Chickpea and chard soup
- Quesadillas with a rotating arrangement of beans and roasted vegetables
We’re starting off this week with a new bean that I scouted from the South Park store: mayo coba beans, augmented with grains, queso fresco, salsa, greens, onions, and avocado. It’s nothing fancy. But, it is tasty, cheap, and easy. And, any leftover beans/grains can easily transition into this recipe for crispy pan-fried beans with wilted greens, once we get bored with the original combination.
Fancy or new recipes will always have a place in our home – just not on a daily basis. To make meals accessible and fun again, we believe it’s important to focus on how our grandparents may have cooked, rather than on the latest food trend. Regardless of what your New Year’s food resolutions may be, Stockbox can help you get started and stay inspired. Let us know what problems you’re working through and the goals you have to make 2014 the best good-food-year yet!
Image credit: Evan Sung at the NYTimes.