So, it's the first weekend of January tomorrow and I know that when I pick up the newspapers they will be full of exercise and healthy eating guides. This is as predictable as turkey in December and deeply dispiriting to me. January never seems to be the right time for lettuce and dietary flagellation. In fact, we celebrated New Year with a family trip to Byron and enormous burgers. Take that, dieters!
But I realised, as I was chatting to Megan on Instagram the other day, that I do have a sort of eating resolution and that is, to eat more delicious food. In an uncommonly existential moment, I was thinking about how we get a finite amount of meals to eat in a lifetime - and then that as a forty-something, I have already probably eaten half of my allotted number. Scary when you think of it that way and a call to pack in better food experiences than the Spaghetti Carbonara standby, perennially on our table because all the ingredients are to hand and everybody likes it.
We seemed to be home free, on the cooking front, when we got past the stage of separate meals for the kids. Thankfully they have reasonably tolerant palates (apart from a slightly limiting objection to tomatoes in any form) and in theory, the world should be our oyster. But like many households, we fall into a rut from time to time and forget the exciting in favour of the no-brainer.
It's good to keep exploring with food - to follow a trend, to take inspiration from what a friend is eating (I'm thinking of you, Sue), to reconsider an ingredient. At the moment, I am on a slow cooked meat kick. It began when a friend loaned me her slow cooker (hello shin beef stew, pork in mushroom sauce, pea and ham soup) and continued through a delicious pot roast shoulder of lamb and a belly pork in cider so delicious when my sister in law fed it to us that I had to re-create it less than a week later (here's a link to the recipe - it's a Jamie Oliver one and you can thank me later, because it is glorious).
So my food related aim - when I lay the table for a meal, I want to be enthused about what we are about to eat.
I have a feeling the family will be very thankful.