Lucy Corry’s Blog: Culinary resolutions for 2021 (and beyond)

Lucy Corry reminisces on her gastronomical habits of the past in preparation for the future. 

I’m sure there’s a wise old proverb that says you have to look back at the past to understand where you’re going in the future. If there isn’t, I’m inventing it right now. During the continuing saga that was the great house move of 2020, I came across a big bundle of notebooks and diaries dating back to the early 2000s.

Some of the entries these contained were illuminating, most were toe-curlingly embarrassing. The thought of them flying around Wellington in a strong gust stopped me from putting them out in the paper recycling, so they’ve come with us to our new house where they’re going to sit in a box until I’m strong enough to look at them again (in about 20 years).

Among the cringe-making stuff there were useful and heartwarming things too: delicate blue Aerogrammes sent from exotic locations, newspaper clippings from when I was a beginner reporter and quite a few recipes. Among various loose pieces of paper I found a list of culinary resolutions I’d made at the start of 2011.

In the spirit of looking backwards to go forwards, I thought it might be good to see how far I’ve come in a decade.

1. The first cut.

“I will learn to sharpen knives, because we have three amazing knives that were wedding presents and they have never been sharpened. This is ridiculous.”

I have made progress on this front. In late December, while walking the dog one Sunday morning, I saw a knife-sharpening stall at Wellington’s Harbourside Market. The dog and I raced home, grabbed the knives and hot-footed it down there before you could say ‘chop chop’. Now I know that nice Andrew is there on a regular basis, my knives will never go blunt again. This isn’t the same as sharpening them myself, but it’s a start.

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2. Carving it up.

“I will learn to carve a turkey/chicken/poussin/quail properly, because I do not want to spend next Christmas Eve speed-reading a Martha Steward tutorial on turkey carving, only to forget it all the next afternoon.”

Hmmmm. I think I get a pass: this Christmas I reasonably expertly carved three chickens (stuffed with this amazing Ruth Pretty stuffing recipe). I’m not sure I’ve eaten a quail or poussin since 2010, so I’m not losing any sleep over my miniature bird carving techniques.

3. Tool time.

“I will buy a slotted spoon, because there is no need to add stress to my life by using a fish slice and a pen/teaspoon/knife/whatever else comes to hand when removing a poached egg or bagel from boiling water.”

I wrote a blog about needing a slotted spoon to take bagels out of boiling water and my gorgeous cousin Rebecca kindly gifted me one. See, the universe does provide! I think of her whenever I use it.

4. Burning issues.

“I will wear gloves to do the washing up and remember that wet tea towels are of no use whatsoever when handling hot oven trays.”

Huge fail. I have a lovely burn on my forearm from nudging a hot oven tray last week and my hands are like prunes. Sigh. If I could ever find a decent oven glove I might get better at this.

5. Clippings cull.

“I will delve into the piles of recipe cuttings and cull them ruthlessly, because I am well on the way to becoming a mad old lady with drawers full of recipes.”

Ummm… partial success. I threw away a lot when we moved, and gave away huge piles of cookbooks. That counts, doesn’t it?

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6. Pieday.

“I will buy a tart tin with a removable base so we can eat more pies.”

Win! I have so many tart/pie tins now – including some very cute individual ones – I’m in danger of becoming a mad old lady with drawers full of pie tins. Oops.

7. Are you sitting nicely?

“I will sit down to eat.”

A common standing meal in Lucy’s household.

Fail. Though I did make this one of my resolutions again this year. And I make it a rule for any children in the house.

8. No al desko eating.

“I will not sit down to eat at my desk, if I can help it.”

Also fail. Though I’ve learned to push my laptop out of the way, and I don’t eat at my stand-up desk (I’m not a complete savage).

Macaroon of dreams.

9. Macaroon dreams.

“I will stop buying the enormous glace cherry-topped macaroons sold at the supermarket.”

Oh! I’d forgotten all about these! My goodness, they were so good. I think I need to go and see if they still make them…

10. Be grateful.

“I will remember how lucky I am to be able to have food in my fridge and family and friends to share it with.”

Always, or ‘100 per cent’, as the kids say now. Especially after 2020.

So, I think I can generously give myself a pass. I’m not a complete idiot, I have learned a thing or two. Still can’t believe I’d given up those macaroons though. Maybe my 2021 resolution is to eat them more often…

Do you make resolutions? How good are you at keeping them?

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