Sunday, January 6

Resolution: To Simplify

So, resolution time. I initially blocked out a three-part culinary resolution, elaborate and destined for expeditious failure. Then I had my eureka moment: simplify. And so not only did I nix my trio of overambition, but I decided to make the very concept of simplification my resolution for the impending culinary adventures of 2008. I hereby vow to limit all of my exercises in gastronomic creativity to eight ingredients of less (I make no promises regarding the refinement of my prose). Every brunch food, every packed lunch, every spur-of-the-moment cook-off, every beverage, every dessert, every dinner party entree, even every dinner party appetizer -- no more than eight ingredients per dish. The idea is that I'd like to highlight quality ingredients and clean flavors: too often my cooking ends up tasting good...but not exactly tasting like anything in particular. My enthusiasm for all things good to eat, and my related attempt to use them all at once, often results in a muddle of flavors and textures that may be visually impressive yet betrays the virtues of the individual components. By selecting just a couple vegetables, a few seasonings, one basic flavor profile, I think my cooking will be more satisfying to create and to consume.

Two exceptions:
1. Sauces. Because if it's just going to be pureed into an accessory liquid flavoring, why not throw in everything but the kitchen sink?
2. Recipes. Even though I rarely use them, I think if I found a recipe that called for more than eight ingredients I could probably sidestep the problem of overcomplicated dishes and maintain the integrity of the end product.

Thus, "Not (Quite) Vegan" will now additionally chronicle my attempts to simplify, and clarify, my cooking.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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