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Do you have food goals?

After an academic year in New Mexico, I am back in Maine for 2 months. I set a goal of eating fresh seafood 2 meals a day, each day. I return to NM next week and am happy to report that I came damn close to meeting my goal. I hope it carries me over until next summer.
Have you long or short term food goals; sorry diets don't count.

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  1. I'm guessing you don't have set goals in New Mexico, so it really depends on location.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret

      Hatch green chile every day in every way!

    2. My goal is to make my own cheese and salumi.
      Another goal is to cook a Kalua pig in a backyard imu.

      Time frame? Sometime in the future.

      1. You certainly get around!
        My short term goal is to come up with an appealing menu, then crank out the goods for my inlaws' upcoming 50th annivesary gathering. I would rather hire caterers, but y'know... whatever the guests of honor want.
        Long term goal is to just grow into a more well rounded cook. The dishes I enjoy eating the most are easy for me to prepare and feel confident in. But a lot of it is heavily influenced by international flavors. Making a great Thanksgiving meal, or coming up with a casserole that people love are skills that escape me.
        What's great about cooking is that every day is truly a new day, and anything you want to accomplish is within your grasp with enough effort.

        1. I guess another goal is to continue to avoid chain restaurants. I'm coaching HS varsity soccer. I'm going to have to get creative or brown bag it at away games.

          1. On one of our visits to B'more in the recent past, I resolved to eat crab three times a day during our visit. Trip was four full days. Mission accomplished.

            8 Replies
            1. re: RedTop

              Haha! When my mom (from Iowa) visited me in college years ago in Boston, she successfully ate lobster twice away. I'll have to tell her that you beat her record :)

              1. re: DCLindsey

                I just ordered a dozen lobsters and a 5 gal bucket of crabs, from an old student. Ms. Keg's birthday tomorrow!

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  Please wish M. the best day ever, pdk. :)

                  1. re: mamachef

                    And my Greek buddy, whose wife is working in Texas, too hot for him. My goal is to have him over for supper at least twice a week. His b-day is Sat.

                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                    Does Mrs. Keg need any help celebrating??? That is my idea of a perfect birthday meal. She's a lucky lady.

                    1. re: jlhinwa

                      And I'm a lucky man! My goal is to make my wife happy w/ my cooking.

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        Okay, a looooong ways from lobster thrice a day, but when we're traveling, a "3 Cracker Barrel meal day" is cause for celebration (we don't have 'em where we live).

                2. re: RedTop

                  Congratulations. Years ago on a 2-week trip to Nova Scotia during lobster season, my goal was to find a restaurant and eat lobster every day. I was unable to accomplish my mission, and I shall never forget it!

                3. during lent, i always have food goals - no refined sugar. not meat. no alcohol. i give up trail mix every year, which is my crack.

                  i once ate raw for a few weeks just to see what that was like - eating and cooking.

                  these are not necessarily "goals" - but, i love grapes and cherries and when they're seasonal, i eat as much of them as possible. same goes for dungeness crab.

                  1. As far as cooking I want to make croissants. I plan on doing it next month to break in my family's new kitchen :-)

                    1. I would love to make more charcuterie and master butchering skills.

                      One thing that is HUGE would be to invent incredibly tasty light gluten free bread for those of us with celiac disease. Or a really great GF ciabatta.

                      1. I would like to master making fresh mozzarella and chevre. I would like to get more creative in my bread making. Unfortunately my husband rarely eats dairy product or any bread other than yeast free rye.

                        1. My first food goal was a little harsh - after college graduation from Penn, hitchhiking the Baja from San Diego to La Paz after the golf NCAA's, to eat 100 oysters in a single day. My golf buddy and I got 'er done, 980 hot dusty miles later.

                          Subsequently, my food goals have been mostly about where - Sydney Harbor, Angel Falls, many others. You are kindling thoughts about a new food bucket list.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Veggo

                            When I visit my bro in Vegas, our unstated, or even stated, but forgotten goal is to start the evening meal w/ 4 dozen oysters.

                          2. My goal is to take a roadtrip through all of the different locations listed in the Southern Foodways Alliance trails...

                            http://www.southernfoodways.com/touri...

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: deet13

                              Nice! the tamale trail surprised me. I've got to hit the top ten on the NM Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                A few of my old Army buddies and I are planning to hit Tamale Trail during the wild turkey season up in Mississippi, this coming March.

                                It should be fun.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Hmm a corpsman, that's a solid idea.

                                    IMO, it's a forgone conclusion that one or two of us in the van won't think, eat too many, and then subject everyone else in the van to one of those, "Hot Tamales in the wire!" moments.

                                    We might need someone with combat medical training to patch us up afterwards... ;)

                                    1. re: deet13

                                      Pure oxygen, the best hangover cure. I got spring break the 3rd week in March!

                            2. Love the question! After pondering this a few minutes, my new food goal is to come up with more specific and measurable food goals. :-)

                              Over the past couple of years, it has been a goal to introduce more variety into the meals I prepare by trying new ingredients, especially in the areas of produce and flavors (i.e., herbs, spices, and sauces). A specific way I have worked toward this goal is by shopping at our local H-Mart (Korean grocery store) and picking out a new produce item and sauce each time I visit, then try them out in home cooking. I never knew there were so many kinds of choy! And the sauces...oh my gosh, it is just amazing. I also make regular visits to hispanic markets and we have some new eastern European markets in town that I would like to try.

                              An eating goal that I made about a year ago is to try and re-try foods that I thought I didn't or wouldn't like. My daughter unknowingly inspired me when she fearlessly ate raw oyster after raw oyster when she was about 8. She loved them, even after knowing she ate them raw. Today she tried and loved seared ahi....a few days ago it was calamari. I realized how ridiculous it was to say I didn't like oysters of any kind based on a less than wonderful experience when I was about 16 and a very risk-adverse eater.

                              It has been a lot of fun trying things out and I am always so happy when I make a delightful new discovery.

                              Passadumkeg, after your post about the frukost bord, I made it my mission to find and try gammelost. I was sooo disappointed to find out that the local Scandinavian store cannot get it anymore due to those rules about non-pasteurized cheeses. I tried something called Esrom instead. It is pretty stinky, but has a very nice flavor. I am guessing that I will be the only person in the household eating it, though.

                              15 Replies
                              1. re: jlhinwa

                                I enjoy making kim chi from different veggies. I have 3 Korean cook books and another goal is to become a proficient Korean cook so when my eldest son and his Korean wife & 2 kids visit I can prepare "a touch of home". Last visit my DIL was pregnant and craving Korean food and I was at a loss to help her.
                                Gammel ost? Make it a goal to find it in Canada and smuggle it back!

                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                  That's so sweet! You are a wonderful MIL. I really hope your DIL appreciates your thoughtfulness.

                                  1. re: hala

                                    ps Hala, I'm a macho man! FIL, please oh please.

                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                      I just cracked up when I read this! The look on your face must have been great, passa!

                                      1. re: kubasd23

                                        Yes, I do all the cooking and grocery shopping. My wife is 100% pure Yankee, related to 1/2 the Mayflower, or so her mom told me. It is a matter of survival.
                                        My latest goal, living in New Mexico, is to cut out red meat and processed carbs. It is too easy to eat too much here.

                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          As a genealogist and married to a Yankee, I'm wondering how one can be related to 1/2 of a ship.

                                          My DH a true CT Yankee is a great cook, as were many of the generations of sea captains in his family. Perhaps it is the women of the North that have more intellectual talents. :-))

                                          1. re: Rella

                                            They are "Port-ly".
                                            Too late to ask my MIL.

                                  2. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Good idea about smuggling back from Canada. I will have to give that one a try. I cannot tell you how deflated I was to have finally worked up the nerve to try the stuff only to be told I can't get it here. Sheesh.

                                    I know nothing about kim chi, but that should go on my list of goals I think. Trying it, learning the differences, etc. H-Mart has a huge section of kim chi to choose from and you can serve yourself, meaning you don't have to make a commitment to a large amount in order to try it.

                                    My husband recently met his half brother and half sister (long typical weird family story as to why it took 35 years for that to happen...) and their mother is Korean. I could score some major family points if I learned some basics about Korean food. And heck, I really don't care about scoring points--I just really love them so they are worth the effort.

                                    1. re: jlhinwa

                                      I used to mail Cuban cigars back to the US for my dad and bro. On the customs declaration, I labeled them "poker accessories"; they got through.
                                      In the early 60's, I smuggled back a pair of CCM Tackaberry, top of the line, hockey skates from Canada to the US. There was a big tariff on them then.

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        Wow...Tackaberry's... from the Canadian Cycle and Motor company. My most prized posession when I was 16...$100 was a lot of money then. Made from kangaroo leather then.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          I got them at the factory, seconds. Never wore sock in them. Hot water and shrunk them to fit my feet; still up in the attic. Them's were the days!

                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                            No socks here, either. We poured a bottle of rubbing alcohol in them to soften them up, laced them on, and wore them in the shower to form the kangaroo to our foot, then let them dry slowly and coach Louie A. would put a good sharp on the blade.

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              My right blade is bent. I still put them on for pond hockey. Plastic Baurer's for Cardiac League at Alfond in Orono.

                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                No matter how many times I see it, I will never understand how people break in skates made of anything but leather! The rubbing alcohol was a big trick for us little figure skating girlies, too.

                                                And I've heard of quite a few people bringing all sorts of stuff from Canada with no problems at all, jhinwa.

                                      2. re: jlhinwa

                                        Cheese is normally not a problem to bring in from Canada to the US. The only time I had trouble was on a flight back to the States soon after 9/11 and I was bringing in a 2 kg block of aged cheddar - which x-rays the same as plastic explosives, apparently! They let me through with it.

                                  3. yes, always.

                                    short term (i'll be in Taipei shortly for a week): eat as much beef noodle soup and anything that looks good, and try to visit a tea house a day.

                                    hopefully next summer (my heart is set on Longyearbyen/Svalbard): arctic food

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Pata_Negra

                                      PN, I think in Svalbard/Spitzbergen, you'll be eating a lot of Russian food.

                                    2. Currently, I'm most interested in eating as much fresh corn as possible. 6 months out, I'd like to make a proper osso buco. It's miserably hot here in central TX so eating anything these days a chore based on starvation prevention.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: agoodbite

                                        We've been on a sweet corn binge as well, as long as fresh local is available.

                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                          Yes, good corn that is local and fresh is best. I'm happy enough with the TX grown stuff I get at HEB. I made a delicious batch of creamed corn out of it last Sunday with local, organic white onions, HEB's TX grown corn that I cut off the cob and fresh thyme. I sauteed the onions and a couple sprigs of thyme with butter, salt and pepper. Once the onions were translucent, I threw in the corn and cooked it for a minute at most. Then, I added cream and let it reduce until the whole mess was crisp-tender. It was simple and delicious.

                                          1. re: agoodbite

                                            Growing up I had a cousin w/ a farm in E. Brunswick, NJ. We used to pick our own corn and have whole summer meals of sweet corn. Jersey tomatoes too! Last night for dinner, we had a dozen lobsters and a dozen ears of sweet corn. Two goals at one meal.

                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                              Lobster, corn, and tomato for dinner is a summer food goal everyone should have.

                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                Free lobsters, mean just corn, no local tomatoes; none here yet and no garden this year.
                                                My lobster source is a former student. He's going to visit us in NM this winter and in echange we get gratis lobbers in the summer. If you ever visit this area, MGZ, I can arrange for you to go out "haulin'" w/ him.

                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  It's pretty much at the top of my relocation wish list. My wetsuit would probably get a lot more use.

                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                    Can't spear lobsters in Maine. Diving is very cold and due to high fast tides, pretty murky. I used to dive a lot in the Baltic, my wet suit say Helsinki Dive Club. If fish weren't biting the hook, we' put on our wet suits & tanks and spear 'em.

                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                      In Turks & Caicos, we tickle them out of the crags with a hooked wire from behind and then net them. No wet suit required, 200 feet visibility, 80 degree water. Spiny's, of course.

                                              2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                I dressed it up some and made it a birthday dinner (for mid-life-crisis-ridden, 47 year old me), but I followed your basic premise. We had king crab legs, the creamed corn, a sliced tomato salad dressed with local, delicious shallots and some boiled, buttered creamer potatoes. It was a delicious feast.

                                                I plan on making the same corn and serving it with crab cakes very, very soon.

                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                  Curious about your cousin's farm. My dad was a dentist in New Brunswick. One of his patients had a farm in East Brunswick. The patient would call my dad while the corn was being picked. Dad would call mom, tell her to start boiling water, then drive to the farm to pick up the corn and bring it home. This was in the late 50s when nearly all local corn was either Silver Queen or Golden Bantam. No sugar-enhanced hybrids for us. Man, do I miss the taste of that corn.

                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                    It's been ages since I heard that name, Golden Bantam (my mom's favorite). That was some corn. Agree totally on the taste of the old types.

                                          2. Oh yeah! I want to learn to bake a loaf of bread other than no-knead bread.

                                            Long term I want to learn how to hunt, field dress, butcher, and cook every game animal from squirrel to deer. Foraging wild plants for food is another part of it. I grew up in the suburbs and have no hunter friends or family so this might have to be a reaaaal long term goal.

                                            1. My current goal is to can at least 2 times a week, hopefully 3 this season. I'm trying to push the learning curb. Aside from one gloriously uninformed batch (not knowing something was low acid and using an older cookbook) each time has been getting better. I'm learning from each session, troubleshooting and improving.

                                              I'm now starting to have questions that my instructor can't answer!

                                              1. I have the same basic "food goal" every summer: To eat (or share in such a way as to assure that it's eaten) everything I grow or catch. The latter's not too hard, but, as to the former, I keep planting more tomatoes each year . . . . (At least I'm down to the very last habenero harvested last September.)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                  I would love to be your neighbor!

                                                2. For the last few years, I've tried to conquer (or at least wrestle to the ground) cooking a food that's sorta freaked me out in the past. Examples: risotto, whole roasted chicken and souffles. The one that's eluded me so far is short pastry. This is likely psychological as Mum's is such an impossible gold standard :-).

                                                  Dining out goal is to be even more omnivorous. As a former superpicky eater, I've spent a fair chunk of my adult life trying to overcome silly food phobias (I nearly spelled that fobias to alliterate!). I will try pretty much anything at least once now, and the list of things I am really averse to is growing ever shorter. I'm still struggling with oysters, cooked tuna (love it raw), and bell peppers and may have to admit defeat on those after all these years. I also can't get my head around ankimo but I have hope for that one as I only tried it for the first time a few years ago so it's not a lifelong pattern of maladaptive behaviour... I used to abhor uni and now can't get enough of it.

                                                  1. My goals aren't terribly ambitious, or as intriguing as some here have detailed (love the tamale trail), but I have three. One is simply to buy an ingredient that I've never used before every time I go to the market, the second is to try a new dish at least once a week, and the third is to try never to say no when I have the opportunity to try something new, but being a vegetarian is hurting my game on that one.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: onceadaylily

                                                      Buy a new cookbook, cook a new meal from it. It has now paid for itself.

                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                        Non-food goal: my next purchase will have a roof. :) And I gave away nearly fifty cookbooks the last time I moved, and still have fifty or so more in the kitchen. But I have been more disciplined about using those fifty lately.

                                                        And I hope your wife has a wonderful birthday!

                                                        1. re: onceadaylily

                                                          From another thread here, I took only five cook books to NM last year. All unusual ethnic ones. I did more Korean and Arab cooking the last year than in the whole rest of my life.
                                                          Two of our boys will be home too. The last time for a long time. My empty nest syndrome goal is to visit the kids around the world and eat!!!

                                                          Good new about the roof purchase. We own 2 1/2 houses (share the summer cabin w/ BIL) and no money. It works.

                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                            lol.....I have the same goal you do: to visit the kids and eat! And since one is in New Orleans and one in Japan there is certainly some diverse cuisine to explore there.....but have to go soon before one or the other moves on....

                                                    2. I've picked out a few dozen recipes from some of my favorite cookbooks (including Mark Bittman's Food Matters) and am working my way through the list.

                                                      My overall goal is to know at least one fantastic way to use pretty much any ingredient available to me.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. Nothing big. Each week I try to eat 50 different things. Each month I try to eat at least 1 thing I've never tried before and make something I rarely/never make. Each year I try to eat once at all levels and types of common cuisines.

                                                        1. Lately my goal has been to buy a new cheese to try each time I'm in a grocery store with a good selection. The downside to having this goal is that it totally screws with my goal of looking like a super model - damn!

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: EM23

                                                            Super models are freaks, get human, be happy.

                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                              Yeah, I was pretty happy with a nice bit of Taleggio earlier:-)

                                                            2. re: EM23

                                                              Don't quote me on this EM, but I'm pretty certain that it's been scientifically proven that good cheese is a powerful fat burner.

                                                              How could anything that tastes as awesome as cheese be anything less than an excellent diet food...

                                                              Now if someone would come up with a "Cheese Trail" for me to take a road trip down, I'd be a really happy camper.

                                                              1. re: EM23

                                                                That is a very worthy goal! I love love love cheese and have been on a kick of trying new ones over the past six months or so. I have at least 20 chunks of different cheese in my fridges right now. And that does not include the everyday eating stuff like sliced cheddar for sandwiches, parmesan, etc.

                                                                1. re: jlhinwa

                                                                  I have a few: the first is also based around cheese: I'd like to convince my local stores or a vendor at our town Farmer's Market to sell some good cheeses. A cheese shop would probably be too much to ask in this small town with a horrid economy and 20plus percent unemployment, but I sure wish I could get something good locally.

                                                                  My second goal is a bit less selfish: I'd like to start some type of local program in my town to get backyard fruit to the hungry. Well, not totally selfless: it would help me get rid of some of the plums in my back yard that i never can eat.

                                                                  Which is my third goal: finally figure out a way to use up ALL my plums (plum liquor is made and maturing in my pantry, but that's about all I managed to do...)

                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                    I'd be happy to take some of those plums off of your hands.....I like them for my lunches!

                                                              2. momentarily...
                                                                -breaking in my new baking stone, and finding a myriad of ways to use it
                                                                -really delving into Indian, and exploring regional and traditional dishes
                                                                -making more and expanding my repertoire of cheese
                                                                -go to costa rica and eat fresh hearts of palm

                                                                13 Replies
                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                  Go to Bolivia for the hearts of Palm. I thought Costa Rica was like a cross between Bolivia and Disney World. Too touristy, it's been "found", another barrio of Miami.

                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                    noted. i had planned on a surf trip to CR, but may have to rethink...

                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                      The Nicoya Peninsula has been found. My son lived in Puntarenas, a dump, but at lesast not touristy. The further south in CR, the few tourists.

                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                        The area around Arenal is more tranquil. I agree about Nicoya, although the Pacific vistas there are beautiful and the diving extraordinary, lots of sharks and manta rays and other pelagics.

                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                            I'll stick with a lava lamp. They surf in Jaco and the water is nasty. I'm safer under water with my shark friends further north. 55 feet visibility off Nicoya, no sediment runoff around the black beaches.

                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                              Yes , the Arenal active volcano. You said Arenal!

                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          When I was briefly in Puntarenas, I almost saw some guy get killed by a few others with machetes... the ONLY time I felt unsafe in CR.

                                                                          1. re: kubasd23

                                                                            My second son left NM 3 months ago, on a motorcycle, and is headed to Puntareanas, then to Guayaquil, Ecuador where he has a teaching job. His goal is to eat only at markets and roadside food. His original goal was to ride the bike the 40 K mi. to Buenas Aires, eating his way down. My son.

                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                              That is just fantastic! I wish I could do something like that..... Like father, like son :)

                                                                              1. re: kubasd23

                                                                                I find out this week if our youngest, 22, will be teaching high school biology, at the school where I teach, here in New Mexico.
                                                                                His food goal will be to learn New Mexico cooking from his father! And to sample every dark beer produced in New Mexico!

                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  I love that you are so close with your kids! I like his goals.... sounds like some I would have, haha

                                                                      2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                        It depends where you go in CR. I go really far down the pacific coast, almost in panama, and it is far from touristy, and very far from found. It is a little bit of paradise at the end of a dirt road. The hearts of palm there are amazing, fyi.

                                                                    2. To bake: a smorkage - puff pastry, Danish pastry, choux pastry, 2 kinds of fillings, Danish pastry heaven.
                                                                      To eat: white truffles. Have never had them.
                                                                      To spend more time in, eating: Taipei.

                                                                      1. Master the art of:

                                                                        Hunanese cuisine

                                                                        Sardinian cuisine

                                                                        1. Another thing I thought of is less waste. Sometimes I forget what I have in my two fridges and two deepfreezers!

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: chefathome

                                                                              Since I'm the organizing type, it drove me mad, so I started a list for the freezers (and other storage): What goes in and what goes out, including dates. One has to remember to update the list as one goes, so that is a problem, too :-))

                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                I USED to do this as I am normally incredibly organized but kind of got slack now that the freezers are both very full (plus the freezer sections in both fridges). I confess to hoarding...

                                                                            2. Cook at home more. Use more spices and explore more varied cuisines - actually take the time and effort to seek and try a new recipe instead of throwing something simple together. Actually eat all the vegetables I buy instead of letting them turn to slime in the back of the fridge. Eat fewer land animals and more beans & vegetable protein. Buy organic more often when I can afford/justify it. Resist 'the munchies'. Do the dishes in a timely manner.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                We are goal twins, except the washing dishes thing. I cook and my husband does the cleanup.

                                                                              2. I have several goals, based on where I've been and where I'm going. I grew up poor -- my mother was a single mother, and she raised three kids on a succession of factory and fast food jobs. We very often just plain didn't have enough to eat -- I was quite underweight as a kid -- and what we did eat was a lot of processed foods: Hamburger Helper, government cheese, maybe canned vegetables, hot dogs, Koolaid, a _lot_ of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with white bread and grape jelly, instant mashed potatoes (as a kid I thought I was allergic to mashed potatoes because eating them made me want to vomit.... Being introduced to real mashed potatoes cleared that misconception right up.) Every once in a while, as a treat, our mother would take us out to a fast food place to eat, like Amigos or Burger King, but even that was a real financial strain, and the result was that fast food was a luxury to be desired. I remember once getting $20 from my uncle for my birthday, and the first thing I did was go straight to McDonald's, which we never ate at because the money wasn't there. I also was envious of kids at school buying food from vending machines -- I never had money to do so, and the result was that vending machine food too became a luxury to be desired.

                                                                                Fast forward to adulthood. My grandmother is obese; my mother is extremely obese and is probably suffering from undiagnosed diabetes to boot. My grandparents just told me that they're afraid that if my mother does not see a doctor soon, she may end up losing her legs (my mother avoid doctors because she's afraid of medical bills that she can't afford.) Once I myself turned 19 or 20, I slowly started gaining more and more weight myself, until I eventually hit a size 26 in pants. I went into the military, then went to college, and I absolutely loved college and felt like I found my calling -- graduated Phi Beta Kappa, then went into a Ph.D. program at Cornell University. During that time I gained more and more weight, and eventually I left my program early with a master's degree because of clinical depression, because of personal issues that I was not dealing with. Not a happy time.

                                                                                I found that once I left grad school, my weight just eventually started going down, slowly, on its own. So then I felt encouraged, added a heavy-duty walking program on top of that, and started losing weight even faster. After about two years, I lost a total of 80 pounds.

                                                                                My mantra for eating is natural and traditional. I avoid processed, industrial food as much as possible. I love fresh produce of all kinds, I love variety, and while I am not a vegetarian, I am also horrified by how industrial practices treat animals. My personal philosophy is that food is your connection with the natural world and with culture, and the industrial system is not something I want to be a part of. It's making us all sick, and it's killing the earth. I was very much influenced by books like "Fast Food Nation" and those by Michael Pollan. I'm starting to get into Weston Price (and French cooking, which seems to go together with Weston Price....). I slowly cut out more and more sugar -- it took a long time to go from putting too much sugar in my coffee, to no sugar in my coffee at all (I find now that milk by itself is enough of a sweetener). I bike to work, which I find helps me feel happy -- but also makes me a bit of a freak in the eyes of others. At the moment I'm teaching community college, and I plan on applying to Ph.D. programs in December -- I've decided that academia is where I feel most fulfilled and happy, and that's where I want to be. I'm using this summer as a break from academic stuff, and I'm using the opportunity to get deeper into my cooking hobby -- my plan is that by trying new things I haven't done before, it'll become more and more a habit that I will follow even when busy and not able to devote a lot of mental energy to it -- including starting later this month, when I'll be much more busy with academic stuff again.

                                                                                A shorter way of summarizing the above: my goal is to stay out of the regular grocery store as much as possible. Even their produce sucks.

                                                                                I wonder if I can raise my own geese and ducks and be a college professor at the same time....?

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: lapelosa

                                                                                  "I wonder if I can raise my own geese and ducks and be a college professor at the same time....?"

                                                                                  Hopefully, you will have enough free range for your ducks and geese, and not have to go off onto a long-distance sabbatical.

                                                                                  I know of a few that can afford decent food but choose the way you wrote about.

                                                                                  A shame!

                                                                                  Thanks for sharing your background - it is one that I'm sure many can relate to, and very inspiring.

                                                                                  1. re: lapelosa

                                                                                    Very nice, lap.
                                                                                    In Maine, we had a large organic garden and kahki campbell ducks to eat bugs and then we ate the ducks. I'm back in NM now, no garden,but I do have a fishing and hunting license and an elk permit.
                                                                                    My NM food goal? To fill the freezer w/ green chiles, deer/elk and trout.

                                                                                  2. Continue zero waste food management,all food stuffs used in a timely manner,keep the freezers and pantry absolutely current.
                                                                                    WITHOUT ANY CHEATING,cook it,serve it or send it to my father in law.Only the uber trim and garden trash for the poultry and pigs.

                                                                                    1. my first food goal is to be invited to agoodbite's house for the king crab/corn/tomato feast. I'm in Central TX (Kerrville) too. Next goal is to build (with a friend's help) a wood-fired outdoor
                                                                                      oven. Have to wait a while on that until the fire danger is over here in TX. THEN, one of these
                                                                                      days I will dig a pit and roast a pig....as soon as I can find a whole pig. Hard to locate here.
                                                                                      We did a whole cabrito (goat) on a huge grill a few years back and it was very successful, but the thought of roast a pig jazzes me up! Any suggestions on where to find one?

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: amazinc

                                                                                        Do you have a plan for the wood fired oven? They are expensive no?

                                                                                        1. re: qandieladie

                                                                                          We have one of these in our Croatia house and LOVE it! We will be using it year round for nearly everything. I highly recommend these if possible.

                                                                                        2. re: amazinc

                                                                                          amazinc, I haven't glanced at this thread since the hellacious summer ended. I'm very, very flattered that you found my menu appealing.

                                                                                          Wish I would've been there for your cabrito roast. Last time I had that was at my great aunt's ranch outside Marfa when I was a kid back in the 70's. If you get around to the pig, I'd love to even be a fly on the wall. I don't know how far you're willing to travel for a whole pig or what you'd be willing to pay, but I bet Richardson Farms would be able to hook you up. They're located in Rockdale, which would be a bit of a drive from Kerrville. They also sell at most of the farmers markets in the Austin area, which would still be a bit of a drive, but better than going all the way to Rockdale. I'm sure they'd work out a pick-up for you at one of the markets. They're offering much of the best pork in central TX.

                                                                                          http://richardsonfarms.com/

                                                                                          I envy you and your plans to build a wood-fired oven. Have you been able to build it yet? It's cooled off and not quite as crispy, but the drought is still on...

                                                                                        3. Buy a house with room for a 12 person table, fill said table with 12 people, and feed them until they're verrrrrry happy. About once a month.

                                                                                          More modestly? 1) Make sure this year's Christmas preserves each have lovely labels to match all the hard work that went into making them, 2) Make a really dry mead, 3) get that lovely little still I've been dreaming of and distill myself something alcoholic and apple-based!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Vetter

                                                                                            Nice list. And I have a dining room table that's nine feet long, and could fit eight or ten people comfortably, so I guess I should add using that table to my list. We have a dinner party that we've been planning for . . . awhile.

                                                                                            I haven't had mead in ten years, but I love it. Good luck.

                                                                                          2. I'm hoping to overcome my fear of making fondant candy centers. I've used bought fondant from a candy supply place, but would really like to make my own. I don't have a marble slab, I'm not permanently settled at the moment and don't have space. I've been doing a lot of candy in the past year-ish and that's one that I'm afraid of. That and old-fashioned fudge.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: sarahjay

                                                                                              Success can be yours. I make fresh strawberry or raspberry centers and dip in dark chocolate.

                                                                                              http://www.amazon.com/Candymaking-Rut...

                                                                                              I guess you can copy and paste the above in your browser window. Don't know how all this works yet.

                                                                                            2. I would like to make any of these without a certain amount of trepidation on a scale of 5-10. I would like to get my comfort zone under 5.

                                                                                              chapati using atta flour

                                                                                              Fresh ravioli using old crank pasta roller

                                                                                              Gnocchi

                                                                                              Fresh spaghetti out of KitchenAid mixer extruders

                                                                                              Pie crust and tarts and pasta frolla

                                                                                              Pita - part whole wheat

                                                                                              Rye Crackers Swedish Hardtack

                                                                                              Flan and/or quiche

                                                                                              Burger buns

                                                                                              Doughnuts

                                                                                              Pan di me

                                                                                              Soft rolls

                                                                                              No knead baguette

                                                                                              No knead ciabatta

                                                                                              Pate a chou (possibly)

                                                                                              23 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                Pate a Choux is a piece of cake... so to speak. Don't have trepidation about that one! It's actually fun to make, and oh so useful!

                                                                                                What is your trepidation regarding the no knead bread variations? Do you already make the standard artisan loaf?

                                                                                                Pasta Frolla! I like that idea :)

                                                                                                1. re: Emme

                                                                                                  Pate a choux does have the least "fearful" zone.

                                                                                                  But everytime I think of making Lahey's NYT no knead bread (which I dump into a preheated 450 degree pot, I just go ahead and do it the same way, making a boule because my creativity gets lost in figuring out how I'm going to get a ciabatta shape or baguette shape into that round pan!

                                                                                                  I love the taste of the NYT bread, but I "trepidate" over the unknown shape.

                                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                                      I love the videos you sent. Ciril Hitz is one of my favorites - I have his book and DVD. The cibatta video is great too.

                                                                                                      However, it is the Lahey (NTY) "method" of baking it that I am trying to incorporate in shaping and baking of a ciabatta or baguette, that I haven't figured out how to get.
                                                                                                      One might say, well, it won't be a ciabatta or baguette any longer, but even though I agree with that, I'd like to make and bake a different 'shape' than the boule - by putting in some kind of pan with a lid at 450 and so on.

                                                                                                      Thanks Emme.

                                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                                        Use a baking sheet and a large stainless steel bowl over top. I make that all the time without the Dutch oven rigamarole.

                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          +1 baking sheet + big bowl + baking stones = all you need :)

                                                                                                          the lahey dough (at least my version) is just a bit wetter. so i have a harder time getting it to hold too specific a shape... i suppose i could sacrifice some of the large interior holes for a little more shape, but when push comes to shove i never want to do that.

                                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                                            Interesting, I actually find the CI dough a bit dry and add more water to it.
                                                                                                            Will be interested to see how you solve this.

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              I find the Lahey NYT dough "just" manageable.

                                                                                                              I understand your recommendation, buttertart of
                                                                                                              "baking sheet and a large stainless steel bowl over top"

                                                                                                              but my quandry is the different shapes. "Bowl" is round. Cibatta wide long; and baguette narrow-long.

                                                                                                              Do you have another suggestion what to put over the dough that would fit the two different shapes.

                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                A deep 13x9 pan, perhaps? A big roaster over the whole shebang? Sideways in the oven so the handles (if any) could go down through the rack?

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  Thanks, I'll go looking in my stash. Your suggestion to use over the stone opens up possibilities.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                    i essentially ended up with a ciabatta shape last night. i baked on a baking sheet (on my quarry tiles) under a massive stainless mixing bowl. as i mentioned, i do a very wet dough. i sort of shaped it before the final two hour rise, but it really just expanded nicely rectangle style from the basic parameters i gave it. baked it at 425 for under an hour. (i do a half recipe - 2 cups flour 1/4 tsp yeast 1/2 tsp salt 1++ cup water)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                      On my next bread baking I will have to try your technique.

                                                                                                                      Just a reminder that my exercise is to do the Lahey (sit overnight) recipe, stretch & fold, let rise, then plop into hot oven. Is that what you did with your ciabatta. The Lahey IS my template.

                                                                                                                      Was it difficult to plop it down onto your tiles? I have grown expert on plopping it into a heated cast iron pot, but I'm not sure I could plop it onto a stone, and 'place' the mixing bowl on top without some serious tap-dancing.

                                                                                                                      I have a big, big stainless steel bowl, but i don't think it's going to cover a ciabatta.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                        Hi Emme, Please disregard my second paragraph which has nothing to do with your complete answer re the baking shape of the ciabatta, for which I'm appreciative.

                                                                                                                        I like to be 'on point' and I wasn't. :-)) But my thanks, again.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                          no prob. my error in clarity! i prep it on parchment, then plop parchment and all down onto the tiles... NO baking sheet at all! i do the same regarding overnight for 18-22 hours. then take it out, fold it over on itself in thirds lightly, then let it rest 15 minutes. shape into a blob on parchment dusted with flour and a bit of cornmeal, rest for 2 hours, preheat oven in las 30 min.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Emme

                                                                                                                            We're on the same page. Many thanks.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Rella

                                                                                                                    A small fish kettle? They're roughly baguette shaped.

                                                                                                                    1. re: DunkTheBiscuit

                                                                                                                      Ah, ha! Yes, I have what I call a fish poacher. You are right. It's sitting there waiting to be tried.

                                                                                                                      1. re: DunkTheBiscuit

                                                                                                                        Super idea, as long as it's not copper with tin - the baking temp is too high.

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                          It's all stainless steel similar to this
                                                                                                                          http://www.amazon.com/Paderno-Fish-Po...

                                                                                                                          18" x 6" I've had it for years, barely used, and it says on bottom "Made in Italy."

                                                                                                                          At any rate, I think I'd better start out with a small baguette --
                                                                                                                          oh, oh, as I speak - I have a "LARGE" pan de mie -- which might be dangerous if baked with the top closed.

                                                                                                                          I'll start simple.

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              I have this cloche in the round size, as well http://www.kitchencontraptions.com/ar...

                                                                                                                              and this would be OK for a baguette.

                                                                                                                              The only problem - well, there are two problems.

                                                                                                                              Number two problem is that when I bought these, I recall that on the site these are touted as being made from clay from the U.S. When they arrived and the box said "made in Taiwan," I called them, and they assured me that it was just a mistake on the box.

                                                                                                                              Much later when I opened the boxes, loh and behold, imprinted on both was "Made in Taiwan. Taiwan clay is not the same as Ohio? clay. I wanted clay from U.S. as was touted.

                                                                                                                              Number one Problem was that I have is that I made bread in a bottom only cloche - not these - but another one - and it stuck so bad that the bread was unable to remove, which did a lot to dissuade me from using either one of the cloches with tops - made in Taiwan.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                                Use parchment, perhaps?
                                                                                                                                I can see being put out at the misrepresentation of country of origin (bad business practice), but having lived in Taiwan I wouldn't have any compunctions about using them if it were me.

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  Yes, parchment is certainly a possibility for me - one might say I'm addicted to it.

                                                                                                                                  The Ohio river valley - I lived in that area and know that as a child in the early 40's, the Ohio River was compromised. Many chemical plants along the river then and now.

                                                                                                                                  I envision industrial Taiwan with the same problems today as our rivers might have - or have had -- so I suppose it can be the same thing.

                                                                                                                                  I've been to Taipei - DH has spent some time there - and/so I will give your positive recommendation some unbiased thought. Thanks.

                                                                                                    2. When I started meditating 14 years ago, I understood that my body was best suited to make all my food choices. I learned through great teachers how to listen, and then realized that all the "plans" or goals, or mind creations could not ever work on me again. It was very difficult, but I have been healthier since. I think that anything developed solely by my mind, would contradict my body's wisdom and undermine its ability to nourish itself in the best way possible. Our bodies are brilliant:) If we would listen very very closely, they would provide the best plan ever :)

                                                                                                      1. make better sourdough bread
                                                                                                        Make grilled food that has grilled flavor
                                                                                                        Make a risotto that is good
                                                                                                        Cook a new recipe each week I have so many
                                                                                                        Volunteer somewhere that teaches about cooking healthy meals.

                                                                                                        1. I was recently on vacation in Sonoma Country and I set a goal of buying (and eating) only locally made cheese.

                                                                                                          1. When we go to Canada, we eat butter tarts every day and drink maple syrup scooped up fresh from the big boiler it is in. Then, we bring home a bunch of jugs and have it in our tea (for me, coffee for he) every morning until it is gone. And, Tim Horton's at least twice per visit.

                                                                                                            When we go to Oregon, we have ice cream at least twice! Once a serving of Tillamook and once a serving of whatever is in my brother's freezer.

                                                                                                            And, when we hike a fourteener (peak over fourteen thousand feet above sea level), we eat Boulder Ice Cream's Dutch chocolate...so good and a must after a work out like that.

                                                                                                            When we visit my parents, my goals do focus around food as my dad is a major foodie. We have several restaurants that we have to go to at least once, we have to come up with something to make together, my boyfriend has to make an Indian dish and I have to make something I've never made before. Fun!

                                                                                                            Those might be my only food goals, at least they are the ones I'm aware of.

                                                                                                            1. When I was 12 and my family did a New England driving tour, I had clam chowder at every single restaurant. Don't think I've been that single-minded since.

                                                                                                              Current goals: make pasta with the hand crank Atlas I bought in the spring, make a souffle, make limoncello, make puff pastry. I'm pretty much about doing things from scratch that I haven't done before, although I need to make bagels again now that I have a stand mixer. By hand was a beeyotch, but delicious.

                                                                                                              Some day when I have more kitchen/freezer space, I'd like to learn to can and buy a 1/4 of beef and 1/4 of pork.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: LisaPA

                                                                                                                Come mid September, I am driving west to the Mississippi river and then following it to Wisconsin. No interstate highways allowed. I've been told that Alton Brown has done it, but that is of no never mind to me. Having lived in Louisiana, I will start serious eating once I get to Natchez. I already have enough stops to feed me for a month, but I have allocated 7 days for the expedition.

                                                                                                                The only other foodcentric item on the bucket list is to take my boat back to Europe and travel and eat through the canals of the former Warsaws Pact. Couldn'ttravel there before because of my security clearence. Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, East Germany. I hope two years is long enough to do them justice.

                                                                                                                1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                                                                                                                  Yum. My immediate goal is to fill the freezer w/ 90 lbs. of roasted Hatch green chiles.

                                                                                                              2. Great thread. Just a few goals. The main one is to cook more and buy less takeout. The other one is to try to limit eating out to no more than 2 nights a week and possibly one lunch or breakfast each week except when on vacation.

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: middleagedfoodie

                                                                                                                  Become a teacher and your goal is easy to attain. (:0}

                                                                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                    Yeah, but your cookin' is better'n eatin' out.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                      Amen! But necessity is the mother of invention. Time to boil water to soak the red chiles for enchiladas. Funny, we have team meals the evening before soccer matches. I dread the meals. I've already asked the mother of my one Indian soccer player for left over curry. I'll eat with the grandfather. What to do on away games?
                                                                                                                      Italian chicken stew for suppers this week.

                                                                                                                2. My food goal is grow all my own herbs and chillies and not have to buy them from the supermarket. It was going ok until the mint I bought at the farmers market infected everything with powdery mildew. Parsley, serrano chillies, and rosemary are back on track, basil and chives are sprouting. Once all the basics are under control, I want to start growing obscure things like borage and anise hyssop (I just like the words!)

                                                                                                                  1. I had a goal of tasting 250 different variety of fruit. I just hit it and upped the goal to 1000. You can see the list on my site with about 100 of the fruit reviewed. it's been a really fun adventure so far.

                                                                                                                    http://fruitmaven.com/fruit-index/

                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: bereccca

                                                                                                                      I don't see star fruit on the list. I've eaten star fruit which is absolutely delicious, but the last one I bought at $4.99 each, was inedible.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Rella

                                                                                                                        Ha! I have reviewed star fruit, but you are right it didn't make the list. Good catch. I just added it.

                                                                                                                        I have never eaten a delicious one. In fact I think this phrase sums up my feeling on it:

                                                                                                                        This fruit just screams pizazz the second you see it. And then you taste it…and it mumbles “meh”.

                                                                                                                        http://fruitmaven.com/2010/02/carambola/

                                                                                                                      2. I had a few food goals this year. The first was to eat vegetarian food one day a week. Second was to start eating free range chicken. Third was to cook a new dish every week.

                                                                                                                        Next years food goals are to progress an idea I have for a food business and carry on with all of the above.