It’s January 5th. Clearly, I’m a little hesitant to post resolutions. We were forced to formulate goals periodically in an English class I took long ago in high school. The first time I sort of disliked it. The second time I found every aspect of it tiresome. The third time I instead wrote an essay arguing against ever making resolutions. So forgive me if my attempt to return to resolutions is a bit weak. I’m still not much good at them. I’m trying to carve out some very specific goals that not only carry targets but also explanations of what those goals mean to me and why they are important.

1. Ask. When I shop, when I eat at restaurants, when I eat with friends ask about where it’s coming from, ask about what it means to them, ask about what they think about when they think about food. I suppose I used to think it would seem rude if I asked a waiter where the carrots came from, that it would just bother them. But, if done politely and humbly, it actually reflects a sincere interest in food and the deepest respect for the all who work with food. When dealing with friends, I felt similarly. My decision not to eat meat because of the difficulty in determining a certain provenance seemed personal. And I don’t think I need to try to convert anybody to anything. But I do think everyone should have to answer for their food choices. Everyone should have to be a conscientious eater. And on top of my desire to push people to become conscientious eaters, I am also simply interested in their food histories, how certain things came to be important to them.

2. Try. I want to try a new recipe once a week. A great way to force myself to do this is to sign up for a CSA. It’s a bit like Iron Chef with a surprise ingredient. This one requires less of the long term, slow momentum of the first resolution, it means simply signing up now that I’ve moved into my new apartment. But the effects will hang around. I’ll have new recipes on standby for company and I’ll continue to get to know myself in the kitchen. I’ll be able to read a recipe and understand why it is in a certain order or know when to substitute according to my own developed taste. I’ll be working toward my own culinary identity.

3. Write. I’ve been having these dreams about Obama. They started after the summer election in Iran. We sit down to lunch, both order salads, and I tell him what I think should be done. Sometimes we talk about the opposition in Iran, the UC system, health care, and agricultural reform. It seems quite silly (why do we always just order salad? is that the decided meal of diplomats?) but it’s wonderful that I feel I have this relationship, this ability to speak. We all have that ability. Maybe I can’t meet up with him for lunch but I can write to him, to my representatives, to department heads. I want to either call or write once a week to tell those in power to prioritize agricultural land reform as a matter of economic and environmental sustainability. I want to ask them to reject the influence of large lobbyists who have made it so every farm must have a separate bathroom set aside for the sole use of the inspector sent from the USDA, adding yet another cost hurdle for small farmers. I believe in pestering. I believe in coordinated, large scale pestering. I guess I’m making a resolution to pester and asking you to think about doing the same.

That’s my initial toe test of the waters of resolution. Let me know if you have any suggestions and happy new year!

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