the inevitable end-of-the-year wrap-up

above all things, i hate to be a cliche. i go to great lengths to avoid it in everything from my clothes to my shoes to the paint in my apartment and my plastic camera affections--and affectations. in this, however, i find that i can't help myself--this year has been full of too many changes--and too many culinary experiments--to go by unmarked. i find myself compelled to write a wrap-up of 2007. fortunately for you, you are free to disregard my musings as you see fit.

new year's is a peculiar time. it's all full of hope and optimism and promise for what is to come, but i always find myself looking back at the year gone by. this year saw a lot of interesting things for me: i changed my job--twice; several of my friends became engaged, or had children; i moved from washington, d.c. to west new york, n.j. to new york, n.y., and in the process i purchased my own apartment for the first time. i traveled a lot: twice to paris, 4 times to the hamptons, to west point, to california, back and forth to new york from DC i don't know how many times. i re-discovered and re-applied myself to my art and in the process pulled away from my kitchen--although that didn't stop me from attempting, among other things, macarons, croissants, puff pastry, layer cakes, 10 different types of risotto and a summer full of ice cream. i joined a CSA. i learned how to paint walls and install carpet and coordinate furniture and hang wallpaper. i got turned down for publication in a magazine, but i've been accepted into a group show at a downtown gallery. i made friends with a 4-star chef who lets me cook in his restaurant's kitchen. for thanksgiving, i made soup for 30 people and 3 kinds of dessert.

i find these "highlights" to be reflective of my journey through the year, as i lost the impatience of a kid with a new hobby and settled into a more comfortable and enjoyable role as an adult with one. i learned how to slow down, and plan, and anticipate. i learned the pleasure of a simple meal and how to practice a complicated one.

my highlights reel begins last year, on january 1, with my new year's eve dessert (molten chocolate cakes with lemon mousse, citrus compote and ice wine) and moves through the seasons and some of my favorite preparations, including: bulgogi beef, polenta with fried eggs, and my mis-construed "summer of gelato." i've concluded with the first meal i've prepared and served in my new apartment: fried chicken, latkes and sufganiyot in celebration of chanukah.

for next year, i hope i have half as much fun in the kitchen as i've had this year--then i can count it a success. and keep your fingers crossed on my next magazine submission!

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