Thursday, December 31, 2009

Looking for the answer in 2010....

New Year's Eve, 2009

I received the movie Julie & Julia as a Christmas gift and watched it Christmas day.  I had read the book years ago and really enjoyed it.  I remember being very impressed by Julie's thoughtful insight into what cooking can do for you, how she 'channeled' Julia Child and her real commitment to her project and her blog: the julie/julia project.  Julie set out to make EVERY recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a year - even the gross stuff - the gelatinous aspics and the organ meats and 'sweetbreads,' which by the way are SO far from anything I've come to know as 'sweet bread' (do not expect a gooey cinnamon bun!).  And she religiously wrote about it - definitely a huge time commitment on her part.  To be honest, part of me was envious, thinking 'what a brilliant idea!'  I should've thought of that!  I love Julia Child - really I do, my mom loved her and loved to cook and that's definitely something that I'm very thankful to have inherited.

So now with the movie fresh in my head, and me with a fair amount of time on my hands seeing how I'm well beyond the insanity that is Ironman training and a hip/back issue (also known as 'old age') that is preventing me from training for another marathon anytime soon, well it got me thinking: 'That's what I need, a project!'  So I'm obviously not going to do the same thing - and by the way, as much as I say I would've loved to have thought of this first - there is just NO way I'd let all that butter come between me and my weight loss success so far. It's been over 6 years of Weight Watchers meetings and points and  probably a million gallons of water - no thanks, even Julia Child isn't worth my throwing all that away. And by the way, Julie had a husband to feed and did a lot of it as a daily chore of making meals for the two of them, albeit very rich, delicious meals.  So no, as much as I love to cook, I don't think 'the art of french cooking' is gonna be in my future anytime soon, or ever for that matter.

So ruling that out I thought a bit more about what I could do. I know deep down I wanted to do something that might be 'charitable' in some way.  It certainly didn't have to be cooking, but fresh off my holiday baking made me realize how much I love doing it, especially cookies. And whatever I decide to do, I wanted it to be fun - not something I'd totally struggle to do consistantly - but just challenging and realistic enough  for me to stick with.  Basically I was looking for something to take the place of the marathon training I'm not doing.

Anyway, I tossed around a few ideas, mostly related to volunteering, but then realistically thought about how 'I' am and what I know about myself - and nothing seemed feasible for me to stick with for an entire year.  I started browsing my cookbooks - one of my favorites is 'Baking with Julia' - a little too obvious - plus the issue of what to do with everything (cakes, pies, breads, rolls, muffins etc) once I bake it.  The annual Cooking Light yearbooks appealed to me too - at least it'd be 'light'- but again - that's a lot of food for one person.

What I started to realize was that if I was going cook or bake 'anything' I needed a distribution plan - and for some reason as I was driving home tonight I got to thinking about what I want to do with my cookies and baskets next Christmas.  Baking Christmas cookies has got to be one of my greatest joys on earth - it is always SO much fun to me.

And right then everything became clear - this project I've been looking for is right here - it's flour & sugar & eggs & vanilla in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes - and then it's delicious!   A homemade cookie has got to be one of the best, simplest pleasures in life.  Certainly I could give away cookies.  Who wouldn't love a cookie? Can a cookie make a difference?  Can a cookie change the world?  How will you know if you don't try?

So that's it ... I'm working on the details and that'll come next, but tonight I came home and setup this blog -  my commitment is 'in the books' and tomorrow I may even tell people about its existence.  2009 is drawing to a close and I have to tell you I'm feeling pretty good about the prospects of 2010.