January 2014: A Canadian Resolution

I love lists. Yes, that may sound strange, but it is true. Nothing pleases me more than a well thought out list, except maybe the joy of crossing things off that list. What a sense of accomplishment that simple act of putting a line through something on your list produces.

So it may now seem strange for a list lover like myself to admit that I have never really been the type to make New Year’s Resolutions. It almost seems like when you make a resolution you are just putting something up on a ‘What I will Fail at This Year’ list. And while that in itself is a list, it isn’t the kind of list I love.

Instead I try to set goals for myself that include a sublist of all of the steps required to help me achieve that goal. These goals don’t get set out at the onset of a New Year, it is an ongoing process; things get added, things get removed.

There are a couple of items on this list that I will share with you. The first is something I knew would be a struggle the moment I decided to hand in my resignation at my full time marketing job back in May of 2013 and go full time on my small preserving business. 

1)   Work/life balance.

While 2013 was a wonderful year filled with many great and wonderful exciting things for Manning Canning, it was definitely a year that fell heavier into the work side of the pendulum. It was to be expected and I weathered the storm, but in 2014 I am going to make a real effort on swinging that back over just a touch.

2)   Carry on family traditions.

Just over a year ago, my nonna passed away. She was 96, she went peacefully in her sleep as she always wanted and she had lived a good life. But after she passed, the hole that she left behind started to feel larger and larger with each passing day. I thought about all that our family had lost with her passing. Not just her presence, but the memories of the past and the skills she brought to the family unit.

I started to want to learn to make all of the wonderful things that she used to bake, I wanted to somehow carry on whatever bits of her knowledge that I could. Last year, I took on her infamous butterhorns and cream puffs and on the list for this year is her Italian Sweet Bread and her gnocchi to start.

My first attempt at the sweet bread produced a heavy, dense bread that was nothing like the light, fluffy bread she would make in her coal/wood burning stove. I could blame my instruments but in actuality I know it is my own personal skills that need tuning. I am not fazed by my failure, quite the opposite. It feels like a challenge and one that I am going to enjoy facing head on. After all, my nona made that bread hundreds of times. I am sure her first batch was not the 'light as air' loaf that I remember from my childhood.

Whatever your approach to your New Year's Resolutions may be, I hope you all succeed at the one's that are the most important to you.

Happy New Year!

This post is part of The Canadian Food Experience, it began June 7 2013. As we share our collective stories through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity.