We’ve feasted on all of our favorite holiday dishes, opened gifts, and now it’s time to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of one that’s going to be even better. At STF Events & Catering we’re planning for the new year in a dozen ways, but we wanted to share some great food-related new year resolutions that you can add to your 2017 goal list!
We love food, obviously, so you’re not going to see any eat-less goals here! We want everyone to enjoy food and the process of finding and preparing it even more this year. Here’s some ways you can join in with us on learning to love food, menus, and the place you live more than you ever have before.
#1: Shop more at the Farmer’s Market
Forgo some of the usual trips to the grocery store for a chance to enjoy the bounty at the local Farmer’s Market. Luckily for us, there’s two fantastic local markets in our area, one in Murfreesboro and one in Nashville. The benefit of farmer’s markets is not only the price but the knowledge that the food your buying came from your region. You also get a chance to chat with someone directly connected to the place where your food came from. Farmer’s markets are an entirely different way to interact with your food, and they’re enjoyable trips that often include a lot of free samples!
#2: Tour a local farm or two
If you want to get a deeper look at where your food comes from, try taking a tour of a farm or ranch in your area. Not every farm offers this and even fewer offer it on a regular basis, but by searching the internet and calling around to some places you can usually find farms that will give you a tour. If you’ve got kids, this is a great day trip! Lots of farm tours include activities for families. In the middle Tennessee area we recommend checking out Bloomsbury Farm, which offers tours and events, and D & D Teaching Farm, which offers both tours and farm-related classes.
#3: Try to reduce food waste
It’s hard to believe but recent studies estimate that approximately one-third of all food is wasted or spoiled. This year we’re striving to reduce our food waste and encourage you to do the same. Minimizing food waste can be done through easy changes like using a list to shop, shopping more often for fewer meals, and actually eating those leftovers in the fridge. Lots of little changes will add up over the course of the year. And another great benefit to reducing food waste- all of these changes mean saving money!
#4: Keep a plant alive
We are great at preparing and cooking food, but growing it is not our strength! This year we are going to manage to keep at least one plant alive! Whether you decide on a vegetable garden, a row of tomato cages, or going really wild and buying a lemon tree, this year let’s all try to produce something edible. With all of the resources out there, surely we can all try growing something this year. We actually managed to do pretty well with our small herb garden last year, so we’re going to keep it thriving 2 years in a row!
#5: Recreate a family recipe
When cooking meals at home, it is so easy to fall into a rut. It seems like it’s all too easy to continue to recreate the same safe meals every week, so this year it’s time to branch out. Instead of trying the craziest food trend this year, why not go back to your family’s old favorites. Ask grandmas, uncles, and moms to send some of their tried and true recipes to you. Besides growing your own recipe repertoire, cooking something that is such a classic with your family will make you feel close to them. It’s like sharing a meal from a distance!
#6: Weed out your cook book collection
Speaking of trying new recipes, it’s time to clear out that cupboard of cookbooks! If you haven’t cooked anything from them in the last two years, it’s time for them to go. Make room for your new tastes! Food trends and menus are constantly changing- it’s why we love weeding through our own catering menus every year to make room for new, exciting dishes. Go through all those old cookbooks and get rid of the ones you just don’t use, and then we think you should reward yourself and buy a new one that came out in the last year!
#7: Eat a meal at an ethnic restaurant you’ve never tried
Nothing is more bizarre to us than when people say they hate a certain kind of food and the reason they don’t like it is because they’ve never had it. The only way to know what you like or don’t is to try it. We love food from other cultures, we incorporate it into our menus all the time, and we are always looking to try new dishes. This year no more boring chain restaurants! Look for some local restaurants with a menu inspired by a culture other than your own.
#8: Read a travel & food book
No list of food resolutions would be complete without some kind of travel! Obviously, if you can do it, go, take an amazing trip to a new destination, and try all of the local cuisine. For those who don’t know if a trip can happen this calendar year, join us in reading about some fantastic food from faraway lands. Our list includes Food Trails by Lonely Planet Food and Grape, Olive, Pig: Deep Travels Through Spain’s Food Culture by Matt Goulding. We LOVE to travel. The trips we take give us menu and ingredient inspiration from diverse countries and cuisines.
#9: Quit waiting in long lines for trendy restaurants
Nashville is full of trendy restaurants that tourists read about online. Then they come into town and wait for hours (HOURS!) to eat at restaurants that are on par with a ton of others in town. This year, let’s all agree to forage off the beaten path. Instead of going to a place where we already know there will be a line, let’s get on our phones and start hunting for something newer and more exciting!
#10: Visit a local brewery, winery, or distillery
We put this on the list just in case you needed a good excuse…. We’ll probably see you there!
Cheers to a great year!
2017 is going to be our best year yet, and we hope it will be for you too! We’re excited for all of the meals and events we’re going to experience this year, and we can’t wait to work with you!