Food resolutions that matter

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We bring your our alternative food resolutions that will (hopefully) be easier to keep and will not only bring a little more jot to your eating but also to those foodies around you.

Love your leftovers
In Ireland it’s estimated that on average each person wastes 80kg of food waste every year, that’s according to Stopfoodwaste.ie. Sixty per cent of this waste is avoidable (such as leftovers and perished food) and 20 per cent potentially avoidable (bread crusts, for example). Plan your meals, work out portion sizes, only buy what you need, freeze anything you don’t eat or make it into a lunch the next day and apparently you can reduce the amount you spend on food by as much as 80 per cent.

Invite someone for dinner
According to the CSO’s 2011 census 136,295 people over the age of 65 are living alone and with an ageing population this figure looks set to rise. As of June 2016, Focus Ireland say that 2,177 of those in emergency accommodation were children, a situation where often there are no kitchen facilities. Cook a meal and invite over someone you think might be in need of a feed, be it an older neighbour who lives alone, a family, friends, or even a family member who might be struggling. Sit, talk, eat.

Learn something tricky
Because who doesn’t want to be able to whip up the perfect hollandaise, cook the perfect scallops or make wonderful macrons? Food doesn’t have to be difficult, but learning something tricky can help you to build kitchen con dence, even if there are disasters along the way. In Samuel Beckett’s words, “Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Grow your own
I’m relatively new to the whole idea of producing your own food and I have to say that there really is no better buzz than picking something o a plant you’ve grown and turning it into something tasty. Last year I grew carrots (in large tubs), potatoes (in larger tubs), tomatoes and a whole selection of lettuce leaves. And if I can do it, anyone can. An invaluable resource is GIY Ireland whose website has a whole host of information on getting started. You can also visit their Grow HQ in Waterford where they host courses.

Share a family recipe
We all know a family member who makes “the best” of a particular foodstuff … all to their own, unique recipe. e only way that great family recipes survive is if we share them with future generations. Pick a family member to share your recipe with, take them into the kitchen and talk them through it step by step, write it down. Or if you know a relative with a recipe you love, then ask them to teach it to you. You’re preserving a bit of your family’s foodie history and isn’t that lovely?

Support the independents
My local butcher’s shop, Larry’s in Marino, is the perfect example of how great an independent shop can be. He’ll go above and beyond to help customers with whatever cut they need and is never short of a bit of chat and craic, plus his meat is excellent. These smaller shops are at the heart of communities, especially in rural Ireland, and if we don’t support them then they, and the skills they have, are at risk of dying out. And nobody wants to lose places like these.

Use those cookery books
I’m as guilty of this one as the next person, buying a selection of cookery books, then leaving them to gather dust on the shelf. Which is terribly sad when you think of it because they can open your mind to a whole host of new techniques and tastes. Yes, it’s easier to cook the old favourites but cookery books should be used. At least once a week try to cook one recipe from a cookbook you own. And if you’re not going to use them then rehome them with someone who will or donate them to your nearest charity shop.

Judge not
Food should be an enjoyable, fun experience that not only nourishes our body but also leaves you feeling better for having eaten. Don’t be commenting on what others choose to eat, ever. Yes, it might not be up your street, it might not be what you’d eat, you might have opinions on what they should be eating instead… but if they are enjoying it then that’s the most wonderful thing. And we include judging yourself too, eat and enjoy, that’s our motto. ere’s nothing worse than a raised eyebrow or a tut when you’re tucking into a sugary, fresh jam doughnut.

Catherine Devane