Bookshops in December are magical: Christmas decorations in jewel colours, handsome little stocking fillers, and fat piles of bestsellers ready to be wrapped and placed under sparkling Christmas trees. Cookbooks boom in December. This year, the bestsellers included Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles (a beautiful love letter to winter), Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour, Nigella Lawson’s At My Table, Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet and Anna Jones’ The Modern Cook’s Year.
In January, however, shit goes south. If December brings us together to eat, drink and be merry, then January is a long, cold month of repentance. Payday is literally a hundred thousand years away. The weak optimism of ‘New Year, New You’ brings the pseudo-science of gimmicky diets to our social media timelines: calorie counting, weightloss clubs, body goals. Syns.
I want to do something different. I want to reconnect with my kitchen after years of eating out, eating convenience food, eating quick meals whipped together late at night. I want to cook my way through 2018.
Let’s think about food and nourishment differently. Let’s crack open the cookbooks we were lovingly given for Christmas and let’s spend January learning to nourish ourselves with all the thought, warmth, love and care that we deserve.
On Twitter, we’re starting to list our #cookjan goals. The only unanimous aim is to look at food in a fresh way, as an alternative to detoxes, diets and repentance for Christmas. Beyond that, you can embrace your own #cookjan resolutions.
I’ve started with clearing out my fridge, organising my kitchen cupboards and sorting out my cookware. I’m going to spend today drinking coffee, listening to some chill music and flipping through my vast and underused collection of cookbooks for inspiration.
Maybe your goals for #cookjan will be to work through a specific cookbook, or tackle a particular cuisine. Maybe your goals are less gastronomically aspirational – like maybe you’re just aiming to cook simple shit without feeling pressurised to Be Good. Maybe you’re going to try Veganuary, or you’re going to bake a different bread each week. Whatever your intention, you’re welcome to join in.
Spread the word. Let’s #cookjan.