Onward and Upward

January 2018 · Chef John Reed, CEC, CCA

So, it’s that time of year again-resolutions, reflections, trends, what’s in and out and a bunch of subject matters to get us thinking about the next 12 months. In reality, most resolutions are shot after about a month, and trends are usually made up by a bunch of marketing folks who have other motives, such as selling more of the next superfruit! I hate getting sucked into putting those personal goals down on paper. I do think about my business and tasks that need to get done to meet the needs of modern life, bills, vacations, education, retirement, taxes and anything that is going to force you to put money aside. Not very motivating. I know we like spending money in December, and then we save like hell the rest of the year. Gets tiring.

Recently, I was hit with the question “2017 reflections?” My answer was “upward and onward.” The past is the past; I can’t change what happened and don’t want to dwell on it. However, you can learn from it, and thus onward and upward. Self-reflection is important, and great things come from it. So, after my initial answer, I did do a little reflection. Thanks Tim! By the way, it wasn’t the Foggy Geezers I had that made me look through the bottom of my glass and think about things in a semi-relaxed state. They did help, as well as the 100 proof bourbon, to get me in the mood. It was the desire to always get better in life.

What were my thoughts? It was simple-not enough cooking! Yup, that’s it in a nutshell. For me, cooking initiates many other great things in my life and drives me onward and upward. It’s education, self-discipline, spending more time with the family, learning another language, better eating habits and more vacation time visiting the rest of the world without having to get a tetanus and hep C booster! It’s easier on the “pepto” budget as well.

So here are some of my onward and upward goals for 2018

  • Stop buying white bread and make English toast bread like Elizabeth David
  • Eat and cook durian and jackfruit without getting kicked out of the house
  • Learn the 7 Moles of Oaxaca
  • Finish my “Escoffier for Dummies” project by cooking through a few more chapters
  • Find out all I can about Filipino and the cuisines of SE Asia and cook my way through them. Khua kling anyone?
  • Finally make strudel on the kitchen table and invite everybody over for a vertical tasting of Double Bocks and Dunkelweissen
  • Butcher a hog and make the classic cuts of salami for another sandwich party and finally build that dry curing cabinet that I have been bugging my wife about
  • Eat local and support the chefs at the “hole in the wall” restaurants that you have passed by for years without stopping. You never know
  • Keep the fridge extensively stocked, as you may never know who shows up for dinner and a beverage
  • Reduce the fat and cholesterol intake of my family while still cooking with pork and butter
  • Change the reputation that I can’t do pastries
  • Smoke brisket to perfection without using a “Texas Crutch”
  • Perfect vindaloo pork tacos and “chaat” fries
  • Cook for my son’s sports teams whenever they want it
  • Preserve the traditions and experiences of our family meals for the next generation
  • Be there to answer food questions and find the answer when I don’t know that one
  • ……………. TBD

There are plenty of reasons to reflect on the past, but you need to feel good about the future by not beating yourself up for all the things you didn’t do last year. My past and future have revolved around food, and it makes me happy, especially when I can share all of my adventures with you. This is my one new year’s resolution: just cook!


Foggy Geezer

Foggy Geezer
This is a locally produced Hazy IPA collaboration with Three Floyds that has a nice fruity mango citrus nose and firm drinking with high IBUs.


For you book geeks out there!

English Bread and Yeast
This is a quintessential collector’s book: English Bread and Yeast Cookery By Elizabeth David.

Download January Newsletter

John Reed
Chef John Reed, CEC, CCA
John Reed is a professional chef with over 30 years experience. John has extensive knowledge of culinary techniques, ethnic cuisines, food history and more!

Call us for a free consultation
(847) 287-3604

What’s stopping your operation?

Tell us what’s in your way. We’re happy to provide a free consultation—zero strings attached.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

©2019 Customized Culinary Solutions · Chicago, IL · (847) 287-3604 · Site by nuphoriq

Get my software spreadsheet

Find the right software with my handy spreadsheet! Enter your email below and I'll send you the link. -John

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.