The Atlantic – Include HFAC Products in Your New Year’s Resolutions

By Helen York

December 20, 2010

Having given up on the long-held ridiculous idea that I will actually lose 10 pounds in any forthcoming year, I’m usually not one to craft New Year’s Resolutions. But this year feels different—about resolutions, anyway. I feel ambitious—with a need to push past the comfort zone a little faster and further. Perhaps my five 2011 resolutions will inspire you.

1. Preserving: In 2010, I cured coho salmon three times, tried my hand at miso marinades, and pickled cucumbers. Everything worked! Of course none of these things is actually difficult. Dills require vinegar, sugar, a few spices, and water. Submerge. Refrigerate. Voila. I also oven-dried and then froze late-season tomatoes. This year I will try my hand at pickling or preserving something that doesn’t require refrigeration. I hope to live and tell you about it a year from now.

2. Growing: I plan also to grow some food—a big step for me because I live in a sun-free fog zone where even weeds tend to be shy. It will be a nod to an idea I love: edible landscaping. (Dreams of my future life involve picking figs and persimmons as needed from trees outside my front door. Clearly I’ll have to move.) Short carrots or shiso in pots will be a fine contribution to our soon-to-be-constructed office balcony garden.

3. Educating: Books about food tend to be recipe-oriented or ideological. In the right mood I can enjoy either, but this year I’m going to make an effort to become more deeply knowledgeable about genetically modified food, including the scientific arguments for why some believe it is necessary to feed an ever-growing world and others think that idea is completely erroneous. I’m not planning to sit out these ongoing debates, so more education is necessary. I welcome suggestions for my reading list.

4. Spending: When faced with the option of humane-certified cage-free eggs or a half-priced box that purports to allow their laying hens some measure of freedom, I’m going to choose the HFAC-certified (Humane Farm Animal Care) eggs every time they’re available. I want third-party assurance the promises are true. The commitment will cost me an extra $50/year, if that. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford it and it’s a step I can take in the direction of a more humane farming system. Laying hens in cages have it real bad.

5. Cooking: I believe I’ve graduated to full-blown status as a Sardinista. I enjoy eating sardines, seek out restaurants that serve them, and even gut them (though I prefer my fishmonger perform decapitation). But sardines are smelly and my family members’ noses wrinkle when I prepare them at home. I’m going to change all of that. I promise to try three new recipes for this incredibly nutritious, highly sustainable species. Here’s my current favorite, which can be prepared in 15 minutes or less. (Substitute anchovies or chopped clams if you must. Low-trophic small species are the key idea.)