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I can’t believe it is almost a week since we rang in 2008. Father Time must have put on his jogging shoes this week. I am so delighted and feeling so blessed and I really think that 2008 is going to be the best year yet! Why is that? Because I am determined to make it so. Roberto and I have just moved to a town we both fell in love with when we moved to Florida a year ago, January 2007. We have moved to a wonderful little place in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States, founded in 1565, “discovered” (because as we know there were already Native people living here) by Ponce de Leon about 40 years earlier, just 20 years after Christopher Columbus “sailed the ocean blue”. Coming from New England we loved walking alongside history in our daily lives, there is just something so grounding about it. Roberto grew up in Rome, and I am a self-described history buff, so when we moved to Florida, a relatively new place in the grand scheme, it felt a little stale. We loved the weather, the palm trees, the little lizards everywhere and the beautiful flowers. But we missed the small town feel, the old streets and the large, stately, almost ancient homes of New England. So when we went to St. Augustine, on a day trip with my mom months ago, we found what we had been looking for. A beautiful small town steeped in history, right on the ocean. It could not have been more perfect.

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So here we are, in our new place, and I have a new kitchen to initiate. I wanted our first meal to be something that was very homey –to communicate to the space that we were happy to be there and intended to make it a place full of warmth, love, happiness and comfort. A refuge. I wanted our new home to know we were down to earth, simple people who would take care of it and be happy there. So I decided to make sausage pasta – simple, robust, hearty and full of comfort.

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The ingredients had to be GOOD – organic, whole grain, healthy, no skimping.

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I set the table, lit candles, put music on and away I went. I turned the stove, heated up the burner, warmed the olive oil, cut the garlic and onions and sautéed it in the pan. I laid the sausage in and with it I put my hopes for our future in this house and in this town in the sauce, and I stirred it all around with a helping of love and goodwill for added measure.

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It was delicious, and hearty and comforting just like I hoped. We had it with salad – and crunchy Italian style breadsticks, a Roberto favorite, and we toasted our new home and kitchen with a new wine, which has become a new favorite – rich with a berry blush with a wisp of smokiness in the background. We had a great time laughing and talking and enjoying our new space – making it ours, making it home.

Sometime in the middle of this New Year, I had discovered what my secret ingredient in cooking is. It is the energy that you put into it, the intention. I learned about how food is such a powerful tool. Things I had always known, but never really put into concepts or words. I plan on discussing this more in future posts, and as part of my New Year’s resolutions, along with getting organized, finishing up things in the new house, and getting back to meditation and quiet time with myself, I have decided to start some writing projects, maybe even a book. I also have ideas of how others can profit from this, not just I. You know me, I am all about community. So stay tuned!

In terms of food and cooking here are my resolutions:

1) Utilize the wonderful Farmer’s Market here in St. Augustine (YES, I finally have one in my community!!!)
2) Eat even more seasonally – take the cue from the Farmer’s Market
3) Buy what is on sale – but only good stuff – learn to be even more creative with what is available
3) Use my cookbooks more
4) Have people over for meals!
5) EXPERIMENT