You just know it’s going to be a great year when the first meal of the year fills the kitchen with billowing clouds of smoke.  I think my first task of the new year should probably be clean the oven.

New Year Breakfast – and billowing clouds of smoke – are traditions at our house.  Not necessarily at the same time, but traditions, nonetheless.  Breakfast is one of my most favorite meals  and billowing clouds of smoke just seem to be a natural with me.

The billowing smoke is almost always a result of a dirty oven.  [That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!]  It only takes a small spill, and a well-used oven is often rife with small spills. At least, ours is.  Well… are.  Both of them.

At least the Fire Department wasn’t involved, this time.

Breakfast this morning was very basic.  Bacon, scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, toast, cinnamon rolls, sparkling cranberry, and the last of our Christmas coffee.  The perfect way to usher in 2011.  It would have been better if the camera battery had been charged, but 30 seconds on the charger gave me enough juice to shoot a couple of pics and breakfast was still served hot.


It doesn’t seem possible.  Then again, 2000 didn’t seem possible.  Turning 50 didn’t seem possible.  And they happened a long time ago.

The years do pass quicker as we age.  The theory is that the brain processes new and novel things differently so – as youngsters doing something for the first time – it seems like it took forever.  Older and wiser, the brain processes the same thing quicker – like putting it in cache.  It doesn’t need to reprocess the whole thing – been there, done that.  Time flies.

And 2010 did fly by.

  • Last year started with bacon-wrapping cheese-stuffed dates.  They were so good.
  • We revisited Debbie’s Chicken in February.  I hadn’t made it in forever.  It’s a really simple and really flavorful dish.
  • And in March I made my first loaf of no-knead bread.  I’ve been making it ever since.
  • April Peeps at Easter.  Peeps.  Gag.  But they made a fun presentation.  It’s going to be fun figuring out what to do with them this year.
  • Green Rice from Atlantic Spice arrived in May.  Bamboo gives it the green color – and tea-like flavor.
  • June saw the arrival of Gates Kansas City BBQ Sauce from our friend, Luigi.  It is currently my favorite bottled sauce.
  • And then we got a deep-fat fryer!  The July Birthday Boy had made an off-hand comment about cooking equipment.  It’s not for every-day use – and fried Snickers bars are vastly overrated – but it’s fun!
  • And Pasta Monday Began!  Bless that August issue of La Cucina Italiana magazine!  This has been one of the best culinary adventures, ever!
  • September saw us stuffing tomatoes from the garden.  We had a great crop this year.
  • And then in October we got married.  The honeymoon included seafood night at Dana’s on Cape Cod.
  • November was my first real attempt at candy-making in years.  It actually came out.
  • December brought us another over-the-top Christmas Eve with Joanna and Tom.  Food, family, and fun.  Who could ask for anything more?

So here’s to another fun-and-calorie-filled year.

Create a few memories for yourself and your family.  Make something new and different; explore a new flavor or cuisine.

Experiment and don’t worry about screwing up.  The very worst thing that can happen is you throw it all out and call for pizza.