Food Matters: Make plans, not resolutions, in 2018
ASIDE FROM THE FACT that New Year’s resolutions are totally unrealistic, typically they are a huge energy suck. We hear the stats every year: three-quarters of folks fail to meet their lofty expectations for self-improvement — by the end of the first week! If we’re honest — and thankfully, most Aspenites make no bones about being starry-eyed dreamers living in a fantasy bubble, more concerned with living lives better than other people’s dream vacations than trying to solve perceived shortcomings —we’ll embrace our messy vitality and devote time and headspace toward moving forward with delicious abandon. (Shout out to all Peter Pans in this place!)
Since Aspen is a wonderland of extravagance (see “Libations,” p. 12) and excess, let’s embrace it! We’ll quit binge drinking, lay off fried foods and/or fondue, hit the gym, and maybe start meditating for real come May, post-Closing Day. Until then, here are a few actionable anti-resolutions to kick off 2018:
#1: Sing along to the siren song of temptation!
Yes, “enjoy life to the fullest” is a nebulous goal, hokey catchphrase, and redundant regarding the Aspen Way. It’s also the top resolution made by nearly a third of all Americans, according to a 2015 Nielsen poll, which means that about one third of Americans find it impossible to achieve.
Understanding how lame resolution-making is, author, entrepreneur, investor and unabashed lifehacker Tim Ferriss suggests this exercise: The Past Year Review. Here’s how it works: Craft a list with two columns, “positive” and negative,” for activities, acquaintances, and situations that defined peaks and valleys of 2017. The goal is to use this outline to make a conscious effort to stop doing things that don’t spark joy and excitement and to make more plans around things that do. (Disregard nonnegotiable obligations such as working to make money and pay bills, unfortunately.) Commit to saying “no, thanks” to the top 20 percent of items that make you feel queasy upon reflection. Concerning high points on the plus side, “book things with friends and prepay for s— now!” Ferriss says.
Though I’m glad it’s a wrap, my 2017 calendar reflected disproportionately few low moments. However, there are clues toward reckless injuries, dates with downer friends, clients causing brain-drain, an opportunity missed due to inner conflict.
The awesome list was exceptionally awesome, though: Collaboration with extra-clever colleagues (more, please!), out-of-towner friend visits, a fun family wedding, winning at least four contests through sheer creativity (gotta show up first), soul-expanding summer travels, and making peace at last with unfortunate circumstances.
Perhaps the better directive here: Continue enjoying life to the fullest.
#2: Get out and ski/shred —with a buddy!
Spend more time on the mountain? Duh! But instead of lone wolfing it, I’ll use non-powder days as an opportunity to ensure face time in the great outdoors with favorite pals whom I might not see often enough otherwise. I won’t always plan to “just run into people” (which happens, but it’s a crapshoot); I will arrange to combine networking meetings with Bowl laps or lunch on-mountain. That 100-day pin is still within reach…
#3: Eat breakfast in your underweaR …
…AT HOME! Preferably by a fireplace or wood stove with a mug of cheap coffee. Winter is for cocooning (and skiing—see #2) while it’s cold; brunch is best eaten outside in warmer temps. The verdict is still out on whether we’ll see a legit breakfast renaissance in Aspen anytime soon. For now, won’t it be smarter to spend our food money indoors, and mostly after lifts close for the day? (Easy for a night owl to say, I suppose.)
I’m cooking up a triple batch of oatmeal pancakes to keep in the freezer and turn toaster-fresh when morning hunger strikes. Try it. Then schmear on some nut butter, maple syrup, or both and eat ’em taco-style as you mosey out into the world.
Otherwise, a.m. grumblers might explore quite a few options: grab-and-go breakfast burritos (Paradise Bakery, Spring Café, and Jour de Fete downtown, plus Franck Thirion French Pastry and Louis Swiss Pastry in the ABC); daily breakfast buffets at the new Velvet Buck at the St. Regis Aspen Resort as well as The Little Nell; and sit-down dining at Justice Snow’s, Home Team BBQ, Hotel Jerome, and Poppycock’s.
#4: Clear crap from kitchen cupboards, finally!
And by crap I don’t mean sugar and pesky refined carbs (see #1, people!), necessarily. Rather, purge items that have sat around, taking up space, for far too long. I’ll donate that dusty can of lychee fruit to Lift Up, always in need of nonperishable food items. Might as well purge those closets of unappreciated clothes and accessories, too: the Aspen Homeless Shelter is accepting jackets and warm winter gear; pay other used goods forward at the Aspen Thrift Shop.
#5: End downvalley discrimination, already!
I cringe every time some dope proclaims they “don’t go past the roundabout.” Limiting yourself to rising prices, dwindling mom-and-pop options, and increasingly disappointing experiences because you feel it necessary to stick to a dumb statement made during a heated debate is so passé. Evaporate the Haterade in 2018. Downtown Basalt has a plethora of great eateries. Meanwhile, Willits is blowing up: Swill beer at Capitol Creek Brewery, soak in culture at The Temporary, and nosh schnitzel (soon) at the Wienerstube revival. Or blow your holiday bonus at Whole Foods and host a saucy brunch (see #3). Exhausted by all this plan-making and craving R&R? Continue on to Carbondale’s True Nature Healing Arts, which unveils its new spa on Feb. 9.
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The Aspen Art Museum raised the roof this winter with après-ski dance parties. Mountain Mayhem columnist May Selby was on the scene.