1. Amtrak has a writers-in-residence program that I am DYING to apply to. Can you imagine anything more delicious than being swept through the countryside, your mind wide open, with a week to just read and write on the train?
2. Rather than aim to hunt my own meat or throw my own pottery, forage my own truffles or dive for my own scallops—I hell or high effing water will become competent in refrigeration repair, electricity, and plumbing this year. I can't tolerate the way I feel when the repairman—and it's always a man—comes to fix my equipment. I want to be educated and articulate when he's telling me about the defrost cycle on a timer that's going to run me $675 in parts alone.
3. I would cherish a Netflix bonanza of Breaking Bad. I never saw The Wire, I never finished watching Mad Men. I never even started Treme. Christ, I still have West Wing seasons I haven't finished.
4. Something about food has lost its meaning and purpose for me. And my brain, like a deflated, sticky balloon, needs to be blown back open, reinflated. I washed dishes all through high school; I short-order cooked through college; I did the catering grunt through my master's program. I am foolishly, with great hubris, optimistic that I can make my way through a Ph.D. program in Italian literature and earn my doctorate while still cheffing my restaurant.
5. There's a bread recipe that's been in the universe awhile, from Jim Lahey at NYC's Sullivan St Bakery, that Mark Bittman took and made even easier. It's like that mythical pot of cassoulet in a French village that you take from and add to, and it goes on in the same pot for 100 years. The bread starter is like that; you keep the mother in the fridge and pull out what you need each day to make a loaf and feed her back a little of what you took out. I would love to finally get her going in my home fridge.
This article appears in the January 2015 issue of Marie Claire.