For Christmas, Karen got me a gift certificate for the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. Today I signed up for Knife Skills Workshop 1 and Techniques of Fine Cooking 1. My goal is to learn to chop vegetables and throw knives like Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight.

Cooking in NYC isn't always fun or worthwhile. My kitchen is the size of a hall closet, and so I have precious little counter space. And groceries are more expensive, so the cost benefit of cooking instead of going out to eat is often negligible. Still, every dollar counts, and so I plan to cook more in the coming year. My super lives down the hall, and she's always preparing meals for her family. The smell wafts down the hall and drives me insane, so cooking is also a way to send my own mouth-watering scents out my door to wage combat.

I received a copy of Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way over the holidays, and I prepared pork chops the Pepin way the other day. Fast, simple, and tasty: all elements of an ideal NYC recipe.