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Terry Durack’s 2023 food resolutions


The first month of a new year is a fine time to pause for reflection and take stock of what is truly important in your life. You know, like butter, pork fat, noodles and biscuits. Sitting outside, eating tomatoes. Walking through the bush with a picnic in your backpack. Unwrapping a salad sandwich on a park bench. Having fish and chips on the beach. This year, I resolve to do more of the things that bring me pleasure.

Making New Year resolutions is a mug’s game but it gives hope that you might be capable of change.Credit:Simon Letch

I also resolve to do more of the things that don’t bring me pleasure, with an eye to shifting my resistance to change. Like brunch. If I actually went out for brunch, I might unravel its mysteries. Why do people do brunch? Does it actually have any value, or is it really just an annoying meal occasion for young people who drink spritzers, that is neither one thing (breakfast) or the other (lunch) and ruins both?


Like going out for dinner at 9pm instead of 7pm. Everyone these days wants to eat at 7pm and restaurants are swamped. If I went later, it would help them out and might be more relaxing for me. But what do I do in the meantime? Have a bath? Read a book?

Like changing my drinking habits. I adore a gin and tonic and love my wine, but I need to explore the outer frontiers of vermouth, sake and raki. Especially if that’s as well as the gin and tonic and the wine and not instead of.


In the face of infinite food options, I resolve to eat fewer big things. Those one-kilogram grass-fed tomahawk steaks – so big you can hardly squeeze in any chips – are exciting, but overwhelming. A big bowl of pasta is comforting, but unimaginative. Instead, I want to dawdle over small plates of smoked almonds and grilled peppers, mussels escabeche and mortadella. Mmm, especially the mortadella.

Making New Year resolutions is a mug’s game but for one thing: it means there is hope that you might actually be capable of change, so that this year will be different to the last. Each resolution is a crowbar designed to leverage you out of a rut. I do like to wallow in a rut (hello butter, pork fat, gin and tonic), but it’s also time to try a few new things, and start building the ruts of the future.

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