Resolutions From A Food Lover In Fargo

As a grade-schooler, emerging as a type-A adult, I carefully crafted New Years resolutions of all types and crossed them out when attained. I thought I had all but given up on New Years resolutions--until I moved to Fargo. For the first time in 15 years, I compiled a list of 2012 New Years resolutions, all of which revolve around food.


In 2012, I will learn how to create the following in my humble apartment kitchen:

A working list

  • Homemade pho
  • Spicy vegetable korma
  • Many varieties of yeast breads, including sour dough.
  • Pork bulgogi 
  • Flaky Chinese scallion pancakes
  • Beef laab & sticky rice
  • Russian kvass and kombucha
  • Salted caramels
  • Halal Cart-style Chicken and Rice with White Sauce (Serious Eats)
  • Chicken Dora Wat & injera
  • Steamed crab legs & lobster
  • Broder Cucina Italiana's Eggplant Special-like pizza
  • Lefse
  • Gnocchi
  • Tamales
  • Kibbe, flatbread, and garlic sauce

In 2012, I will work towards cultivating the following competencies:

  • Canning and preserving
  • Gardening on my apartment balcony
  • Baking yeast bread
  • Cooking large pieces of protein (such as curing a side of salmon, preparing whole birds, shanks, etc.)
  • Preparing local game meats


This fall, I moved away from the land of 10,000 lakes, the only home I’ve ever known, to Fargo, three and a half hours northwest. My significant other, also a lifetime Twin Cities resident, had been offered a job promotion and we were given little time to make a decision. In the blink of an eye, I paused my graduate studies, Jake and I packed our life’s belongings into boxes, and we suddenly found ourselves standing in our new living room, staring at the Fargodome.  


Soon, it became apparent that the food luxuries we had grown accustomed to in the Twin Cities were lacking in our everyday reality. No longer did co-op memberships grow on trees, and by trees, I mean in every neighborhood. Crave pho in Fargo? Amazingly, there is a place to go, but it’s quite mediocre. Feel like enjoying an affordable soft shell crab sandwich from the burgeoning food truck moment, while dangling your legs off the curb? Good luck to you. How about ordering a convenient, Ethiopian feast on injera or a kibbe sandwich? Impossible.


Although there are products from local farms, one must be in the know to readily find organic, free-range eggs, meats and dairy from local farms. Even then, the products may not be in stock or available without pre-ordering.


What we had re-assured ourselves was a mere three and a half hour drive suddenly felt much longer.  And I realized how I took for granted the Twin Cities’ truly delicious melting pot of food and cultures as well as the accessibility of local, free-range, chemical-free foods.    


My Future Garden??My Future Garden??As I begin a new year in a new set of twin cities, my New Year resolutions fill me with hope and a sense of excitement. My resolutions include making foods I can no longer easily find and cultivating food-related skills. Some of these resolutions seem more approachable, such as creating pork bulgogi, while others fill me with anxiety, such as learning how to garden on my balcony or trying my hand at canning and preserving.


Instead of focusing on my disappointment resulting from the limited variety of restaurants or having to work harder to find what I’ve grown accustomed to, my food resolutions give me a new framework and a sense of empowerment. I will be enriched by my resolutions to dirty my hands with soil as I learn how to garden and scent my fingers with spices I have never ground, fried and mixed. I can no longer call in a pick-up order for my beloved Pho #8 at Pho 79 (or a similar replica), so I will need to learn how to make my own pho and chat with the local ethnic market proprietors as I search for the ingredients. It seems as if my graduate studies may continue on after all.


It goes without saying that my path will frequently cross with Fargo-Moorhead’s consumers and business owners who are also pursuing good foods and advocating for better variety and accessibility. This process could serve as an opportunity to create more demand for great food. Local economies surely grow stronger with each person challenged to connect with local farmers and purchase CSA shares. I certainly hope I make friends along the way, as the joy is always in the journey and imagine I will have many questions and extra food to share.  


So, all is not lost. In fact, it may have just begun.  


Cover Photo: Pho 79: My last taste of pho in the Twin Cities that has served as the inspiration to learn how to make my own pho in Fargo.


Jeni Hill grew up in the Twin Cities and recently moved to Fargo. Her two sustaining passions are food and writing and she combines the two whenever she gets the chance. Jeni believes food is never just about the food and considers it the finest medium to connect with others. When she is not crafting contributions to Simple Good & Tasty, she may be posting to her blog An Herbalist Eats20food, or Fargo's High Plains Reader