My 2014 Goal Drawn from My Childhood Loves

Chester Blackberry Picking

As my high school graduation date neared, the more I was asked by adults, “What are you going to study in college? What are you going to major in? What do you want to be?”

I had no idea, but replied with statements such as, “I’m majoring in Telecommunications and Film. I plan to study International Relations. I want to teach English to children in West Africa.”

Most adults nodded and said something polite but the reaction from a close friend of my mom’s is the one that sticks with me decades later. After listening to my list of aspirations, she laughed and said, “Wow! I’m in my mid-forties and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”

Her response stays with me because of her honesty. How many 18-year-olds really know what they want to do when they grow up? The majority of us reach our forties and we still don’t know what we want to do just like my mom’s friend had said. I never did any of the things I said in my answers. I was just an 18-year-old kid trying to impress the adults in my life.

The difference between the 18-year-old and the 40-50-60-year-old is that the youngster sees all of the possibilities ahead while the 40-50-60-year-old has a newsfeed running through her brain saying things like, “I’m too old. It’s too late. I should have done that when I was younger. I still don’t know what I want to do. I’ve been out of the workforce too long. I’ve been in the same line of work for too long. How do I make the change? I don’t know where to start.”

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything.
Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you
so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place. –Unknown

I believe that whether we’re 18, 40-something, 60-something, or any other age and we’re trying to determine what direction we want to take our lives, the quote above is a great place to start.

Blueberry Picking with the Boys

When Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, explains how she left her job as a nuclear energy analyst in the White House to own and run a specialty food store in the Hamptons, she says she relied on advice from a friend. Her friend said, “Don’t think about what you’re supposed to do; think about what you enjoyed doing as a child.”

As a child, Ina loved to cook. Without any experience in running a business or any training as a chef, Ina trusted her childhood intuition and took a chance. I think we can agree that she made the right choice.

As a child, I loved to read, I loved to cook for other people, and I loved to be creative whether it was music or photography or writing or cross-stitching yet another sampler for my mom.

For me, here in my forties, it makes sense that
My Goal for 2014 is to self-publish a book that combines my childhood loves as well as my desires for 2014.

This October I will be publishing
La Pomme de Portland
A Collection of Stories and Recipes Drawn from the Seasons of Food and Life

I like to think of the book as a La Pomme de Portland Greatest Hits album. The book will hold all of the best recipes and stories from the past five years of La Pomme. All recipes in the book will have been retested for accuracy and appropriate changes. Some recipes will be brand new such as Blueberry Hand Pies and Tarte aux Fraises. All of the stories will have been professionally copy-edited and 90% of the photographs will have been reshot.

I have been working hard on this project for months, and I still have a lot of hard work ahead to make it happen, but I feel such excitement whenever I think about holding this book in my hands.

I would never have considered taking on this project if it weren’t for all of you who read my posts and graciously tell me how much you’ve enjoyed the photographs or the stories or the recipes. This book is just as much yours as it is mine and my hope is that you will hold one in your hands and feel a bit of delight knowing you helped in its creation.


I don’t know about going confidently as Thoreau says, but I do believe in moving in the direction of your dreams and building confidence as you go. I think it’s best not to overthink it lest you talk yourself out of it but to take one tiny step toward it. And then another. I believe that this book is the next best step for me.

My nine-year-old, Will, asked me yesterday, “Do you think anyone will buy your book?”

“I don’t know. I hope so.”

But I explained to him, sometimes simply moving forward toward our dreams and goals is enough. We can’t get too hung up on the outcome, as we won’t know what that is until we get there, and we’ll never know if we don’t try.

I know you, my loyal and beautiful reader, have your own dreams for yourself and your life and no matter what age you are, I encourage you to go after that desire. Before you close your browser, ask yourself, “What can I do today to take one tiny step toward something that I have been desperately wanting to do in my life?”

And then, click out of here and go do that one thing. You’ll be amazed what happens as you build momentum by taking one tiny step after another.

With much love and gratitude,

PS: In my upcoming posts, I’ll be giving you some behind-the-scenes looks at the making of this book, a video of the team of recipe testers I’ve assembled, and I’ll be asking for your help deciding on the cover.

PPS: In case you’ve been sunning yourself on a beach somewhere and have missed my summer string of stories addressing goals and desires, here are the links to the past posts:

Week 1 – GoalsWait, What? Goal Setting on Summer Vacation?
Week 2 – Choosing GoalsIf You Could Only Choose One, What Would It Be?
Week 3 – Desire 1 of 4Do You Know the Hidden Beauty of the Cherry?
Week 4 – Desire 2 of 4What Can You Do to Feel Lighter?
Week 5 – No Post – Staycation with my Sweetie
Week 6 – Desire 3 of 4Don’t Interrupt the Sweater Change and Other Thoughts that Define “My Own Voice”
Week 7 – Desire 4 of 4Lessons on Laser Focus from Thai Chicken and Rice
Week 8 – My Goal for 2014 – This very post right now.


  1. I’m having a Proud Friend Moment! Congratulations my dear Carrie! Tell Willy that you are going to for sure sell at least one book, because I am going to be the first in line! And thanks for encouraging all of us to go after our own dreams! Hmmm….What will I do, What will I do!

  2. The quote has been cut/paste and went up on the board in front of my desk. All to work on un-becoming everything that isn’t really me. Good work this summer – still sorry for your loss. ks

  3. Wendy Kotila says:

    Congratulations, Carrie!

  4. Laurie Walker says:

    Consider this an official pre-order! Can’t wait to see it all come together. Congratulations!

  5. Wow Carrie! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy! Congratulations!

  6. Ruby Mattson says:

    Put me down for at least one copy! So excited for you…

  7. Enjoyed the compelling words and fabulous photos today. Thank you!

  8. Amy G McMahon says:

    Fantastic!! It would be a privilege to get a first edition. Let me throw a “release” party for you!

  9. Lisa Duggan says:

    I can’t wait for your book Carrie! Every recipe I have made that you have posted has been fabulous. Just made the Thai poached chicken and coconut rice last night and we all loved it!! Your photos and inspiring words always make me smile, just like you!

  10. Sign me up for a pre order too! Fantastic Carrie!

  11. Looks like everyone’s excited to get their hands on a copy! I just want the “copy”!!!! Love you!

  12. I love that quote on un-becoming! (you knew I would).
    I am with April in having a proud friend moment. I have loved being witness to this journey – from the day you told us you were going to start a blog through to now. Your writing and photography are your gifts and we’re all quite lucky you share them. Please tell Will you’ve already sold the first run of copies.

  13. Carrie, thank you for the un-becoming perspective of goal setting as my mind has been stuck in the muck described in paragraph five for years. I’m so truly excited for you and your new book – another one sold! Two books by the Cook sisters published in one year – such an accomplishment for you both!!! Congratulations!

    • Thanks so much, Christy! And yes, I think the “un-becoming” perspective of goal setting touches a nerve in most of us at this particular time in our lives.

  14. Congrats, Carrie! I’m so thrilled for you…. and have been only reading great things about self-publishing.

    • Thanks so much, Jamie! And yes, everything I’ve read about self-publishing leads me to believe it’s definitely worth a shot. So, here it goes. You can watch and see how I fare. 🙂