boiled pork and chive dumplings
Photography by Heami Lee

The end of January is always a great time to look back on how our new year resolutions have been shaping out over the past few weeks. Maybe you’ve been forgoing alcohol and going “dry” for the month. Maybe you’re hitting the gym five times a week, or avoiding any trace of refined sugar, or maybe you’re dedicating more time and resources to dismantling a new administration that’s attempting to devalue everything you believe in. We all have our vices.

Personally, I’ve been trying to cook more. And not just I-made-eggs-for-breakfast-instead-of-scarfing-down-a-croissant-on-the-train type cooking. The real stuff, the stuff that requires presence of mind and a very sharp knife. Time for ourselves can be difficult to find these days, between work and workouts and showing up for social justice, but there is a special kind of therapy in (temporarily) shirking your responsibilities in favor of making something delicious from scratch. For me, the greatest peace comes from dumplings. It’s as satisfying to eat them as is to watch them slowly increase in number as you stuff and crimp, stuff and crimp—not to mention the unique joy of meticulously chopping things into very small pieces.

In our most recent issue, Mimi Sheraton taught me about a particular type of German dumpling called Serviettenknödel, a departure from the Chinese variety entirely, but still driven by process (which happens to start with soaking soft pretzels in milk and herbs, so I was immediately on board). I haven’t cooked for myself as much as I’d hoped this month, but real, sustainable change doesn’t come all at once. Sometimes it just has to come rolling into your life one dumpling at a time.