All illustrations by Erin Filson and words by Leslie Uhl, CCP.
Our crafty and clever Certified Cheese Professional, Leslie, has forecast your upcoming 2016 with all things edible. Take a look at your foodoscope and take this year to the next delicious level!
CAPRICORN Dec 22 – Jan 19 — How serendipitous you are! Capricorn is hosting the resplendent Sun until the 20th, and that means lovely warmth for your house of new beginnings. It’s all about you right now, and embrace your goals with focus and pride. All organic? You can do it! No preservatives? Easy peasy! Juicing? It’s a squeeze. When your house of stability gets a jolt from the 5th to the 25th, remember that you are what you eat and what you eat should be balanced. Avoid the temptation to eat only protein, like bacon wrapped scallops or steak smothered in crab. Stay away from fried things, no matter how good French fries with chicken wings sound together. You can do this. Staying within your comfort zone will help, with recipes you know by heart and classics like Caprese salad and meatloaf. Trying new things in this tumultuous time might be a big mistake. You’ll be back in your “think outside the box” zone soon, though, in the last two weeks of January. Inspire yourself with new flavors, and use your pragmatic side to plan for an epic feast.
AQUARIUS Jan 20 – Feb 18 — There’s no reason to jump full-force into this year, pal, and with your birthday coming up, we won’t blame you for holding off on gung-ho attitudes and scores of resolutions. Instead, use the powers of reflection to plan a bday bash—what were the best things you ate in 2015? How many amazing restaurants did you visit, and what new flavors did you fall head over heels for? So many good memories, but you’ll be forced to reckon with the bad as well. Remember the week you ordered take out more than 3 times? Or the time you thought it was acceptable to eat cold pizza and cookie dough in place of fresh meals? This is a good month to fly under the radar, and you’ll have plenty of time to make peace with your mistakes. Remember that endings are also new beginnings, and cleansing your palate will feel so refreshing. The Ghosts of Palates Past fly away again on the 20th, and you’re back to your innovative self. Follow a new food blog, try going to a new ethnic food market and buying something you’ve never seen before. Also, get ready to cook for two after the 23rd, when Leo’s full moon puts you directly in a partnership kind of path. How about a Chopped-style challenge for your favorite foodie guest—five ingredients and one hour will give you dinner and a show!
PISCES Feb 19 – March 20 — Burst forth, you Pisces, into the bright light of a New Year! You’re lucky to be starting in a place for group activity, which will keep you from your secretive, reclusive side. It’s time for a cooking class! Something interactive and fun for a group of your pals, and bonus points for picking up some new techniques. Work on those knife skills and perfect your pancake flipping – you’ve got the big picture on the brain (and the stomach!), so hone the talents you’ll use to eat well the whole year. When Mercury and Jupiter do a 180 and start moving backward, be wary of any commitments you make. This means restaurant reservations, dinner parties, that dish you promised to bring for the potluck… Keep it simple and don’t plan too far in advance. Frequent trips to the grocery store will keep you sane, rather than budget-breaking, fridge-frothing mega trips, and when you’re buying high-quality foods you can afford to cook simpler. Think lamb chops from New Zealand, sautéed in olive oil and garlic with steamed broccoli, rather than twenty-ingredient stuffed peppers and hamburger-macaroni casserole with cream sauce. At the end of the month, your house of purification pops open, and it’ll do you good to look closer at sustainably farmed coffee and chocolate, even salmon. Good fish eat good fish, ya know.
ARIES Mar 21 – Apr 19 — Welcome to a new year and a fresh start! You’re ready to attack your resolutions with gusto, and balance is your new best friend. Go for the goat, since you’ve done your research and you know that goat’s milk carries less butterfat than cow, sheep, or buffalo, and don’t forget to make a well-balanced pairing. At the beginning of the month, you’ve got long-term goals on the brain, so look for condiments to keep on hand that you’ll never stop loving. Fruit is essential, so explore some jams and preserves with no additives to marry with your goat cheese. Careful when you hit mid-month, though—when Jupiter throws your wellness and organization off track, stick to your routines and prioritize when cooking. A protein, a simple starch, and something green is easy to remember with last-minute shopping trips, and pasta will be a great staple. Keep a stockpile in the pantry for those days when silly Jupiter gets the upper hand. Put your party shoes on for the last week and a half of January! With the sun in Aquarius and a full moon in Leo, ditch your usual wallflower mode and put your cheese pairings to the test. Become the entertainer and surprise all of your friends with a goat cheese pairing party.
TAURUS Apr 20 – May 20 — Ah, a hopeful and fresh start to 2016! What could be nicer? For the majority of the month, the Sun is in Capricorn, your ninth house of expansion and optimism, so sink your teeth enthusiastically into those grand plans for epic eating and inspired entertaining this year. Toss aside any tendencies towards change-resistant behavior and kick up those heels—you have the blessing of the universe to try new things! What is rutabaga and how do you cook it? Why have you never baked a chocolate soufflé? How does one make the ULTIMATE crab cake? Set forth, persistent Taurus, and conquer all of the things! Here is your only word of caution: we know about your self-indulgent ways, and towards the end of the month it will be so very hard to resist. Put on your Determination Pants and instead of succumbing to chips and cookies, try your hand at baking kale crisps and fruit-studded biscotti. Indulgence can be non-destructive, my friend. Also, you’re in prime shape for professional advancement after the 20th, and we don’t necessarily mean a promotion. Make your lunch hour the envy of the whole office with an imported slice of oozy French Brie, a slather of local chutney, and a perfect demi baguette that you grabbed on your way in. A side of homemade kale chips will remind you that you can overcome anything in the New Year.
GEMINI May 21 – June 20 — The hunger is strong with you, young Gemini, as the New Year opens full of heady emotion and a BIG appetite for all things 2016. Your senses are fine-tuned and your knack for intelligence and focus are itching to make you into a master baker. Sure, cooking is loose and creative and fun, but baking is a SCIENCE, and you are Albert Pie-stein. If you’ve never had a homemade chèvre and blueberry scone for breakfast, or baked the perfect apple pie with aged cheddar grated into the crust, you better get into that kitchen, goggles on and witty remarks close at hand. Bonus points for getting everyone at work hooked on your new talents—charge a few bucks per scone and you just satisfied a huge entrepreneurial rush in the early half of the month. When Mercury turns retrograde from the 5th-25th, though, watch out for unhealthy food obsessions that will try and abuse your hidden dark side. An all-taco diet might sound like a good idea, but packing a well-balanced lunch every morning will curb your cravings during a tumultuous tummy time. By the 23rd, you’re back on top and out in the sunlight! Feed your youthful and lively tendencies with Happy Hour tapas and small plates on the town, a few good friends by your side. Discover your city anew by eating your way through!
CANCER June 21 – July 22 — And they said the fireworks would stop after New Years Eve… Boom! You are in partnership prime time as this year gets off to a romantic start, and you know what that means: Cheese and charcuterie pairings galore. Channel your inner matchmaker as you fearlessly follow a “meat…cheese…jam…” mantra, and make every snack an opportunity for true flavor love. Taste each element separately, let your palate be your guide. Don’t get controlling, though—when dining out, opt for the chef’s tasting menu, or ask your server for the best thing on the menu, sight unseen. Things have been moving quickly for the past few months, but when Jupiter turns retrograde on the 7th, things will slow down. Your cooking can change from quick, twenty-minute meals to mastering the Art of Marinades, recognizing the beauty of braising, and bonding with your slow-cooker. Be warned, though, that your communication skills might take a hit mid-month. Re-read that recipe before you make any mistakes, and be clear about dinner time. We’d hate to see that melt-in-your-mouth bolognese go to waste because of a simple “eat at seven” to “e.t.a. is eleven” autocorrect error! With a full moon in Leo on the 23rd, you’ll finish the month in praise and redemption. Who knows—maybe entering that appetizer competition will pay off in a big way.
LEO July 23 – Aug 22 — As a fire sign, this is no time to grab an extinguisher! Rev your engines and hit the ground running in 2016; step one is getting organized. Clean out the fridge, tear through that pantry, and set yourself up for success by focusing on the staples that will get you through the next six months. Your stash of fine olive oil needs a boost, and a new bottle of balsamic and a fresh jar of raw honey are just the beginning. Devote yourself to a goal of eating organic products, getting your cheesy doses of calcium and protein, and don’t let yourself slack on fair trade coffees and chocolates. Communication might go haywire for Leo for a few weeks mid-January, so take caution in misreading your tummy signals—a handful of candied nuts or some dried fruits will take care of those cravings! Just you wait until the 23rd, my friend, when your inner lion roars up to a full moon and your inner talents at cooking, pairing, and entertaining need to be expressed. No worries, though, because you already know you won’t fail at throwing a rager of a dinner party. Go for it.
VIRGO Aug 23 – Sept 22 — Holiday parties are over, but the party of Virgo life is still in full swing! Your sense of fun and joie de vivre are up, up, and away, and that means playing with your food like there’s no mañana. Condiments are your new paint palette, and make meat, veg, and cheese your canvas. Put on your rose-colored glasses and see food in your own unique way. You’re mid-way through a big, year-long lucky streak for the first time in over ten years, thanks to Jupiter entering Virgo back in August, so don’t even think about dieting. But Mercury goes retrograde on everybody this month, and some hunger games shall be played against you. You’ll fall out of love with all of your favorites, and old cravings will resurface with all intents and purposes to drag you into the past. Fight it all, you mighty Crab, and keep focused on major food groups and eat local! You’ll be rewarded with Leo’s full moon in your house of forgiveness at the end of the month, and you’re first on the list for absolution. Make a clean start by gutting your fridge and filling it with award-winning foods. Only the best for you.
LIBRA Sept 23 – Oct 22 — It’s cozy time, Libra, and cozy you shall be. Comfort food is the name of the game, and letting others do the cooking will give you more time to reflect on the past year and sit with your food-related emotions. Think prepared foods or warm, simple staples until the 20th, and use this time to build up your recipe box. Choosing foods you can eat with your hands is always a good idea. Not all can remain peaceful, unfortunately, when Mercury and Jupiter turn retrograde mid-month, causing emotions to capsize and your eating habits to spin out of control. A weekly trip to the cheese counter is paramount, since your tastes will undoubtedly be changing. Buy smaller amounts and make frequent trips, but keep your natural talent of stellar presentation. Making those cheese plates look magazine-worthy will bring some balance to this emotional time. On the 20th, your house of passion and play gets a sexy boost, and we oh-so want you to play with your food! Try that velvety new olive oil you’ve been eyeing, dig into a decadent blue cheese like there’s no tomorrow, and be fearless in your use of flavor and spice.
SCORPIO Oct 23 – Nov 21 — Deep breath in, let it all go. It’s going to be such a good year, Scorpio, but don’t dive headfirst into a million resolutions! You’ve got a lot going on already. The new moon in Capricorn on the 9th gives your house of local action a nice boost, so take a leisurely stroll through your neighborhood and leave no café or bistro untouched. Get rid of residual stress-eating by joining a community effort to feed the homeless instead. Relationships with your normal foodie crew might be too much for your calendar, not to mention your passion and energy right now, so fight your fears and eat alone every now and then. Cooking for one is definitely a challenge, but it’s always fun to adopt a European shopping attitude—make daily visits to the market, and buy only what you will eat in the next day or two. Don’t go full antisocial on us, though, and be sure to celebrate your victories with enigmatic dinner parties or social happy hours with finger foods. By the latter third of the month, you’ll be ready to unplug in a big way. Redecorate your whole kitchen, and then invite family over for a casserole to christen the new space. Deep breath in, let it all go. Repeat for a healthy, happy new year.
SAGITTARIUS Nov 22 – Dec 21 — Like the bell at the beginning of a hot dog eating contest, you have burst from the proverbial starting gate of 2016 and there’s not a ‘dog in sight that isn’t in trouble. Working hard is written in your stars this month, and you’ll enjoy every minute as long as you’re prepared. This is the perfect month to try freezer food prep, cooking for the whole week and pre-portioning every delicious bite out for ultimate ease and control. You’ll also have more time for optimizing your in-between-meals game. Dried fruits and nuts, mustards and truffle honey, new cheeses and beautiful salamis are yours for the taking! Take your time, however, and don’t let the details slip when communicator Mercury takes a trip backward. Double check your grocery lists, and set reminders for yourself on cooking days. Watch your spending, too, and make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach when you’re shopping. Ask your Cheesemonger about proper serving sizes, and let the experts help your wallet stay thick. The last two weeks of January will re-float your social butterfly mode, and your ingenuity is at an all-time high. What’s your next big idea? A recipe swap at your place? A theme party with coordinating appetizers? Digest the delicious ideas you’re tossing out, make a plan, and make it happen. You win, Sagittarius!
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