I haven’t been in a food rut since before I was married, thanks to my husband who loves food and cooking. He also loves to challenge himself. Put those two things together and one outcome is the monthly food challenge.
Every month we pick a different country or region and make that type of food at home. We sometimes get excited and buy a bunch of unique spices, and sometimes we are tame and just use what we have. We generally select one to two recipes a week from the location we picked. That seems to get us a sense of what the food is like.
If we find a great recipe we want to hold onto, we simply print it out and put it in a binder next to our cookbooks.
We had originally thought we’d only do this for a year, but clearly we could go on much longer. We find our recipes online or in cookbooks from the library, or we have even asked friends from that country what they traditionally cook. We also try to visit a restaurant with that type of cuisine, if possible.
The thing is you can start at any time and go for as long as you want. It has forced us out of our culinary comfort zone. It’s been fun to try traditional things like coq au vin or homemade sushi rolls. If you have kids, it’s fun to learn about the country, too.
So far here’s what we’ve done:
- January: Peru
- February: Lebanon
- March: South Africa
- April: France
- May: Scandinavia
- June: Laos
- July: Costa Rica
- August: Japan
Still to come:
A friend even suggested doing a monthly food challenge using a different time period, such as the Medieval Ages.
What cuisine would you most like to try making at home?