One of the reasons I love blogging is this:
It encourages me to try new things and constantly challenge myself.
Sometimes those challenges are financial (like when I attempted to save 50% of my income and documented the journey over on my personal blog). Sometimes they’re personal (like when I decided to cycle across a whole country). And sometimes, they’re food related (like when I went on a quest for the best pizza in the world).
And so, in early 2019, as I quietly started this new foodie blog project, I began thinking about the challenges it would support. What did I want to do? To learn? To send myself on a quest for?
As I started a list, I realized that perhaps instead of a challenge here and there, I could give myself a challenge every month for the rest of the year. What if every month I had to tackle a new cooking technique or try a new regional dish or learn everything I could about a new food science topic?
What an interesting year that would be.
A year of foodie challenges: the rules
So the idea of a year of monthly challenges was born and decided. Every month except for January (which is when I launched the blog, so we’ll just count that, shall we?) and September (when I’ll be on vacation), I’ll challenge myself to something food-related.
Some of the challenges will be smallish (learn to properly poach an egg) and others will require more time and energy (cook breakfast every day for a month). But all 10 will be things that interest me and challenge me to do something new or shift something in my lifestyle or perspective.
All challenges will also follow these two rules:
1. Every challenge has to be fun.
While there’s absolutely value in challenging yourself to do things that aren’t fun sometimes, that’s not what this particular set of quests is about. I struggle with depression, and I’m currently in a mental space where I need to protect my joy.
So I want challenges that are challenging, yes, but none that would in any way detract from my joy. So if a challenge sounds miserable to me (e.g. giving up all sugars for a month), it’s automatically out. I’ve given myself full veto power.
2. Challenges can’t interfere with the blog.
The biggest challenge I’ve given myself this year is this blog. Since it’s currently a priority, I won’t take on any challenges that will interfere with its success.
This means diet challenges like cutting gluten for a month or going vegan are out. Because restaurant reviews and hyper-local specialties are two of the big things I’ll be writing about here and limiting myself would only make that trickier at this point.
February challenge: try Georgia’s 10 most traditional dishes
Now, to this month’s challenge! Mid-February, Chad and I are off to Georgia the country – a place that has been quietly getting more and more rave reviews from food and travel writers around the world.
Here are the top 10 dishes according to Georgia Starts Here. In the last two weeks of February, I’m going to try and find (and taste) as many as possible.
Care to join me?
Did you know that there are Georgian restaurants around the world? In places like London and New York, it’ll be easy to join in and try some Georgian cuisine yourself. And if you’re somewhere without a Georgian restaurant, you could always challenge yourself to make some Georgian food at home.
If you decide to join me in my quest (whether from your own kitchen or by eating out), please let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear stories and see photos.
And if you’d just like to follow along? I’ll be sharing each of this year’s challenges (and their results – for good or bad) via newsletter. You can sign up here.
Have an idea for a foodie challenge?
If it meets the two rules above, drop it in the comments! I’ve got a list of four or five challenges I definitely want to take on, but that means I still need a handful more to get to 10.
And now, into the void! By the time you read this, I’ll have landed in Georgia and be hitting the pavement in search of dumplings.
The challenges and their results!
February challenge (see above): try 10 of Georgia’s classic dishes
February foodie challenge fail: trying Georgia’s top 10 classic dishes
March challenge: learn to take better food photos!
March result: TBD