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The 2011 Challenge

The Challenge

To have a different meal every night for a full year, 2 January 2011 to 1 January 2012, and blog about it.

Which leads me nicely onto reasons to sober up before you make your New Year’s Resolutions:

#1: A 365 blog challenge to have a different meal every night for a year sounds like a brilliant idea at champagne o’clock, but actually takes quite a lot of work, and time, and money.

#2: Having decided to keep a public record of said challenge, if you start the whole thing a day late to recover you do look a little daft.

On the other hand, our first year as a married couple has been all the more fun for the new ingredients, cuisines, combinations and sensations of committing to this rather ludicrous project. We’ll miss it when we finish, and we’re already starting to think about what challenge we could set ourselves next year.

The Rules

Much discussion was had about some of the challenge criteria, and it’s one of the first questions people ask when they hear about it. The others are “Are you crazy?”, “What’s been the best so far?”, “Have you had any disasters?”, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve made?” and “Are you crazy?”

The rules agreed on January 1st 2011 state:

1. The meal must be substantially different from any other served that year;

this can include:

a) significant variations (such as a vegetarian version of a dish) or

b) a re-creation where a shop-bought ingredient is subsequently replaced with home-made (so, for example, curry can be re-invented by mixing the paste from scratch instead of using a jar).

2. That meals can be eaten out;

and that although the same dish cannot be ordered from the same establishment in the course of the year:

a) it was permissible to have the same meal in different locations (so lamb rogan josh at  two different restaurants is acceptable) and

b) a restaurant could be visited multiple times as long as the meal ordered was not repeated.

3. The subsequent blog post must be written and posted the same day. 

The photos

H got a shiny new camera at the end of February, at which point we started including photos. All credit to him and his rather impressive new lens. Please drop us a line if you’d like to reproduce any of them.


We’re discovering new ingredients and cuisines, a different way to think about food shopping and meal-planning and really rather enjoying the whole adventure. I hope you do too. Please do let me know if you try any of the meals – especially if you enjoy them or have a suggestion for improvement!

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