Over a 30 day period, I ended up cooking at home a total of 17 days out of the month, making a total of 20 recipes from the cookbook. During this time there were 5 days we didn't cook because we either got free food from our families or from Ian's work. We ended up eating out 8 times.
Although we didn't complete the challenge as planned, I still feel like we both learned and grew a lot from the experience. Even though we ate out 8 times during the month, that's still significantly less than we were before which was basically every night, so I'm pretty stoked about that. Plus:
- In addition to the two recipes I had previously mastered, my granny's Chicken & Dumplings and mom's Mac & Cheese, I now have 20 new recipes to add to list.
- Whereas we previously had only a half working hotplate, 1 pot, and 1 small skillet; we now have an arsenal of cooking supplies to use at any given time should we decide to cook.
- Our once bare pantry is now full of spices and staples for throwing together random meals.
- I now have more confidence in my cooking and am anxious to try out new recipes.
For someone who had never cooked before, it really took a lot of time each day to decide on a recipe, determine whether I had the right supplies to make it, prepare a shopping list, buy the ingredients, prepare the ingredients, cook the food, and along the way, taking photos and notes for the blog. On the days I cooked, the whole process took about 5 hours! It definitely got faster at the end and I know I'll continue to get faster but to commit to cooking for 30 days, you have to be prepared to put a significant amount of time and effort into it.
Ian and I also made the mistake of deciding to begin the challenge in July, the middle of summer, when everyone wants to go out and do things every weekend. Yeah, that made being tied to the house pretty tough... it basically didn't happen.
Even though we encountered these problems and failed to complete the challenge as I would've liked, I still learned a lot and had a good time. I plan to continue cooking at home as much as possible and hopefully try the challenge again when I'm better prepared and the weather makes it less enticing to run off every weekend :)