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What do you think of a monthly cooking challenge?

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On the photography Codidact site, I saw a monthly photo contest with the topic sunsets and I thought why we couldn't add something similar here (with a similar timeframe or another timeframe entirely like every two months).

I thought about a monthly cooking challenge. I know for myself that I often fall back on known recipes for my cooking and rarely go beyond my day-to-day culinary experience. While this has something to do with the fact that I can cook stuff I already did some time in the past faster than unknown ones, it also partly based on the fact that there are so many recipes and meals you could possibly prepare.

Right off the bat, I thought about posting a meal that has to be prepared. Or we add a more challenging character to it by posting some requirements and people can come up with something themselves. For example, a requirement could be that the meal has to have apples. Now one can prepare an apple pie but also an apple soup. Of course, challenges could as well just ask for a specific cuisine, like "Prepare a meal associated with Indian cuisine".

These challenges could be accompanied by encouragement to post recipes in our recipe tab, facilitating and integrating it with each other.

What do you think of that?

Why should this post be closed?

1 comment

Yeah. Nice idea! luap42 about 2 months ago

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Cool idea! I like the tie-in with the recipes category, too. A challenge answer could describe the meal and what the person learned along the way, linking to the recipes.

Over on Writing the challenges are usually multi-faceted: write something on this theme or using one of these words or incorporating this line. This allows people to choose how to engage with the challenge: maybe the theme doesn't grab you but you can do something with that seed line. On our site, I could see us having challenges to use a specific ingredient (or set of ingredients) or use a specified cuisine or follow other constraints (like pantry cooking). If we just make it ingredient-based then someone who can't eat that ingredient is left out, but we might not want to limit ourselves only to things everyone can eat. By having another facet to the challenge, people can still participate.

Update: I created a new Challenges category. Other sites do this too, as opposed to using Meta. Go forth and challenge the community.

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We could also ask to avoid using ingredients usually associated with a recipe and to find substitutes for it. For clarification, what is pantry cooking? Cooking only with things you have on hand in your pantry? Zerotime about 2 months ago

@Zerotime yes, pantry cooking is "use staples". I've sometimes seen challenges like "you can use these two fresh ingredients and otherwise only normal pantry stuff" (definition and stringency varies; I recommend being flexible here). Monica Cellio about 2 months ago

Then there are the "3 ingredient" recipes, though that gets a little fuzzy - e.g., what if one of them is a can of condensed soup, and what about salt/pepper. manassehkatz about 2 months ago

I don't see more discussion to it. Do we want to open a question for challenge ideas for a first try? Zerotime about 2 months ago

@Zerotime see update. Monica Cellio about 2 months ago

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Over on Twitter someone innocuously posted a picture of 9 small bulbs of garlic purchased by mistake and asked how to use up extra garlic. (Answers divided between "roast it", "pickle it", recipes, and "I do not understand the phrase 'too much garlic'".)

Would "use an ingredient" (or the TV format "use this basket of ingredients") be a good format for challenges?

"please help me use up extra zucchini" might be very popular in a month or so...

(Edit: on more careful reading I see that "use an ingredient" was, in fact, part of the original proposal. Consider this a thumb up for that part. ;-) )

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If you really want to limit the number of parallel challenges, maybe put up a meta thread in August, "propose the September challenge", and the one with the most upvotes gets used (subject to broad mod approval, the "Boaty McBoatface" rule.)

But it might be better to allow two parallel challenges every month -- one that must have near-universal appeal, i.e. no religious holidays or mandatory meat ingredients, and one that can be more narrow, like Christmas cookies or Passover desserts.

(Hm, an ethnicity-of-the-month might be fun, but that's veering WAY off the original scope.)

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