I’ve unintentionally become a stereotype. I am a 38 year old woman who lives with her mother in Melbourne, Australia and owns a cat. I work in the arts industry which, at the best of times, can be seasonal and it’s often difficult to find continuous work. This is one of those times.
I’ve been doing contract work for the past couple of years – often interstate or touring around Australia and overseas. I packed up all my stuff and put it in storage and for the most part have been living out of suitcases. I’ve used Mum’s place as a base to stay when I’ve been home but recently that’s been for an extended period of time while I had a contract in Melbourne. That contract is now up and, sick of the road, I’m looking at finding something in the industry that’s a bit more stable that will allow me to once again, move into a place of my own.
In the meantime I have some spare time between job hunting and, as a way of keeping myself occupied as well as mixing things up and experimenting a bit, I’ve decided on this challenge. To eat my way around the world, so to speak.
I am sick of the food I’ve been eating. I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with food and my boyfriend (I’m outside of the stereotype in that regard) and I love eating out and have jokingly talked about doing something like this in order to try out new restaurants but never gotten around to doing anything about it. In my delusional, unemployed, insomniatic state, I decided late one night to make it a reality. For me anyway. Whilst I’m sure Shane will be involved in some way, it’s completely up to him how much he wants to participate in this.
In the mason jar that I’ve prepared is 198 slips of paper – each one has a country of the world written on it. The idea is that one by one each country is selected and I will try a cuisine from each. When this is finally complete, I should have sampled at least one dish from every country in the world. Like a world trip, but cheaper.
Note: The list of counties is taken from this website: https://www.countries-ofthe-world.com/all-countries.html I also added Antarctica – just for fun.
- Only one country can be selected at a time. It must be selected in a random “chook raffle” style.
- You cannot select another country until the last one has been completed.
- There is no set timeline to completing each task. Some are obviously going to be more difficult than others and life will almost certainly get in the way. The important thing is to complete each country before the next is started.
- Once a country has been selected you must trial dish from that particular country. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a national dish or even cooked in the traditional manner, but it does have to be representative of the selective country – none of this ‘Asian Fusion’ type bullshit. This may require some research……and an atlas.
- You can choose where you will get each meal. You have the choice of cooking your own, going to a restaurant that specialises in that cuisine or even have someone else cook you a dish (bonus points if it’s actually from someone from the country you’ve selected!). The main thing is that it’s legit (refer rule #3). Going to the local pub and ordering the stir fry does not mean that you can tick China off the list.
- When cooking a recipe yourself, a disastrous attempt can be deemed as a ‘pass’ if you’ve given it a red hot go. If you’re heart wasn’t in it and you know it, you need to try again. If trying again, you can use a different recipe from the same country. Sometimes you just bite off more than you can chew and that’s ok.
- The dish has to be of some substance. You can’t just go and eat a hot dog and tick the USA off the list. If you’re going to have a hot dog it has to be the full hotdog experience – mustard, chilli, whatever else goes into a traditional New York style hot dog (or whatever). Not to say a dish can’t be simple – simple dishes are often delightful. Just no going half-assed on each challenge. This means attempting to stick to a recipe instead of going off on your usual “that looks about right” method. Some substitution is ok but at least make an effort. Snacks do not count unless coupled with an actual meal from the selected country.
- No doubling up on countries. Only one country can be ticked off at a time. You can’t just do half of Europe ‘buffet style’ in one sitting. Well, you can……and I’m sure it would be delicious……but only one country can be ticked off at a time. No cheating.
- You can eat whatever you want to eat between challenges – regardless of what country the food originates from. However, you can’t tick a country off the list until you’ve selected it from the jar and then had a meal from said country in that order.
- You must take a photo of each dish to prove that it happened. You can blog about it if you like, just don’t become that dick that posts everything they eat on Facebook. Reserve some space on there for witty observations and cat videos as well.