The goal of this blog is to chronicle the 365 Days of Cooking Challenge, from the perspectives of some of its participants. The Challenge is, in short, not to eat any pre-prepared meals, whether from boxes, restaurants, or wherever. Some people may be aiming for the whole 365 days, while others may aim for 5-6 days a week; if you want to participate, try to go with what will challenge, but not frustrate, you–improvement is more important than perfection!

The rules:
1) Eat home-cooked* food only. It doesn’t have to be your home–in fact, finding friends who want to share in this cooking challenge with you is a great idea–but it has to be somebody’s.
2) If it’s already in your pantry when you accept the challenge, it’s OK to eat it. The goal isn’t to waste food. But maybe add something home-cooked to go with it, to follow the spirit of the challenge.
3) Condiments don’t count as pre-prepared. Ketchup, mustard, mayo, horseradish, jam, and probably even relish are OK to buy and use, if you want to. Give yourself bonus points if you make your own, of course! (Points are redeemable for nothing, but you can brag in your blog posts. ;)) Also, spices and ingredients like curry paste are fine to use–they’d be unreasonably hard to make for yourself.

*This is going to need some clarification. It’s probably fine to buy bread or pasta at the store; it’s reasonable to call these things ingredients (say in a sandwich), rather than foods unto themselves. But if you’d like to challenge yourself to eat only bread you’ve cooked, go nuts! Also, of course, it’s OK to eat uncooked food–celery sticks, apples, sashimi. (Actually, we don’t recommend preparing sashimi yourself. One restaurant food that is probably OK to count, for this project, is sushi–you aren’t technically making it, but you can watch it be made. Also, maybe salads?) What does not count is, for instance, a box of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a Lean Cuisine dinner, or anything from McDonalds.

Some may do the challenge to hone their cooking skills; some may do it to save money; others, because they want to improve their health, or eat more whole foods. There are a bunch of great reasons to do this, and you should adapt the rules into something you can make work with your goals.

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