Can One Person Make a Great Dish for Every Food Holiday?

Posted by on Feb 20, 2015

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After taking a selfie at dinner every night for two years, I thought eating the national food holidays would be piece of cake. After all, I was entirely used to documenting myself with food. All I needed to do was research what every day of the year was, write a blog post for every day, find a recipe to make (or line up a restaurant that had what I needed) every day, and take a photo every day. Y’know, on top of continuing to take my nightly dinner photo (a project that only ended after five consecutive years this past New Year’s Eve), hold down my then extremely boring office job, maintain relationships, and juggle all those other important adult responsibilities. 

national vinegar day
November 1: National Vinegar Day
I made it to April before I realized exactly what I had gotten myself into and wondered out loud to my friends and family (often), “What was I thinking?” Because eating the year also meant learning how to masterfully budget my grocery list, because I was now purchasing things I had never purchased before (and making things from scratch is not always the most inexpensive option). It meant committing to a workout schedule, because of the insane amounts of dessert and alcohol I was suddenly consuming.

jump for jellybeans day
July 31: National Jump for Jellybeans Day
And it meant constantly coordinating and re-coordinating my schedule to work within a calendar no one else was abiding by. But because of all that, I now know how to make an exceptional pasta dish that feeds four for $6; I can run a 5K in under 40 minutes; and I’m possibly the most flexible person when it comes to being rescheduled on, because — trust me — I get it. 

snack a pickle day
September 13: National Snack a Pickle Day
I also learned that for someone who tends to be a control freak, blogging EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. forces you to accept imperfections and just move on. Not every blog is going to be a masterpiece, not every recipe is good (as a matter of fact, I never hide when I mess something up or even altogether fail at cooking a dish); not every photo is well composed. 

And, finally I learned that you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time. “Well, you didn’t really celebrate International Bacon Day if you used tempeh, did you?” The number of times I was accused of “not really celebrating” by people (who I thought were accepting and open-minded) because I’m a vegetarian was staggering. That’s when I realized the true value of inclusivity over exclusivity. What does it matter if your bacon is different than my bacon? The point is we’re celebrating something together. 

sidewalk egg frying day
July 4: National Sidewalk Egg Frying Day
All of this being said … would I do it all over again? Absolutely. Doing a daily project of any kind for one year is an extraordinary feat. It hones your skill as a writer, a blogger, a cook, a photographer, whatever it is you’re doing …there’s no way you’re not going to be better at the end of it then when you started. 

It’s also a beautiful way to capture your life (which, let’s face it, goes by incomprehensibly fast) in a unique way. And, really, who cares if you’re not the first to celebrate the food holidays (or take a nightly dinner selfie or capture one second a day on video)? However you do what you do will inevitably be different than how I or anyone else do what we do. And that’s cause for celebration! 


Steff Deschenes, author of Eat the Year, is a food blogger and event planner living in Portland, Maine, with her mini-rex rabbit, Boone. 

She’s currently eating her way through her next adventure, Eat The State, on her blog Almanac of Eats. You can follow her antics on Twitter here.

Eat the Year is published by Running Press.

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