As the torch is extinguished for the last time in the Olympic Stadium in London, so we see the end of the Olympic Food Challenge. I set this challenge back in April, thinking that it would add an other dimension to the summer of sport. I didn't know then that our Olympic and Paralympic athletes would steal the hearts of the nation and truly be an inspiration to us all.
The Olympic Food Challenge has also been an inspiration to me. In April I had an idea, it was quite far fetched and, looking back on it, it was also a bit over ambitious. Cooking food from all 204 National Olympic Committees was always going to be hard. I realised early on that I would need help to complete the challenge and he fact that 14 complete strangers from 11 food blogs decided to help me carry out this momentous task is an inspiration in its self.
Sadly we failed in our original goal of completing the challenge by the end of the Olympic Games*. We moved the goal posts* and, with the remaining countries distributed, we started to cook our way towards the closing ceremony of the Paralympics.
Since 12th August we have cooked recipes from: Armenia, Belarus, Bermuda, Botswana, Cayman Islands, Djibouti, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, Gambia, Haiti, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Libya, Mauritania, Monaco, Montenegro, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tajikistan, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu. There are still one or two blog posts to be written up by the team, they will be posted on the National Olympic Committees page as soon as possible.
So that's it, between us we have researched and eaten recipes from around the world. We have picked up some wonderful cooking techniques (boiling chicken, braising, making noodles and dumplings to name a few), tried new ingredients (breadfruit, ducks tongues, goat) and found out the odd fact that will be useful in future pub quizzes (Gambia gained independence from Great Britain in 1965).
Thank you to Catherine, Clare, Dan, Dave, a couple of Garys, Jo(e), Rachel, three Rebeccas, Sam and Steph. With out your hard work none of this would have been possible. You are my inspiration to continue to come up with daft and far fetched ideas. I doubt I will try anything on this scale again, but I will keep pushing my boundaries and each time I do I'll remember the 2012 Olympics and the Olympic Food Challenge.
*Real life has a habit of getting in the way of daft ideas.
*something that would be frowned upon by most in the world of sport.