Searching for ingredients
Oneof the best side advantages of the COTM is searching for the ingredients.
It adds to the experience
Very true. I planned a Japanese lunch, starting with homeade dashi to watch Tampopo with a a friend and had to visit multiple Asian stores for specific items. My favorite discovery was a Korean store that sold chicken feet!
Though I have yet to participate in the COTM (no idea why I have not!) this rings true for cooking in general (for me). There is something so satisfying seeking nearly impossible-to-find ingredients and finding them. Recipes using unusual ingredients attract me more than others. It definitely adds to my experience! :)