Meal 118: Namibia

Namibia is a dry place. Most of it is desert, the best-known of which being the Kalahari, with a little strip classified as “semi-arid.” In such an environment, few vegetables grow, so for thousands of years people living in this part of the world have relied on animals to turn meager grasses and shrubs into edible food. Accordingly, everyone, including the poor, makes meat a large portion of their diet, so naturally this meal featured meat in several forms.  It was hard […]

Meal 111: Micronesia

At 1 million square miles with only 100,000-ish people, the Federated States of Micronesia is both huge and tiny. (Obviously, almost all of that square mileage is ocean.) As with much of the rest of the Pacific islands, the traditional bland starches and simply cooked fish aren’t the most stimulating cuisine. Micronesians have swung the pendulum far to the other side, with some really intense and novel uses of imported flavors. (Read below for what they do with ramen and Kool-Aid.) There’s […]

Meal 102: Malawi

Malawi’s a landlocked country in southern Africa, hugging the lake with which it shares a name. And Laura’s sister’s husband just so happened to do Peace Corps there, so Scott provided some enthusiastic and thorough advice on what to cook. Joining us for the meal were Brett, Kaely, Lisa, Audrey, Elizabeth, Amy, and Jérémy and his French companions. Nali sauce Probably the single food item that other Africans will recognize from Malawi is this notoriously spicy chili sauce. While there’s a site in […]

Meal 97: Libya

After nearly four years, we’ve finally hit halfway! And how fitting to celebrate with a cuisine that’s a synthesis of several influences. Libya is a real culinary interface between Africa and the Mediterranean: stews over a ball of pounded dough definitely evoke many of the sub-Saharan meals we’ve had so far, while spice-heavy preparations of lamb have the influence of the Ottoman Empire all over them. There’s even a little legacy of the Italian occupation. For being a cuisine you hear […]

Meal 88: Kenya

We’ve already enjoyed three meals from the Horn of Africa, but it’s taken us until the K’s to start into East Africa proper. It looks a whole lot more like Central African, though I’m happy and relieved to report that we found it quite a bit tastier. As with so many former colonial countries, the borders of Kenya arbitrarily threw a bunch of tribes together. Accordingly, there’s not exactly a national cuisine as such, but there are a few dishes that […]

Meal 67: Ghana

When I asked for fermented cornflour at Owa Afrikan Market, the kindly shopkeeper replied, “Kenkey? Oh, that’s from Ghana. We’re a Nigerian store!” I didn’t have much better luck at Diaby African Market, which is run by shopkeepers from Cote d’Ivoire who are equally friendly but equally devoid of kenkey. Just as I’d begun to grow a bit fatigued of what seem to be a limited range of very common African staples — smoked fish, palm oil, cassava, yam, plantain, […]

Meal 57: Estonia

Vikings, Russians, Swedes, Poles, Russians, Germans, Soviets… pretty much, if you were an empire within a few hundred kilometers of Estonia, you probably had dominion over this small country at some point. But things are now going well for the Estonians, who emerged from the USSR with a bang, and now enjoy a strong economy, EU membership, strong civil liberties, and Internet access so pervasive they have online voting. (Thankfully this made finding recipes a lot easier than expected!) Estonia’s […]

Meal 47: Democratic Republic of the Congo

What a special night! 75 guests, most of whom had never been to a Nosh before, gathered in the beautiful ballroom at Hostelling International on the Upper West Side, for a meal of classic Congolese dishes. The idea came from Ari, the community engagement manager at the hostel, who saw our email on The Listserve and reached out to see if we might want to do a Nosh with them. With a big venue and kitchen, we decided to align […]

Meal 34: Chad

Chad spans the three S’s of the heart of Africa: the Sahara desert in the north, the arid Sahel in the middle, and the wetter savanna to the south. Or put into culinary terms, this extent is why we see both dates and peanuts factor into this meal. However, on the heels of the generically-named Central African Republic, Chad’s another country that poses some online searching problems, at least in English. To wit, I was looking for advice on cooking […]

Meal 31: Cameroon

For our first Nosh in DC, we teamed up with WFP USA to host the biggest yet, with over 25 people — just about none of whom Laura or I had ever met! — coming to experience a Cameroonean feast meal. It was quite the affair, with a buffet line, speeches before and after, a Q&A with our guests, a slideshow of prior Noshes, and a really powerful video about the amazing work WFP does that we hope to put […]