39 countries, six continents, several gallons of oil and one hell of a time. After one year, United Noshes is neatly at the 20% mark of cooking one meal from each UN member country in alphabetical order. On July 10, 2011, we had three guests for lamb, eggplant and chunky yogurt drink to kick things off with Afghanistan. Last week we served a Costa Rican feast on the shores of a lake on a Puget Sound island for our 39th meal. While most of our meals were either in our dining room or back porch in Brooklyn, we took the show on the road to Boston, DC, the Catskills, Tacoma, and the Bay Area (twice!).
Some meals, like Argentina and China, have been magically abundant occasions; others, like Andorra and Bhutan, were pretty strange. Belarus and Canada were great excuses to make doing shots into a culturally appropriate experience, while Antigua and Barbuda was postponed, appropriately enough, by a hurricane. Guests with experience of the country taught us much, such as Rudina's stories about the great national Ponzi scheme of the 90s in Albania and Ssebbaale teaching us the Botswanan toast to rain. Along the way I bought a couscousssier, a deep-fryer, and a jumbo African mortar and pestle.
From the beginning, Noshing has been about giving as well as indulging, and we're so grateful to our guests and Google's generous matching. In total we've raised $7,455 for the World Food Program USA, which at 4 meals per dollar means 29,820 meals served. 14 of the meals we've cooked so far have been from countries the WFP serves, and at our big fundraiser nosh with WFP USA we explored the explicit connection between the Cameroonean meal and the nutrition challenges of central Africa.
And the people Noshing has reached! A total of 218 unique guests, from ages 2 to 92, have come to at least one of these 39 Noshes; of those, we met 86 for the first time at the meal. Our site's received visits from 127 different countries/territories, and the most popular meal's page was Canada. We're pleased to have been written up by both Grub Street and CNN's Eatocracy, yet we got by far the most traffic from an email we had the chance opportunity to send to over 20,000 people via The Listserve — and now for over three dozen countries we've got volunteers to help with the menu.
Whether you're a regular at the table or looking on from halfway around the world, thanks for being a part of this beautiful adventure. We've got a long way to go, so put on your eatin' pants and buckle up!