Traveling around the world is on almost everyone's bucket list. Experiencing the food, the people, and cultures of different countries is truly an eye-opening experience. But for some people, the beauty of New York is that you can do at least part of that right here in the city, without having to leave your kitchen.
As natives of the West coast (Oakland, CA and Vancouver, Canada respectively), Jesse Friedman and Laura Hadden soon realized after moving to Brooklyn that you could do just that: vicariously visit almost any country in the world by finding its cuisine somewhere in the five boroughs. But what started as a way to embrace all the diversity in New York began to feel a little flat after a routine of simply entering a restaurant, eating their meals, and leaving. They thought it would be more enriching to try cooking meals themselves and learning all they could about that countries origins in the process. The idea of running through the list of countries included in the UN simply seemed like a logical approach to spanning the globe.
Because they missed the relaxed vibe of the West coast dinner party, which they felt was hard to come by here in the world of never-ending bar openings and celebrity chefs, they started a blog, UnitedNoshes, and opened up their dinners to anyone who might care to join in a meal of Mung bean pancake (North Korea), asking only to donate a few bucks to help offset food costs as well as make a charitable donation (and maybe help with dishes!).
Having now covered 46 of the 193 UN member countries (plus two permanently observing non-members: Vatican City and Palestine), they have developed a steady following, hosting about 8-10 people per meal and attempting to cook roughly 2 meals per month. The money they do make from donations they give to the World Food Project and to-date have raised over $9,000. In honor of World Food Day, which is October 16, they'll be hosting their biggest meal so far this Sunday (10/14), which will represent the Democratic Republic of Congo. The menu will consist of chicken in palm nut sauce, a peanut stew with vegetables, cassaba leaves (or fresh collards as a substitute), some fruits and plantains, and fufu (a starchy grain).
This dinner will be hosted at the Hosteling International building on 104th & Amsterdam. If you'd like to attend, tickets are still available (they're hoping for a crowd of about 100 this time). Visit their website to purchase tickets ($15-$25) or just make a donation to the World Food Project. And sign up for their newsletter to keep up to date about future countries and meals.