I have loved to cook for a long time. I cook simple things daily for my family, but enjoy the occasional challenge project. Over the years I’ve tackled things like keeping a sourdough starter (I know, everyone’s doing it nowadays, but my sourdough days were years ago), homemade aged cheese, cured bacon & sausage, and a catalog of other project dishes.

During the pandemic, I have lost quite a bit of my cooking mojo. The dreary repetitive nature of life in lockdown, maybe? I just don’t have the same excitement for daily cooking that I used to. The exceptions are the project dishes – trying dishes and techniques I’ve never tried before, fulfilling cravings that are a bit more difficult to satisfy, because of Covid-closures and just generally not being able to get out to restaurants much.

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

William Shakespeare 

I’m also going to be pairing my recipes with (hopefully) culturally appropriate Spotify playlists. Music makes cooking more enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to expanding my horizons in that way, too.

So, here we go! A culinary world adventure. How long will it take? Who knows, but it will be fun! The recipes are not mine, I will link to the one I used in each post, with my own notes. The food photos are mine. My list of countries comes from the United Nations website. The flag images come from Worldometer.com.

Disclaimer: I don’t know anything about anything, and will probably make many non-traditional choices and inauthentic mistakes, both with food and music. 

Website header image is “Still Life with Fruit and Vegetables” by Frans Snyders. From the collection of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.

latest posts


This project just turned two years old. Happy Birthday, ATWI195! The terrible twos are in full swing. I cooked Dominica more than month ago and am just getting to posting about it. It was a fine country, and a fine dish, and a fine playlist. I just wasn’t as inspired as I might have been. […]


Out of order, and two countries in one post, because this one is a doozy. No photos of the dishes, no playlist – sorry. Also, I make the rules around here! I had the opportunity this month to cook my international cuisine for a slightly larger group of people. I do some work for a […]


This will be a quickie, as I wasn’t incredibly inspired by the cuisine, the music, or the history of Djibouti. Also, it’s stinking hot where I live so I’m not incredibly inspired by much of anything at the moment. However, just taking a moment to note that this is dish #50 – putting me about […]


Quick: what do you think of when you think of Denmark? Hans Christian Anderson Butter cookies in a blue tin Victor Borge Barbie Girl?? Now I have something new to think of – these delightful øpen-faced sandwiches and bread to stick to your ribs during those long Scandinavian winters. If only I could pronounce anything […]


(with apologies to Lou Bega) Ladies and gentlemen, this is Congo Number Five One, two, three, four, fiveEverybody in the kitchen, let’s chop some chivesAt the grocery store around the cornerThe boys say they want some moambe and fufuBut I really don’t wannaPeanut bust like I had last weekI must not weep ‘cause tilapia is […]


Reading about North Korea was like reading a dystopian science fiction novel. Listening to what little North Korean music I could find was hilarious torture. Shopping for ingredients was a fun field trip – and cooking bibimbap with my stepmother was a delight. A mixed bag, you could say. By coincidence, it was my birthday […]


The challenge of this..challenge isn’t in the cooking so much as it is in the writing! I cooked the Czech Republic about five weeks ago and am just getting around to writing it up. I have done two countries since and I’m so behind in posting about them. So here is the Czech Republic – […]


Doing things a little bit out of order here. I don’t have anything intelligent or knowledgeable to say about world events, but it seemed important to do Ukraine right now, instead of in alphabetical order. It doesn’t even feel necessary to say much about the recipe or the music. I decided to make Chicken Kyiv […]


When it comes to this cooking project, part of me wants to be able to find most, if not all, of my ingredients at my regular grocery store. Another, larger, more adventurous part of me likes the hunt for that exotic ingredient – a chance for a visit to another part of town, a market […]


I do some of my best thinking between the hours of 2 and 4AM, apparently. I fall asleep like a champ, but staying asleep for more than a few hours at a time doesn’t really happen for me. I wake, I wonder what time it is, how long I’ve been asleep. Sometimes I look at […]


Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. […]


I’m not really sure what to say here for this post. This month has been intense one way and another – travel, holidays, work, the stupid hateful resurgence of this virus that has #$%!^@ed with us for going on two years now – to be honest it’s been a challenge to keep smiling some days. […]


While my enthusiasm for this project as a whole has not waned, the write-ups lately have felt a tiny bit of a chore. I’m still enjoying the research, cooking, and eating part for sure! But getting myself to sit down at the computer and write has been… challenging lately. Costa Rica was a country I […]


This week I came to the alarming discovery that there are not one, but TWO CONGOS in Central Africa. You may have sussed by now that central Africa has not exactly been my favorite part of the world in terms of this cooking project. It’s no wonder it took me three weeks to muster up […]


Comoros is another in the handful of countries so far that I hadn’t even heard of before. That’s always a weird feeling – makes me feel both adventurous and ignorant. An island nation not far from Madagascar, who knew? Much to my surprise I realized this week that I have been doing this project for […]


After taking a couple of weeks off after the China extravaganza, I was looking forward to getting back into the kitchen (like I ever left..) with Colombia. I am fortunate to have a Colombian friend, by the name of Fernando. Fun fact: Fernando is the second most interesting man in the world! It’s true – […]

36. China: Siu Mai (燒賣)

China was overwhelming. Fun and delicious, but overwhelming from beginning to end! The cuisine was formidable, the history daunting, the music overpowering — even the shopping expedition I took for some special ingredients was kind of unhinging. I wanted to make dumplings of some sort for my China dish – not just because I love […]


My Chilean dish was not a big success. I researched the cuisine and found many options – but at the time so many of them felt heavy and rich. Roasted meats and chowders, stews and such. Looking back on it now, I know I made a mistake in choosing the empanadas to make. There are […]

34. Chad: Jarret de Boeuf

The original draft of this post says “Chad is a country in Africa. I made a food thing from Chad. The End.” I still have African ennui, and it’s not going away any time soon! There are 54 countries on the continent of Africa. I HAVE ONLY MADE TEN OF THEM. Why are so many […]

33. Central African Republic: Kanda

Meatballs seem to be a fairly universal dish around the world. I’m always slightly relieved when they are an option for a country – they’re usually easy, appealing to most palates (especially in my house), and seeing the differences in preparation and flavoring is interesting. The Central African Republic is one of those countries I […]

32. Canada: Pet de Soeurs

It’s always so nice when I can consult a friend or acquaintance about a recipe – and even better when it’s a relative! I have a Canadian sister who lives in Montreal that I was lucky enough to be able to chat with about Canadian specific cuisine – and even better, she is an acknowledged […]

31. Cameroon: Jollof Rice

This will be a very quick one – the recipe I cooked for Cameroon was pretty much the same dish as for Burkina Faso – a spicy rice dish with meat. I don’t have too much to say on the Cameroon recipe, butI don’t regret the repeat, it’s interesting to experience variations on a theme. […]

30. Cambodia: Fish Amok

Hello, Cambodia! You have the best dish name so far. Fish AMOK! Reminds me of one of my favorite Warner Brothers cartoons. You can just imagine me in the kitchen, with the scenery artists messing me around while I try to make the fiddly banana leaf bowls, no? The week of Cambodia, I had my […]

29. Cabo Verde: Queijo de Cabra with Geléia de Mamão

With Cabo Verde (Cape Verde) we are still technically in Africa, but things are looking up. Cape Verde looks like a nice place to visit. While their cuisine was inspiring, I wasn’t feeling very amped up about cooking something extravagant this time around. It’s been hot where I live, and many of the dishes I […]

28. Burundi: Boko Boko Harees

Before this week, everything I knew about Burundi was in this stand-up bit from Eddie Izzard. I associated the sound of the word Burundi with something funny. Burundi isn’t funny. Approximately 80% of Burundi’s population lives in poverty. Famines and food shortages have occurred throughout Burundi, and 56.8% of children under age five suffer from chronic malnutrition. […]

27. Burkina Faso: Riz Gras

I am in a bit of an African Slough of Despond, hence my delay in getting Burkina Faso’s post up. I made this two weeks ago and haven’t had the juice to write it up. This one may be a bit short as I am currently in the middle of preparing Burundi, yet another African […]

26. Bulgaria: Kebapche, Shopska Salata, & Purlenka

Welcome to Bulgaria. Where the cuisine is tasty and the Wikipedia articles lengthy. Yes, very lengthy. With a country as old as Bulgaria, the history is dense and complex – to be honest I was distracted and unfocused when reading about it and the only interesting fact I can impart is that it was established […]

25. Brunei: Beef Rendang

All I knew about Brunei was that it has a Sultan. All anyone I mentioned Brunei to knew was that it has a Sultan. I didn’t even know where it was. Brunei is on the island of Borneo, of all places, and its proper name is the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace (Negara […]

24. Brazil: Moqueca Baiana

Brazil was a country I was looking forward to cooking. I have some experience eating Brazilian cuisine, but not with cooking it. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had! And I knew the music was going to be wonderful. When I’ve mentioned Brazil is coming up, the response has been “oh, are you making Feijoada?” And of […]

23. Botswana: Vetkoek with Curry Mince

After a much needed break (again, so sorry, Bosnia & Herzegovina), I am back in the kitchen again. I mean, I never left the kitchen but I felt after the Jabukovaca debacle it was time for a little space from this project. I knew when I started this it was going to be a long […]

22. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Jabukovača

I’m sorry, Bosnia and Herzegovina: it’s not you, it’s me. I didn’t want to make another meat stuffed anything. I didn’t want yet another ground meat burgery thing. I definitely didn’t want to deep fry anything. I didn’t want to read your Wikipedia article. I didn’t want to listen to your playlist. It’s nothing to […]

21. Bolivia: Silpancho

In my research on these countries, one thing I am noticing over and over is that so many of them have such unsettled histories – not just ancient history but in the past century – and in the case of Bolivia, even in the past few years! I was fascinated to read that Bolivia re-wrote […]

20. Bhutan: Ema Datshi, Momo, & Ezay

Bhutan seems to be a simultaneously badass and blissful country. Bhutan’s official name is Druk yul – “the Land of the Thunder Dragon,” the King of Bhutan is called Druk Gyalpo -“Dragon King“, and the Bhutanese people are called Drukpa – “Dragon people“. In Bhutanese families, inheritance passes through the female rather than the male line. Bhutan’s national sport is archery. And […]

19. Benin: Chicken Meatballs with Red Sauce

(Sure wish I knew the name of this recipe in French, Fon, Yoruba, Bariba, Mina, Dendi, or Yom, all of which are languages spoken in Benin! Let’s go with “Boulets de Poulet avec Sauce Rouge”.) I don’t tend to think too far ahead on this project – I cook on Sundays, then think about the next country during […]

18. Belize: Salbutes, Rice & Beans

I had no idea what to expect from Belizean cuisine. Caribbean? Central American? Something else? Turns out it is a bit of all of that. Belize looks like a beautiful country, and like many of the Caribbean countries, one with a complicated and troubling history. But I loved that one of their national dishes is […]

17. Belgium: Boulets à la Liégeoise

Years ago, our family used to take an occasional weekend visit to Laguna Beach. Just a little break – never for longer than a day or two. The last time we went, we discovered a Belgian restaurant there called the Brussels Bistro, and all three of us had one of the best meals of our […]

16. Belarus: Draniki

There is a house not far from my neighborhood, one that I drive by frequently, where the residents have taken up the tradition of hanging a different country’s flag outside their home – changing it frequently, maybe even weekly. I made a point of taking my dog for a walk over on that street last […]

15. Barbados: Rum Punch

Like with many things, my enthusiasm for this project ebbs and flows occasionally. This week looking at Barbados, there were several tasty looking main dish options I would love to have tried out. Mainly seafood, as you might imagine for an island nation, but I was concerned about finding the appropriate fish locally. Two of […]

14. Bangladesh: Shami Kabab

I am fortunate to live in a big city where I can find many, many varieties of ethnic grocery stores – so part of the fun of planning these dishes is finding and visiting these stores. I needed to get some ghee for my Bangladesh Day, and a few other items that could really be […]

13. Bahrain: Machboos ala Dujaj

My spice cabinet is getting ridiculous. For the Bahraini dish I decided to make machboos ala dujaj, a chicken and rice recipe that uses a middle-eastern spice blend called “baharat”. Baharat means “spice” in Arabic and the recipe I used has instructions for making your own baharat from whole spices: black peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander […]

12. The Bahamas: Coconut Tart

Today I learned: “Young Coconut” is not a suitable substitute for a regular old brown hairy coconut when it comes to easy access to the meat and enough meat in the coconut to produce as much as you need for baking. Today I learned: The highest point in the country of the Bahamas is 210 […]

11. Azerbaijan: Plov

I’m going to talk a little bit about something other than food. Sort of. Bear with me… We’ve all had those days or weeks during this pandemic where things are harder than other days or weeks. An up-and-down of cycle of despair, acceptance, sadness, gratitude, anxiety. A myriad of emotions, including the occasional lovely little […]

10. Austria: Fleischknödel & Spinatknödel with Sauerkraut

I have to admit my enthusiasm for this project flagged just a little bit after the Australian meat pie extravaganza. One thing I’ve noticed is that the most popular dishes you can find on the internet for most countries tend to be heavy, meaty, calorific – “peasant food”. My research on Austria was much the […]

9. Australia: Meat Pies

When it was time to start thinking about Australia, my mind immediately went to meat pies, of course. It felt like a little bit of a cop-out, as meat pies seem very English to me, and I’ve done quite a bit of English cooking, including meat pies. I thought it might be cool to do […]

8. Armenia: Lahmejun

Also spelled lahmajune, lahmacun, lamadjo, lahma bi ajeen, and many other spellings (in fact I’m pretty sure I will use multiple spellings in this very post!), this is often called Armenian pizza. I live in a city with a very large Armenian community – in fact it is the 3rd most populous of Armenians in […]

7. Argentina: Fugazza

I have a special connection to Argentina, so was very excited about this one. For many years I was immersed in tango lessons – my tango community was close-knit and we not only danced together, we socialized, celebrated, and even traveled together. I hosted several “tango parties” at my home, where we prepared many delicious […]

6. Antigua & Barbuda: Bun & Cheese

Taking a break from the main dishes, I chose a baking project for the Carribean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. I think the bun and cheese concept is common all over the Caribbean, especially those that were colonized by the British, as it is kind of a cousin to a hot cross bun. I have […]

5. Angola: Piri-piri Chicken

Angola, you were a challenge! But I’m so glad I persisted. The way I’ve been researching recipes is to simply google country name + cuisine or country name + recipes and see what comes up. There is usually one top/national dish, and several others that come up over and over. For Angola, the top three […]

4. Andorra: Trinxat

An unexpected (but obvious!) benefit of this project even so far has been how much I’ve learned about the country and culture just starting with cuisine and music! Andorra is a tiny country, but there is a long and fascinating history. I won’t subject you to it here but in the past week I’ve been […]

3. Algeria: Lham Lahlou

The national dish of Algeria is couscous. Not a particularly exciting thing to make, so I kept researching. I figured there would be some meaty-fruity-stewy possibility, and finally came upon a recipe for Lham Lahlou, which apparently means “sweet meat” in Arabic. It is traditionally made with lamb, which I am not a fan of, […]

2. Albania: Byrek Me Spinaq

Albanian byrek me spinaq is very like Greek spanakopita – a phyllo pie with a spinach and feta filling. A dish I love, and another dish I rarely make due to my PHEAR OF PHYLLO, which is a lifelong affliction. My mother tells me every time I fret about phyllo that it’s no big deal, […]

1. Afghanistan: Kaddo Bourani

Afghanistan is first in the alphabetical list of countries. One of my favorite dishes, ever, is Kaddo Bourani, which I first had at an Afghani restaurant in Washington, DC, many years ago. It is sweet, slow-roasted pumpkin slices with a spiced ground meat sauce, topped with a tangy, garlicky, minty yogurt sauce. The sweet and […]