Skip to content

Universal Language Series

I have heard it said that Math or Music is the universal language.  But what of the deaf, or the person  who owns nothing to add or subtract?  Do they have no voice?  There is a constant in this planet that is undeniable.  In order to live, one must eat.  When cultures have collided in the past, they often sat down over dinner to try to communicate, even with a complete language barrier.  Our very first action at birth  is to search for our mother’s breast.  How then could we describe anything other than food as the universal language?

With the passing of centuries, every culture, country and religious group has gathered, collated and refined a culinary tradition.  Using local produce almost solely until recent times, there has been an incredible diversification of food choices from around the world based on local ingredients.  With the onslaught of modern technologies and transportation, global cuisine has been disseminated widely.  People now have the opportunity to experience “exotic” culinary trends that required a ship and a sponsor only a century ago.  Now we can simply run out to the local Indian or Moroccan Restaurant or market(depending on your location of course).

With over 200 countries and disputed territories on this globe, and the introduction of the internet, we are able to venture forth like no other time in history.  And so we should.  And so we shall.

My Mission:

I have made it my mission to attempt to cook the national dishes of every recognized nation on the planet.  I will publish the list today and embark on this journey with the help of my friends and family, all the while reporting on my adventure at this web address.  I am actually cooking the dishes, photographing them and reporting, but the journey will sadly be completely in my head, until the giant corporate sponsor in the sky decides to fund the travel.  What a journey that would be!  I have chosen to write as if we are travelling by ship from one place to the next, telling a bit about each country as we go.

Each segment will cover one nation.  I will give background and facts to the best of my ability and will try to stay true to the intentions of the original recipes creators.  I will fail in that effort, but will make an honest effort.  I would appreciate feedback and suggestions along the way, and I hope to do justice to each nation and each culinary style.  

Here are the rules I will follow:

  • Cook 1 dish from each internationally recognized nation on the planet(at this time there are 197*) in alphabetical order **
  • Do so in 365 days (1 every 1.84 days) more or less…(I might occassionally cook more often than every 1.84 days)   Ahh, the best laid plans of mice and men.  Due to circumstances beyond my control (as illuminated in the blog) I will not complete this challenge on time.  But I will complete it.  Better late than never….
  • Cook the national dish of each nation using only google and the internet to identify them and locate a recipe.
  • When in dispute or not easily identified, I will choose a popular dish that seems to qualify.
  • When a nation is divided by unrest or cultural split, I will try to choose fairly or might possibly cook 1 or more dishes for that country.
  • I may cook more than 1 dish from each country.  In which case, I will publish recipes for each dish.
  • I will not take menu suggestions from individuals as this could skew the results.  I am however happy to consider recipes sent in by readers that match the selections on the master list.
  • If I am unable to find the required ingredients I will use the best substitute I can manage and explain myself.
  • If an ingredient is impossible to locate locally and is fundamental to the dish, I will happily accept contributions from readers who are willing to ship the ingredients I need or will search for another recipe from that country that is popular.
  • I will not take a political stand in any political dispute no matter my personal opinion.
  • I will try to be objective in my reporting.
  • I will focus on cuisine and not civil issues.
  • I will identify the flag, capitol, population and region of each nation.
  • I will try to identify unique and regional culinary trends and ingredients.
  • I will read, and consider any comments posted that are constructive and food focused.
  • I will delete any inflammatory comments that disparage any group, race, religion or ethnic group.   Please save me the trouble of deleting any comments by not posting them in the first place.
  • I will never assume I know better than a local person does on local cuisine, except that I will only use the internet to choose the dish.
  • I will try to work with a local chef or expert whenever possible to get hints on preparation.
  • I will report honestly on my opinions of the dish even if I don’t like it.
  • I will rate each dish with up to 5 points in each of 3 categories, taste, appearance, aroma with 5 being Very Satisfying and 1 being Not At All Satisfying, for a total possible score of 15.
  • I leave myself the option of changing my rating system at anytime if I find it is flawed.

And so it begins.  I am excited to embark on this journey.  I hope to learn more than I could have imagined.  I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Bon Voyage and Bon Appetite…

The list:

*I will use the list found at as of January 7, 2010  10:00 AM Eastern Standard Time   

**I am using only the list of sovereign states that are internationally recognized.  This does not necessarily reflect my personal opinion on the status of the disputed territories.  I have decided for the sake of diplomacy and in order to keep the politics out of this journey, to use only this list.  Please forgive me if you feel you are overlooked.  Remember that in doing my research, I paid notice of and read the histories of each and every state on the planet including the ones in dispute and in following my journey so will many others…..Vive Le Planet!!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Isabelle permalink
    February 1, 2010 8:14 pm

    I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case, great info…I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

  2. Tony Pacise permalink
    February 2, 2010 1:13 pm

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking your feeds too now, Thanks.

  3. Robert Shumake permalink
    February 2, 2010 5:35 pm

    Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!!

    I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog. )

  4. MrBarns permalink
    February 6, 2010 12:15 pm

    Hey, great blog…but I don’t understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please 🙂

    • February 6, 2010 3:10 pm

      Hi there,

      I have just added a RSS button to the front page. Enjoy…


  5. February 25, 2010 1:32 pm

    Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya 🙂

  6. Sherri Wilson permalink
    February 26, 2010 11:06 pm

    Hello Eric!

    It was a great joy to meet you and your family today. Couples like you and your wife are the reason that I’m in my line of occupation; you both were interesting, intriguing, stimulating, and knowledgeable. I searched the vacation plan you recommend and hope to find out more in the future. I wanted to say thanks again for the helpful advice! I absolutely love the blog work you have done here! I plan to be a follower of your blog work; I expect to see more projects in your future. Maybe the next step will be to embark in an actual around the world approach, and at that time maybe I will be able to interest you in a package! LOL! I appreciated your time, attention, advice, and offer of future job referrals. Please keep up the good work, and stay in touch!

    Sherri Wilson

    • March 1, 2010 12:24 pm

      Thanks Sherri, we had a blast in Massanutten. You were a great tour guide. Keep it up…


  7. February 3, 2011 2:09 pm

    Hi I am so excited I found your site, not just because I love food but because I am of African origins and find it so special that you have dishes that I have never even tasted.
    I am new to blogging and enjoying the new journey and I must admit you are my NUMBER one inspiration, I saw your link in AfricanVibes this morning, it was my first time buying it. Well I am glad I came across you. Thanks for all the inspiration. Hope to see you at and have the honor of counting you and your fans amongst my Followers.

    • February 3, 2011 7:49 pm

      Thanks GoodHealthDiva! So happy you like the blog. Try out some of the other global bloggers in my Blogroll,(front page). They may bering you even more inspiration…

      Africa with its 50+ countries is by and far the largest region to cover in this challenge. I hope to bring you many more interesting recipes and histories over the time we have left.


  8. February 15, 2011 11:09 pm

    I love what you are doing! keep up the great work. Have you traveled to Africa? Our goals are similar as I also travel to distant lands and share the preparations of their national dishes! check me out at congrats on your site and i’ll be back. These recipes look amazing and i can tell that they are authentic!

    • February 16, 2011 12:55 am

      Great to meet you Keith! I haven’t been to Africa, but I feel like I have after cooking so many traditional African dishes… I have been to Europe, Southeast Asia, and The Middle East as well as Central America and much of the Caribbean. I love the travel and meeting the people nearly as much as the cooking and consuming of the food.

      Your blog is A+. One of the nicest I have seen. I will be adding you to the blogroll of similar global bloggers on my home page. I would like to stay in touch as well so hit me up at myhungrytum (at) gmail (dot) com…


  9. February 17, 2011 1:12 pm

    I’m glad that I’ve found your blog.
    I have to say that it’s a unique blog! I admire how comprehensive each of the entries are. They are well balanced, both informational and amusing, and the pictures are cool too.

  10. February 24, 2011 6:26 am

    I savor to taste you from my modest town of Trouville-sur-Mer in France. I prize the kind of information you provide . Mayhap another day, I will have the comparable valour like you !!! Regards, Pierre from Trouville.


  1. Announcing the journey of a lifetime!! « MyHungryTum
  2. Kushari – Egypt National Dish – Day 173/Dish 55 « MyHungryTum
  3. Kushari – Egypt’s National Dish | We Blog The World

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: