I made 236 different recipes last year. When I went down the list to find favorites, I thought it would be hard to even get a top ten so I was really surprised when I ended up with twenty. I knew I had made a lot of good food but I didn’t I’d made that much that left such a great impression.

Here are my favorite meals from last year. They are not in order of preference. They’re in alphabetical order by country because I just went down the list of Categories and I am not taking the time to rank all of them. Sorry. Most of them are on the easy level so if you want a good, fairly quick meal (under an hour) most of these should work.

Fugazetta – Argentina I will never see stuffed pizza the same after this.

Moules Frites – Belgium This meal made me fall in love with mussels.

Black Bean and Sausage Soup – Brazil Probably one of the simplest meals I made all year. Probably why it’s a favorite.

Cumin Spiced Lamb – China Same for this one.

Tamales de Pipian – Colombia I can’t wait to eat this again!

Stamppot – Netherlands I’m totally incorporating this into Thanksgiving dinner.

Panes Rellenos – El Salvador I want to visit El Salvador just to be able to eat these things again.

Chicken Theresa – Germany Another very easy dinner. Not very healthy but who cares?

Murg Purdina – India You would think that the Masala Dosa would be my favorite since I was and am so proud of being able to make it but this Murg Purdina and the accompanying Methi Aloo far surpass it.

Shakshuka – Israel Oh man, I think I might host a brunch just to have the excuse to share this amazing dish with people!

Gamja Saelleodeu – Korea I’m seriously waiting for the next barbecue pot luck to take this dish and blow everyone’s mind with it!

Harira – Morocco This dish made me like lamb.

Chicken Sekuwa – Nepal The previous post already explained my love for this.

Arroz con Chancho – Peru I’ve made this a couple of times since I first made it. It’s that easy and that good!

Ceebu Jen – Senegal I love this meal because it got my kids to eat fish. And veggies. All at once!

Shrimp Curry – Sri Lanka This made the list not just because it was tasty but because also because of its versatility. I made it a few days later but with chicken and it was just as great!

Pork Meatloaf Stir Fry – Thailand This is now how I make pork meatloaf.

Chicken in Pandan Leaves – Thailand This meal introduced me to and made me fall in love with pandan leaves.

Kiymali Pide – Turkey Another pizza and soooo good!

Sister’s Stew – Westeros This meal taught me that not all fish soups are gross and for that, I am grateful. I also got semi-drunk making the bread bowl.





Year In Review

I am finally getting around to my last post! I spent the last month really focusing on training for the half marathon I ran this past Sunday so this post took a back seat. To be honest, I put this post in the trunk and forgot it. It started stinking recently and I finally looked back there and found it so I decided I should probably air it out.

The first thing people asked when I told them what I was doing was “What’s been your favorite?” The second was “What’s been the worst?” followed by “What have you learned?” So let me go ahead and answer those questions.

“What’s been your favorite?”

I made a lot of food last year, 236 recipes to be exact. Despite making A LOT of good food, my favorite meal was actually from the beginning. I thought that it would change throughout the year because there was so much to choose from but nope, it was and is still Chicken Sekuwa from Nepali week. I think James will argue it’s my favorite because it was our first meal after the disaster that was Finnish week (I think just answered the second question) and coming off that, a grilled cheese would have been delectable but I disagree. I mean, I’m sure it doesn’t hurt that the week before was spent training our gag reflex but this meal was really amazing! I just re-read the post and I don’t think it gave it justice. You will have to click on the recipe portion to get more praise because this meal was made when I was still on Blogger and when I transferred over to Squarespace, I broke the posts into two portions. Anyway, it was much better than I gave it credit it for. Yes, the meat was tender but I think the true essence of the meal was in the yogurt sauce and those flippin’ pickled onions! It was creamy and a little tart and salty and overall amazing.

There were others I loved a lot, nineteen others actually, but Chicken Sekuwa was number one. I’ll post the other nineteen in a separate post but don’t worry, it’ll just be a list.

“What’s been the worst?”

I’ve sort of already answered this…To be fair to the Finnish people who will probably never read this, not all of Finnish week was bad. The Summer Vegetable Soup, the Spinach Pancakes, and the Carrot Casserole were all things I enjoyed that week but I will say, the Liver Casserole did cast quite the black cloud over the whole week. Part of the reason we did this project was to get out of our comfort zone and try new things. We all get in our food ruts and we were tired of eating the same things over and over again. Also, sometimes we shelter ourselves and don’t want to try “the other” because we’re conditioned to stick with things that are similar to ourselves and are wary of different things. This is just being human, we have all experienced this at some point in our lives and we can blame our neanderthal ancestors for instilling in us a fear of the unknown but we wanted to get away from that. So we tried liver. And we hated it. But at least we tried it and that says something, right? There were other meals that disappointed me but I can’t think of any that I just could not stomach after a few bites like with this casserole. So sorry Liver Casserole, we tried. I’m not going to lie and say it wasn’t you, it was most definitely you. You’re gross. Sorry.

“What have you learned?”

Where to begin?

Probably the biggest thing I learned was that 250 ml equal 8 oz, or one cup, and how to use my measuring cup. I can’t think of any time before this that I used a recipe that measured things in millileters because 1. I apparently didn’t know that the other side of my measuring cup had millileter measurements and 2. I would just find a recipe that measured in cups. Because I’m stupid. I am not a detail oriented person and never read the small print; this will inevitably be the cause of my downfall.

Which brings me to the second most important thing I learned: the importance of reading THE ENTIRE RECIPE. I don’t know how many times I got frustrated because I didn’t read the entire recipe when planning and then came cooking day and I was like “Man, I was supposed to marinate this stuff for four hours…” or “Oh, this says to let this sit for two days..people will be here in thirty minutes…” So now I read everything and I make notes because I will still probably forget whatever I just read because my memory sucks.

So it goes.

I didn’t do a full fifty-two weeks of cooking like I had originally planned; I ended up doing thirty-eight.

38 countries.

122 meals.

236 recipes.

So no, I didn’t do what I set out to but I did what I could and I’m okay with that. And that’s probably the biggest lesson out of this entire thing, learning to give myself a little grace. I am not a driven person, I am the first to admit that, and I often start projects without finishing them. James recently said that I’m good at starting things but I’m not good at grinding it out and finishing them. I agree with that 1000% percent. And you would think that with me accepting this flaw, I wouldn’t beat myself up about it but I do. And sometimes I should because not finishing things is a horrible habit and should not be encouraged but overall, I need to just give myself a break.

I have a lot going on, we all do, and as we continue on this journey, we will never not have something going on, so we do what we can and move on. It doesn’t mean we don’t fulfill commitments but it does mean that we don’t let it get to us that we can’t give it our all. Because you can’t give your all to everything or everyone, it’s impossible. You’ll have nothing left for yourself or to give in the future so give a little and be okay with it. And on the flip side of that, we should be appreciative of those who give us a little because sometimes it’s a struggle to even do that and we need to be grateful that they care enough to do that much for us.

So thank you for giving me a little of your time last year. Some of our best experiences last year were cooking for our friends or just talking about this and having people share their cooking experiences with us. I’ve made so many connections just by talking about food and it wasn’t just with foodies or professionals. Everyone eats, everyone cooks, we all like food, so yeah, thank you for sharing all that with me.