Solving World Hunger with Dinner Parties: Meet United Noshes

dinner party table

Six years and 194 dinner parties with meals from around the world to help relieve the global hunger crisis.

A dinner party is more than an excuse to eat a few exotic dishes: it’s a reason to be with other people, engage in a lively conversation, and maybe even learn something. Sometimes it’s even a chance to celebrate a cause, or solve a global issue like hunger.

That’s the idea behind United Noshes, a six-year project aimed to cook a feast from every United Nations member country (in alphabetical order). That makes for a total of 194 meals (there are 193 UN members, plus two non-observing members, Holy See (Vatican City) and Palestine, and Holy See will get wrapped in as appetizers before the Honduras meal). The two women behind the project, Laura Hadden and Jesse Friedman, are estimating that to make that many meals will take about 6 years, finishing towards the beginning of 2017.

What makes United Noshes special is two things: First, they put an emphasis on local community as much as they do global. For the United Noshes team, cooking from around the world is not just a way to explore new foods, but a way of bringing people together. They invite new friends and old, and you can sign up for their newsletter to learn about upcoming dinners. Second, they use the meals as a way to raise money for World Food Program USA – as of December 2012, they raised over $12,000.

The United Noshes blog is an exploration of not only different foods, but also a geography lesson, giving you a look into even the smallest of countries. As James Michener once said, “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” Food is an avenue for exploring cultures, and fortunately the United Noshes team is providing people with the opportunity to do that even when they are at home.

Kitchen tables are the place for us to connect, and what better way than learning about the culinary culture of new countries and taking part in something that benefits others that are not so lucky to have access to elaborate meals?

Image: Daniel E. Lee

Anna Brones

Anna Brones is a food + travel writer with a love for coffee and bikes. She is the author of The Culinary Cyclist and Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break. Catch her weekly column, Foodie Underground.