The List

When Eric and I gave ourselves our first assignments — using an online random country/territory generator — I received British Antarctic Territory. At that point, we realized we needed to tweak our system. We didn’t want to use a straight list of official countries. First of all, there is some discrepancy as to what constitutes an official country (take Palestine and Taiwan as examples). Second, there are so many parts of the world that are decidedly not countries in their own right, but have an amazing culinary tradition that we wanted to explore (like Puerto Rico and Macau). I took an exhaustive list of all countries and territories, and one at a time, we decided whether a listed item should stay or go. So it was goodbye, British Antarctic Territory, and hello, Bermuda; goodbye, US Virgin Islands, and hello, Hong Kong. Some areas with similar culinary influences we grouped together, which gave us categories like the Dutch Caribbean.

There was the second problem that some continents have far more countries than others. We were more likely to be assigned an African country than a South American one, for example. This meant the potential for less variety meal to meal. Our answer to this was to group countries by region. In selecting our cooking assignments, we would first be randomly assigned a region, and from that region, we would be further assigned a specific place. Our categories were as follows: East Africa; West Africa; North, South, and Central Africa; the Caribbean; South America; North and Central America; Oceania; Middle East; Central Asia; South and East Asia; Western Europe; Eastern Europe; Southern Europe. Each category has 13 to 21 items. Some places were moved into categories controversially in order to balance numbers somewhat. So China is listed under South and East Asia, but Tibet is listed as Central Asia. For our second assignments, Eric first received Eastern Europe and then Hungary. I received Oceania and then Samoa. We are still more likely to get an African country than a South American one, but we hope to see more culinary variety overall using this method of selection.

So there it is. We didn’t realize just how much would have to go into the assigning process, but it was actually fun to figure out how to best diversify our selections. For our full list, please see below. If you notice somewhere missing that has some interesting recipes of its own, please comment below! We don’t want to miss anything.

East Africa Burundi
Comoros
Djibouti
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Kenya
Madagascar
Malawi
Mauritius
Mozambique
Rwanda
Seychelles
Somalia
Tanzania
Uganda
Zambia
Zimbabwe
West Africa Benin
Burkina Faso
Cabo Verde
Cote d’Ivoire
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Liberia
Mali
Mauritania
Niger
Nigeria
Senegal
Sierra Leone
Togo
North, South, and Central Africa Algeria
Angola
Botswana
Cameroon
CAR
Chad
Congo
DRC
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Gabon
Lesotho
Libya
Morocco
Namibia
Sao Tome and Principe
South Africa
South Sudan
Sudan
Swaziland
Tunisia
The Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda
Bahamas
Barbados
Cuba
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Dutch Caribbean
French Caribbean
Grenada
Haiti
Jamaica
Puerto Rico
St Kitts and Nevis
St Lucia
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
South America Argentina
Bolivia
Brazil
Chile
Colombia
Ecuador
French Guiana
Guyana
Paraguay
Peru
Suriname
Uruguay
Venezuela
North and Central America Belize
Bermuda
Canada
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Greenland
Guatemala
Honduras
Mexico
Nicaragua
Panama
St Pierre and Miquelon
USA
Oceania Australia
Fiji
French Polynesia
Kiribati
Marshall Islands
Micronesia
Nauru
New Zealand
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Samoa
Solomon Islands
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu
Central Asia Afghanistan
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Georgia
India
Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan
Maldives
Mongolia
Nepal
Pakistan
Sri Lanka
Tajikistan
Tibet
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Middle East Bahrain
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Oman
Palestine
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syria
UAE
Yemen
South and East Asia Brunei
Cambodia
China
Hong Kong
Indonesia
Japan
North Korea
South Korea
Laos
Macau
Malaysia
Myanmar
Philippines
Singapore
Taiwan
Thailand
Timor-Leste
Vietnam
Western Europe Andorra
Austria
Belgium
Denmark
England
Faroe Islands
Finland
France
Germany
Iceland
Ireland
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Scotland
Sweden
Switzerland
Wales
Southern Europe Albania
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Greece
Italy
Macedonia
Malta
Portugal
San Marino
Slovenia
Spain
Turkey
Eastern Europe Belarus
Bosnia
Czechia
Estonia
Hungary
Kosovo
Latvia
Lithuania
Moldova
Montenegro
Poland
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Slovakia
Ukraine

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