December! We are at the finish line friends! We have cooked around the world for one full year! I think it is fair to recount where we have been…

January – Italy

February – India

March – Israel

April – Thailand

May – Vietnam

June – Germany

July – China

August – Brazil

September – Greece

October – France

November – Japan

and now, December – Ethiopia

What a ride this has been. Nearly a year ago I made a goal to cook another country’s cuisine one week each month to broaden my family’s horizons and learn about the world globally. Did you see this article last month about Brits trying to identify states in the U.S.? It seems that Americans are not the only ones with a challenged understanding of the world and what is located where on the globe. While that article proved funny, it also proved my point, and I am glad to say that my children are quicker to find many more countries on the map these days and also have gained a broader understanding of who is on the planet. That, in my book, is a great one year return on a small investment.

Along the way we have discovered unknown grocery spots, revealed secret foodie tastes among my children, talked about world religions and respect, and grew in compassion for our brothers and sisters globally.

At the end of this year I can say that greater global understanding can be found in our homes, and it’s as simple as cooking dinner.

And yes, we have finally reached the end of this great global cooking endeavor, and find ourselves in Ethiopia. In honor of Christmas and also the celebration of cooking around the world for one year, I thought it only appropriate that we end this year with a celebratory feast. This month we will cook a traditional Ethiopian Christmas dinner.

Ethiopian’s celebrate Christmas on January 7th because they follow the Julian calendar. But this feast could serve as your New Year’s Day feast, or Christmas Eve dinner, whenever you need a special celebratory feast over the next month. The interesting part for your family will come when you set the table – without utensils. That’s right – last month it was slurping, this month it’s scooping using the food itself rather than a fork and knife. The traditional feast includes Injera and Doro Wat. Injera, a flat pliable bread, is used to scoop up the Doro Wat or spicy chicken stew. Try to find some Tej or honey wine for the adults to toast your cooking achievement over the past year.

Sommer Collier over at A Spicy Perspective has a beautiful presentation of both Injera and Doro Wat with recipes for both accompanying her stunning photos. Her recipe for a slow cooker Doro Wat is especially great if you are a busy parent.

I have to say that the best Ethiopian food I have ever had was in Washington D.C. where the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ethiopia resides. Sitting on the floor using our hands to tear the Injera and scoop up wonderful aromatic dishes is a favorite memory of mine. And it is one I plan on recreating here in my home during the holiday season. Your family will love this ending to a long journey (or maybe your’s will not end?) and enjoy not only a new cuisine, but also a different way of enjoying and partaking food.

So a BIG congratulations Blended community! Now that we have helped our kids become better global citizens one dinner at a time, what will your 2014 goal be? Hmmmm…now that get’s me thinking.