She loves to get her kids involved in the kitchen and even gets them to try global cuisine.
She is a mother of nine kids including twin girls who are just over a year old.
One of the things our family has enjoyed doing together is learning about, cooking (or trying to), and eating foods and dishes from different countries. This has been a wonderful way to learn about other cultures and expose our children to different tastes. Sometimes we will cook a dish from a country we have been studying, other times I will find an unusual fruit or vegetable at the store and we will have to figure out how to prepare it, and sometimes we splurge and go to a restaurant which specializes in a specific cuisine.
Here are some ideas about how to get started exploring foods from around the world:
- Start young! We give everything to everyone, even our 1 year old twin girls. (Unless it is super spicy.) Eating a wide variety of foods and textures helps to curb picky eating and sometimes the foods we try from other cultures are very different from what we’re used to. More than once my children have loved things that I have barely choked down.
- Explore different grocery stores. Many smaller, independent grocery stores cater to specific elasticities. They are a great place to explore new foods. Two of our children are Vietnamese and so we frequent the local Vietnamese market fairly often. It sometimes takes a sense of adventure, since signs and labels are not always in English. But they are also a treasure trove of foods that are out of the ordinary. Beware, though! You’re children may find that they love things that are somewhat expensive. My children all love, love, love starfruit. But at $2.00 each, it is a rare treat.
- Use your library. Libraries are filled with cookbooks for every type of cuisine imaginable. Check some out and look through them with your children. Let them pick a few things to try making. Not everything you try may be a hit, but sometimes you discover a dish that everyone loves which you may have never tried otherwise. By checking the books out you have the freedom to return those books that were “not favorites”.
- Every so often splurge and go out to eat. Because we have 9 children, this is not something we do very often, but enjoy when we do. Sometimes it doesn’t have to be a big budget item. Falafel sandwiches at a Middle Eastern sandwich shop are inexpensive. If you’re not ready to commit to an entire meal, sometimes you can find bakeries or delis which specialize in a certain cuisine. We’ve tried Indian sweets at an Indian/Pakistani bakery, steamed filled buns from the Vietnamese bakery, and Polish sausages from a Polish deli.
These ideas are just a beginning to all that you can do to incorporate world cuisine into your family’s meals. If you model adventurousness in your eating habits, your children will pick-up on it, and by including them in choosing they will be more likely to join in on the fun.
I don’t know about you but this post has inspired me to go about and bring some different foods into our house. Maybe we will have to try some dragon fruit or even some coconut milk.
If you enjoyed this guest post and would like to make a post about getting your kids involved in the kitchen, then let me know.