Last week in Raising a Global Eater: Part I, we explored some fun ways to encourage travel and culinary curiosity in your family.
This week we conclude with some more creative ideas for sharing a world of flavors and diverse cultures with travelers big and small:
Be a Paper Chef
Your pre-school kids will love the World Snacks series of books, by Amy Wilson Sanger and Bee-Bim Bop (pictured above) by Linda Sue Park and Grace Lin. Check out the TIME feature “What the World Eats” with your older kids, and take a fascinating look into what other families around the world eat every day. Mom and dad will love the Gastrokids cookbook, and The Silver Spoon for Children – a kid-friendly version of the Italian “Joy of Cooking”. Slightly older children will enjoy The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids, and everyone will delight in reading Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Adventure, an international recipe book and chronicle of family travels and adventures, written by renowned chef Rick Bayless and his teenage daughter.
Talk About Where Food Comes From
Start with foods your family already knows. How is their favorite chocolate made? Where are cacao beans grown? What part of Italy does pizza come from? What is fair trade and organic farming? What are the benefits and compromises of eating seasonally and locally (even if you are cooking international dishes)? Use World Map Placemats so you can point out the countries or states you discuss at mealtimes. Take your kids on field trips to chocolate factories, farms and cheese makers to bring their foods to life and learn something in the process.
Keep a Travel Recipes journal – have a favorite restaurant write down a recipe for every place you travel to, and illustrate with your child’s photos of the favorite dish. This eclectic collection of recipes will be a very unique keepsake to look back on when they’re all grown up! We love the Kolo Essex Travel Book for this. It comes in kid-friendly colors like blue and pink, but will also withstand many trips and the test of time.
Try and recreate favorite dishes when you return home, to keep the memories alive. Seattle culinary student and aspiring chef, Tom Alfarozierten talks about the impression living and travelling abroad has left on his children (ages 10 and 6), who still have fond memories of favorite global foods:
“Both of them are able to remember eating something or trying something they really loved while we were in France, i.e. poulet roti, croissants, ratatouille. The trick is replicating some of those flavors. In fact today I took a shot at making Gallos Pintos similar to what we had in Cost Rica and for the most part I hit on it so they liked it.”
Do Dinner and a Movie
Go global for movie night and pair a family-friendly foreign flick with food to match. Try Ratatouille, Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Chocolat or The Red Balloon with French food; The Blue Umbrella with Indian food and The Lion King with African food. Stay tuned on hiptravelmama.com for some great global movie night menus.
Learn the Language and the Food, Before You Go
Use mealtimes to teach your kids basic words, phrases and regional dishes in the language of your upcoming destination. Locals will be thrilled at your cute little ones making such an effort, even if they can only master “please” and “thank you”! We love to use the fun BYKI application to teach the whole family the basics of a new language. BYKI is available in over 70 languages and you can download it onto your iPhone here or grab a free version for your computer.
Follow BYKI’s language specific Twitter feeds for word of the day, and more language learning tips and tricks.
Hungry for more? We’ll be featuring some fun family dining inspiration and creative menus over the next months, all with an international flavor. As always, we’d love to hear from you – we’re already inspired by some of your amazing journeys and adventurous eating experiences!
–Fiona VanAlstyne is a Hip Travel Mama contributor and Luxe Food&Wine editor.
If you are passionate about food like us, stop by Wanderlust and Lipstick each week for WanderFood Wednesday, where you will find amazing pictures and food that will inspire you to travel the world and bring the world’s cuisine a bit closer in your own kitchen!
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