One of the most interesting parts of traveling for me has always been studying and experiencing a culture’s gastronomy. From cheese making in Wisconsin to street food in Berlin, there are so many aspects of global culinary culture(s) that fascinate me. As a traveling parent, I’ve definitely tried to help my daughter experience different cultural foods to the fullest. Here are some of my recommendations for raising global foodies:
• Cook global recipes at home. If you’re planning a trip, prepare recipes from that culture with your kids. Involve your kids in the entire process, from researching the recipes, to grocery shopping, to prepping, to cooking, to serving.
• Eat authentic cuisine while traveling. My rule of thumb is to eat where the locals go. Sometimes this takes a bit of research, but most of the time you can figure out where to get good, authentic eats simply by asking around. Encourage your kids to try whatever the local specialties are.
• Teach your kids to talk/express themselves about food. This may sound strange, but many kids (adults, even) don’t have the vocabulary to talk about food. Teach your kids developmentally appropriate vocabulary for talking about food (salty, sweet, unctuous, complex, pairings/foods or drinks that go together, etc.) and encourage them to do so. If your child is not much of a talker, encourage him or her to express their ideas about food in whatever medium they enjoy (painting, poetry, music, photography, etc.)
• Host a global foodie party. When you return from your trip, host a party where you serve cuisine from the countries/cultures you visited. Involve your kids in the party planning and execution, and encourage them to share their thoughts about the food with their guests. If they’ve created artwork about the food, put it on display. If they like talking about food, Have your kids invite some of their friends, too, and make it an inter-generational soirée!
• Have fun! Food is meant to be enjoyed. Keep the foodie experience(s) fun and enjoyable for your kids.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that by helping your kids discover global cuisines, you’ll learn an incredible amount about culture and food, too. Enjoy the journey.
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