Summertime is the perfect time to make memories in the kitchen with the family. The stress and time constraints during the school year can limit your ability to get creative. Take your family on a world adventure this summer cooking around the world!
A few summers ago, a book inspired me to take my family on a culinary trip around the world. I dusted off our passports (made from Pinterest), we picked a couple places we wanted to learn about and began a culinary adventure. Not only is this is an exciting, adventurous way to explore different cultures and traditions, but you get to sneak in some math, geography, and teach some basic cooking skills, too!
Plan Where You Want to Go
Looking at a globe or atlas, decide as a family where you want to go. Choose 4 – 6 countries, which is manageable. Consider picking a country from your family heritage. My family is from Belgium and my husband’s family is Swedish. I love asking the grandmothers for favorite family recipes to try. This is a great way to tie the generations together.
This is a family activity so get your kids in the kitchen. (activities based on age & ability) Teach them how to read a recipe and about measurements. Allow them to assist in the planning, shopping, cutting/chopping, mixing, stirring, and assembly of the dishes.
Some of our favorites: (Note – We do Spanish frequently so it isn’t on the list)
India – Naan bread, coconut curry chicken, hummus, Mango Lassi
Italy – Lasagna, meatballs (from scratch), garlic bread
Britain – Scones, beef Wellington, quiche, or a high tea in the afternoon with small sandwiches & cookies
Japan – Chicken teriyaki, dumplings (purchased), veggie sushi rolls (make or purchased)
Vietnamese – Noodle bowls, spring rolls
Sweden – Swedish meatballs, potato pancakes, Swedish pancakes (similar to crepes)
France – Ratatouille, crepes, Coq Au Vin (one-pot dish)
Other resources: Global Table Adventure
Have Fun on Your Travels
Explore local markets
Take a trip to your local authentic markets. My kids love to see the different type candies and fruits.
Make it More than “just” dinner
The more authentic the dinning experience, the more your kids are going to love it. Get creative and resourceful by using what is around the house and have your children help create it.
Set the table
Set the table in the countries colors or decorations. Consider using the country’s flag in the room.
Set the tone
Music is the best way to set the mood. You can find music online through the various music streams, National Geographic, and the local library is perfect resource.
Learn the language
Search online to find a few words in the native language that you can practice throughout the day.
Dress the part
Research the native dress of that culture.
Invite friends, relatives, or a neighbor who would love to share their country’s traditions and recipes over for dinner.
I picked Thursday as our Travel Day. The events/activities of the day were based on the chosen country – easy crafts, read books about the country and listen to traditional music from the library, and sometimes we watched a video that took place or was about the country (Netflix or Amazon). If you need some ideas, I have complied great resources on Pinterest.
Use these summer days to bring the family together in the kitchen. You may even discover some new family favorites!