As kids grow up, they become more curious and willing to explore. If you're a parent, take advantage of this stage to open their minds to cultural diversity. The world is a big place with many walks of life, and what ties many families together across cultures is often what's on the menu.
Food is a wonderful place to start. It goes beyond language barriers to teach us the characteristics of new cultures. For your kids, it builds their knowledge of unique flavors, different ethnicities, even geography — the countries where foods come from. Here are three ideas to nurture your child's appreciation for world foods.
Research New Foods Together
Your child can be a part of discovering new meals. Have them get in touch with friends from other cultures or backgrounds and ask about their favorite foods. It's also easy to search online for recipes — encourage your child to browse with you to decide what to try next. Use keywords for breakfast, lunch or dinner around the world, and be on the lookout for tags that indicate kid-friendly meals.
Watching videos of families in other countries preparing their meals can also interest and engage your child. They'll learn the visual aspects of what international foods look like and the names of the dishes that are often in other languages.
Involve Your Child in Food Prep
New cuisines come with different styles, ingredients and appearances, which children might be a little nervous to try at first. One way to familiarize your child is by cooking these new meals together.
Kids can participate in tasks like measuring ingredients, sprinkling spices and stirring bowls while you handle cutting herbs and moving pots and pans on hot cooking surfaces. Children will view their creations with more pride, which helps when it's time for the first bite of that new thing on their plate.
Make an “Around the World” Dinner With Your Family
New cultures and cuisines can often be found right around the corner. If you have friends or neighbors from a different heritage, give them a call and ask for a recipe to one of their favorite dishes. They'll love the opportunity to share their experiences and traditions about the food they grew up with, and you can teach your child about many cultures. You'll be able to connect with neighbors while demonstrating to your young one that values between close family and friends are largely the same around the world.
San-J Cooking Sauces Bring World Flavors to Your Kitchen
San-J offers a wide variety of cooking sauces using flavors from Asian cuisine, including Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Each includes a hint of San-J Tamari Soy Sauce, made using family traditions that date back over 200 years to Japan. These products are a great way to enjoy a family meal together, and we recommend browsing our recipes to discover authentic dishes you can make with tamari.
Whichever way you choose to diversify the cuisine at your table, it's a valuable opportunity for your child's developing mind. Early cultural awareness can sprout an excitement to learn that lasts a lifetime.