Cooking together

My middle daughter is a self-proclaimed chef. She enjoys being in the kitchen, wearing her apron, and helping in whatever way she can. I think to some degree all kids love to get in the kitchen and have new experiences with utensils and to see what Mommy or Daddy actually does with that mysterious stove!

It’s to this end that you can so easily increase the diversity of your home.  A few weeks ago I talked about the first step in diversifying your home, you can read that here. But its time for the second step and I applaud those of you who have taken to the library or used book stores to discover new books and images for expanding your child’s experience with race and ethnicity. Next, head to the kitchen!

There are so many ways to begin this process. There are several books and websites on what school aged children eat for lunch and that definitely can be fun. But I would encourage you to find a country that your child has interest in, or rather interest them in a region and then zero in on a specific country and begin to learn together about that country and what they eat. You will easily find recipes for your country’s cuisine and can then gather ingredients with your youngster and cook together.

Its helpful in the process to talk about the different ingredients you may be using. If you are experimenting with Vietnamese Pho, explain how the noodle differs from say the pasta used in making spaghetti and meatballs. If you are making a dish with curry powder, smell it, look at the color, talk with them about the importance of the flavor to the dish of said country. There are so many ways to learn, expand and diversify your child’s life with food.

If you have friends from other countries, invite them to ‘teach’ your family how to cook a dish from their country. My Korean friends have taught me much over the years in cooking Korean food – even step-by-step photos and instructions! Sit at your friends’ feet and be a learner in the kitchen. In doing this you will model for your child that you not only do not know everything, but you are willing to learn.

A specific note to Transracial Adoptive Parents: Learn to cook the food from your child’s heritage.  We eat a lot of Croatian, Swedish and German food in our house. After we adopted our daughter we learned to cook Korean and Jamaican food. It is essential and adds to our daughter feeling valued for what she brings to the family. Here is a comment heard often around our table, “This is the food of my people – but your people are my people too because we are family.”

So – diversify your home this week and try a new recipe. If you find something delectable come back and leave a link!

Picture from Getty Images