I love sitting for an evening meal with my family. There really is nothing better than just spending time together and talking about ours days, what has happened to us, and lately, what we are eating.
Recently, Reuben has become more interested in what he is eating, and he has decided he really enjoys helping Mummy cook. He comes and talks to me about what I’m doing and asks if ‘Reuben can do it?’ (so cute!). So I came up with an idea that would allow me to do something I love (cooking) and would encourage him to get in the kitchen with me, but to learn about cultures as well as food.
And so, culture night is born!
Culture night in our family is always looked forward to by everyone. We usually do it on a friday as I have plenty of time throughout the day to prepare bits and bobs, and we can usually do crafts throughout the week to build up to it, like colouring in flag place mats and learning the letters in the words.
What I do is write down a variety of different cuisines from around the globe on little pieces of paper and then put he pieces, folded over, into a hat and let Roo choose one. Whichever one he chooses is the cuisine we will be trying out that week. I would recommend if you want to try this out but you only feel confident with a few different cuisines, stick to those ones first and then add to the pile as you get more confident.
I make us several different dishes including sides and sometimes desserts depending on what I have made. The photo at the top of the page shows us all tucking into african food (I know that is a very diverse set of food but I didn’t want to limit myself to one region as I didn’t feel quite that confident!). We had several different dishes from various regions and we all, even Toby at 7 months, sampled them. It was great fun!! Roo loved shouting Africa, we had traditional african music in the background which made for a wonderful fun atmosphere. In the run up to the meal I printed off the enlarged flags of the countries whose cuisine we were trying and we coloured them in and used them as place mats.
As you can see from the little ticket Roo is holding above we have done a Middle Eastern culture night, but we have also tried out french, italian (Roo loved rolling the dough for calzones), turkish mezze, japanese (where we discovered Toby loved sushi) and spanish tapas.
I would really encourage you to give this a go with your family, it is an inexpensive way to interact with your kids and to get them to try out different tastes and textures.
Hope you have lots of fun!