Two of my kids’ favorite subjects are geography and culture. Both go hand-in-hand really, since you can hardly have one without the other. My children especially love exploring different people, traditions, languages, and lands. And one of the best ways to do so is through food.
Latin American food is, naturally, one enormously fun lesson because although they are often mistakenly lumped together as a result of their shared language, Latin American countries are so diverse in their traditions…and foods! Think you know what a tortilla is? Well, think again. The Mexicans prefer corn (or flour!), while the Cubans love egg. And what about empanadas? Well, they certainly differ depending on where you are in South America. To find tons of Latin recipes to explore in your own kitchen, visit Mamiverse Food.
But exploring countries and cultures through food is not restricted to our southern neighbors. In fact, if your kids are struggling to remember the countries in Europe, why not make a food map? Try making or eating dishes unique to each country, and then labeling them on the map to help your children remember locations. French fries and pizza, anyone?
Your family can create its own tradition by eating out at a different ethnic restaurant every few weeks or once a month. Or if you are on a budget, why not consider whipping something up in your own kitchen? Just plan a World Travelers Night every week or two and make recipes from different countries. Pair these culinary excursions with children’s literature to help reinforce the country being studied. For example, perhaps you are in an Italian mood and you whip up some nice pasta for dinner. Follow this up with the books Who Was Leonardo da Vinci by Roberta Edwards, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola, or Priceless Gifts: A Tale from Italy by Martha Hamilton.
We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite children’s books based on foods from around the world. We hope you’ll take advantage of these engaging stories to help your child travel the globe from the safety of their own kitchen!
Read Related: Recipes For Fun: Seven Inspired Kids’ Cookbooks
The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook by Deanna F. Cook and Michael P. Kline
With recipes for more than 75 ethnic dishes from around the world, children ages 7 and up will enjoy learning about other cultures with this tasty tome.
Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz and Meilo So
Explore Chinese culture through yummy recipes for golden New Year’s dumplings, tasty moon cakes and more. This book includes additional activities and traditional tales.
Kids Around the World Cook!: The Best Foods and Recipes from Many Lands by Arlette N. Braman
From Ethiopia to Japan to India and even Egypt, this book takes your child on a journey across the globe with a fun assortment of trivia and lots of easy-to-make recipes.
The International Cookbook for Kids by Matthew Locricchio
With and more than 100 full-color photographs and illustrations, this cookbook contains 60 classic recipes from Italy, France, China, and Mexico.
Freaky Foods from Around the World / Platillos Sorprendentes de Todo el Mundo by Ramona Moreno Winner and Luis Borsan
This bilingual picture book is more on the exotic side, sharing foods that are not typically enjoyed here in America. These recipes require an open mind and an adventurous spirit!
Happy edible learning!