In recent years, traveling outside your local farmer’s market has been a bit more complicated; however, that doesn’t have to stop you and your family members from learning about the food staples of a new country!
One of the best places to learn about international cuisine is in your own kitchen right here in the United States! So grab some fresh vegetables, your Google search engine, and some creativity, and let’s broaden our horizons and bring new flavors and culture to your dinner table!
Eating Around the World Without Leaving Your House
There are so many bright colors and new flavors that you can bring to your taste buds when you begin to experiment with recipes and food products outside of your own little corner of the world!
If you don’t have a world market or other option near you, many food products can be purchased through an online shop or retailer, depending on the supply chain near where you live. (We also like to offer a variety of products here at the Co-Op, so be sure and check each month on what's available!) Some ingredients might be a bit harder to find, depending on where you are located, such as fresh seafood or other very culture-specific items, but for the most part, you should be able to find something that will work.
You might be surprised at how many different nutritious foods and even plant-based foods that others eat on a regular basis that you might not even of heard of!
Find International Recipes by Country
Traditional foods vary in different countries, and picking out a region to try from is one of the easiest ways to get started on your food journey! If it’s your first time trying something new or your family is just having a hard time deciding on a new recipe, you can always get out a map, blindfold a family member, and do a “pin the next destination!”
A few of the countries/regions that we enjoy the local cuisine from include
- The Middle East
- New Zealand
- Mexico City
- South America
- Southwest Asia
- British Columbia
- West Africa
- South Korea
- Eastern European Countries
- United Kingdom
Once you decide on a country or region that you want to learn more about, create something similar to a restaurant menu full of traditional dishes for a better way of really diving into the culture and food from that area!
Learn About Other Cultures With Your Family
Learning about new cultures can become one of those family traditions that everyone grows to love and passes down through each generation. International foods give you new opportunities to talk with your kids about different cultural traditions, language barriers, and other aspects of the world outside of just what they know.
Create Individual Passports
When you are creating your different foods, be sure and make this the best experience possible by adding in the fun extra of individual passports for each family member! This will teach them at an early age how to keep an open mind about traveling and how to document new experiences.
Use Pictures and Other Visuals
When learning about different cultures of the world’s population, you can enhance the learning experience by using pictures and other visuals to really bring the culture to life, especially since you are visiting from your kitchen!
One of our favorite websites to learn about different cultures is Unesco World Heritage Sites. You can click on any specific country or region and gain some new perspectives on how to bring that culture into your home! Print off some of the pictures and place them by any dishes that you create. You could even add costumes or other decorations to really bring the culture to life in your dining room!
Learn About Special Holidays and Celebrations
Most of us have traditional recipes that we always look forward to during the holiday season or other special occasions. Whether it is an old family recipe or just a sort of food that we associate with the season, it is always a delicious way to celebrate!
When learning about food culture, it’s important to include how other countries or regions use food to celebrate their own holidays or special occasions. Food is one of the only things that is truly universal. We all have to have it in order to survive, but it is so interesting how much it varies around the world!
International Food is a Great Way to Learn About the World
Learning about the staple foods throughout the world is one of the better ways to teach the next generation, even if it’s not in your budget to actually travel to each destination! They might even decide that some of the international recipes are some of their favorite foods and request them to stay in the meal rotation going forward.
Creating delicious food at home also gives you the opportunity to take into consideration any dietary restrictions your family might have without taking away the cultural experience.
We hope this gets you inspired to start your own international food night and begin learning about all of the amazing food systems out there! Find a country or region you want o learn more about, make your shopping list, see what we have each month here at the Co-Op that might work, check out your local produce section for sides and other ingredients, and, most importantly, have fun!