My daughter loves papusas. They’re an El Salvadoran food that we ate on a trip a few years ago. I wanted to make them this week, but I could not think of the name. I could think of empanada and momo (a Nepali food), which are also stuffed pocket-type foods like the papusa, but I had to Google “El Salvadoran foods” to get the name and recipe.
While leafing through food names in my head, I realized that many cultures have a version of stuffed dough. Papusas have a cornmeal dough, but many have a wheat or rice flour dough. Momos can have meat or vegetable fillings, but fillings could be many, many things.
It’s a good chance to discuss differences. Now in this case, you’re talking about stuffed dough. But, if you start with the differences in dough, fillings and cooking methods, you can end up with a discussion about differences in people as well. It’s easy to prefer what you’re familiar with. But, the others are also just stuffed dough, and you’ll probably find that you like some of them a lot if you investigate.
While you’re at it, you can throw in a little geography lesson. What climates grow corn, wheat, rice, potatoes and beans? What type of land do you need to raise cows, chickens, goats or lamb?
Of course, there’s no need to be indirect about the differences in people either. People come in infinite variety and kids remind us of that every time they point out something new in a too-loud voice at the grocery store.
Now, how many variations of stuffed dough can you name? Here are a few to get you thinking:
Dim Sum dumplings
Natchitoches meat pies
(First posted in March 2012)