Take a Trip Around the World… in 7 Courses
One of our favorite ways to dive into international cultures is in the kitchen. Whipping up tasty dishes using ingredients with a global flair is easier to do than you think. So turn on the oven and start prepping for a seven continents dinner you can easily make with your little chefs. Here’s how…
The First Course…
When you think about your favorite foreign dishes, you might put banh mi from Vietnam, Argentinian empanadas or a North African couscous combo on your list. Diving into the origins of each of these traditional dishes is a good place to start your global culinary tour. Take the banh mi sandwich for example. The crispy cucumbers you’ll always find on this sandwich are native to Southeast Asia; whereas the fresh baguette they go on is a French creation. As for empanadas, the potatoes, peppers and beans you might find tucked inside this doughy treat, alongside slow-simmered meats, are a staple South American crop. And the wheat husks used to make couscous? You guessed it. They come from North Africa.
As you brainstorm your globetrotting menu, check out this amazing interactive food origins map that shows where some of the world’s most popular grains, veggies, fruits and legumes got their start. Then watch for them in our suggested recipes below, or use them as a starting point for creating your own global smorgasbord to serve to your hungry family.
The Main Dish….
Any way you plan it, you can’t go wrong with a 7 course, 7 continent dinner, and its infinite possibilities. Just hit each continent at some point during the meal, and by the time dessert is served, you will have circled the globe without leaving the table. Find some fantastic kid-friendly international recipes to inspire you here, or follow our lead with this easy menu. Here’s what we’re having for dinner tonight… prepare for takeoff!
- Appetizer—It’s easy to start with something familiar, so put North America down for an appetizer. We’re capitalizing on Fall and pumpkins, a gourd that’s origins are local, with Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus . Psst… did you know, some indigenous cultures on the North American continent used dried pumpkin strips to weave mats? True story!
- Soup—Then it’s time to head south of the border with a Mexican Posole . Typically made with pork and hominy (maize is our original ingredient here), this hearty stew is a traditional Christmas Eve dish for many families in Mexico. But what your kids will probably love most are the toppings they get to pick and choose themselves. Garnish it with everything from limes and radishes, to avocados and cilantro to bring out the flavor and personalize it for your palate!
- Salad—Figs and hazelnuts, hailing from Europe, inspired this course. And this delish Fig, Hazelnut and Goat Cheese Salad recipe is quick to throw together and light too, so you’ve got plenty of room to gobble up the soon-to-come main course.
- Side—Ethiopian Alecha is packed with veggies, making it a healthy and hearty side dish for your virtual tour. Traditionally eaten over Lent, it features some of the continent’s original veggies, carrots and cabbage, not to mention turmeric and ginger, both of which are frequently found in traditional African cooking. Now it’s on to the main course!
- Entrée—We’ll journey northeast into Asia to find the main dish for our gastronomical adventure. Capitalize on native sugar snap peas, coconuts and rice found on this continent with a crowd-pleasing easy Green Curry recipe. Although curry flavors vary from area to area, there are four common spices you’ll find in curry paste: turmeric, coriander, cumin and chilies. After you’ve had your fill, check out this amazing history of the world’s oldest known curry, from the BBC.
- Dessert –The sixth continent we’ll visit is almost making it too easy, since macadamia nuts are an Australian original. If something chocolate is what you’re looking for, try these Coconut Chocolate Parfaits with Macadamia Nut Caramel Sauce. Or take it easy with a simple White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie that’s sure to please everyone at your table.
- Drinks—Here’s the easy part to round out your virtual journey, not to mention your menu… throw ice in your favorite drink and you’ve hit Antarctica for the finish!
As you jet set around the dinner table, don’t forget to pull out the map and track your progress along the way. While you’re at it, check out other fun and fascinating facts about each country you cover too. Simple discussion around language, currency, government, folklore and of course, cuisine, will help cultivate curiosity and learning in your kids. And as always, bring play into your culinary adventure by having the kids pull out their World Village Playset China Adventure Kit. They can follow Joe and Emma through the streets of a Chinese town using the wooden puzzle pieces, story cards and detailed play mat, while you whip up other global adventures in the kitchen!
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