How to introduce kids to Latin food
When it came to teaching me about Latin food, my mom was sometimes a bit too pushy and ended up turning me off from a lot of my now-favorite foods because of it. To be honest, it's not the easiest thing in the world to introduce your kids to the great food of our culture. Children's palates are different. Even mildly spicy food can be just far too spicy for young ones while other food can just look plain yucky. And yes, I just said yucky—because that's exactly the word your kids will use when you put something in front of them that just doesn't look appetizing! But luckily there ARE a few things you can do to introduce your kids to Latin food without turning them off. Here's how.
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1. At the restaurant: Take the kids to a Latin restaurant and read the menu, carefully, together. Let them ask questions and explain to them what each dish mean and what it may have. You can even talk to the waiter and ask them what they recommend. Don't let your children fall for the kid's meal trap. Instead, offer to share your dish with them or get a few dishes for the whole family and let them try each one. Share the experience and keep talking about why they like something, why they don't like something else. Keep the conversation going at home to get them more comfortable with the food.
2. At the grocery store: Go into the produce department of your local grocery store and, with the help of your kids, pick out some fruits and veggies for the whole family to enjoy. As you start picking things out, explain to them the foods you've already had at home and some of the ones they haven't tried yet. Let them touch the food and get a feel for it. Mention how it can (or has) been prepared and then ask them to pick the 3 that look the best and take them home to experiment. Your child will have a lot more confidence in the food or ingredient if they actually get to help pick it out.
3. At the dinner table: Well, actually, BEFORE you get to the dinner table—here is where your teaching skills really come in handy. I don't know how you learned to make the delicious recipes you now cook for your family, but I learned from my mother and grandmother. Make sure that, next time you're preparing a meal for the whole family, you have your kids right there in the kitchen helping out. Let them taste the food as you're cooking, let them help you stir something or even set the table. They will develop a pride for the finished product, you can help them get used to the food or even have input when it comes to the seasonings and spices, all while teaching them all about the Latin food of your country. They'll definitely not be able to resist trying a dish that they had a hand in making.
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How are you planning to teach your kids about Latin food?
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