A family cultural night at a local school inspired Deanna F. Cook’s newest kids’ cookbook, which features dishes — and and kid chefs — from diverse backgrounds.
One of the best ways to teach our children to appreciate cultural diversity is through tasting and cooking foods from around the world. No matter where we are from or where we live now, we all have this in common: everyone eats. With so many global ingredients available in grocery stores for preparing all kinds of dishes at home, the kitchen becomes a fun place to teach kids about inclusivity.
I was inspired to write Cooking Class Global Feast! after going to a family cultural night at my local elementary school in Massachusetts. Kids and families set up booths with posters, money, souvenirs, and foods from their countries of heritage. Many of the children from that school gathering are featured in my book, cooking and sharing stories and recipes from their diverse backgrounds. Malia makes coconut bread from the Kingdom of Tonga where her ancestors are from. Coco makes fried rice and shares her family’s recipe for the Korean condiment kimchi. Zadie shows how to make banana punch from Jamaica, Matthew toasts cashews from Costa Rica, and Song make banh mi sandwiches (her dad is from Vietnam).
From breakfast to dessert, each chapter has a fun visual chart of foods to try. In the one pictured here, kids are encouraged to taste fruits around the world — like star fruit and papaya!
They can keep track of what they’ve tried in the food passport included with the book and discover flags of different countries with world flag stickers. There are even flash cards that teach them how say “I’m hungry” in many different languages. You can download the food passport and language cards here for a sneak peek.
Invite your kids into the kitchen to try these recipes for banana punch and fried rice from Cooking Class Global Feast! And if they’re hungry for more, look for the November issue of ChopChop Magazine to find an additional sampling of recipes from the book. ChopChop teaches kids to cook from scratch with wholesome ingredients, and it’s another great resource for helping kids to develop an appreciation for food, health, cooking, and culture.
Banana Punch (Jamaica)
Makes 4 servings
This refreshing smoothie will cool you off and fill you up on a hot day. Bananas grow in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean, and this recipe is a great way to use up ripe ones. The riper the banana, the sweeter the shake!
- 2 ripe bananas
- 1 cup vanilla ice cream
- 3 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Slice the bananas and put them in a blender.
- Add the ice cream, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Put the lid on the blender, then blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses and enjoy!
Fried Rice (China)
Makes 4 servings
If you have leftover rice from last night’s dinner, turn it into tonight’s side dish with this Chinese restaurant favorite. Make sure to use cold rice instead of warm rice so that the ﬁnished dish is not mushy.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 3 cups cooked and chilled white rice
- 3 large eggs
- 1½–2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Heat 1½ tablespoons of the vegetable oil and all of the sesame oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat.
- Slowly and carefully (to avoid being splattered by hot oil!) add the scallions, peas, carrot, ginger, and garlic. Sauté the vegetables for a minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the rice and heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Break the eggs into a small bowl. Beat them with a fork or small whisk.
- Push the rice to the edges of the pan and pour the remaining ½ tablespoon vegetable oil into the center. Add the eggs and stir until they are cooked and scrambled.
- Stir the eggs into the rice until everything is mixed up. Add the soy sauce and heat for another minute or two, stirring often. Serve and pass additional soy sauce.