Last Updated on September 19, 2021 by Chef Mireille
Cooking World Cuisine Recipes with your kids is one of the best ways to inspire cultural learning in the kitchen. Cooking international recipes with your kids not only teaches an important life skill, but also reinforces geography, history and math skills in the kitchen.
Are you looking for a way to get your kids excited about learning?
What’s more exciting? Reading in some history book or casually talking about it while you cook the meal together as a family? Let your kids be the sponges they are and absorb knowledge while having fun in the kitchen.
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Now many kids are home and not all school districts have online learning. Therefore, your kids are at home not learning anything new. So let’s add some history and geography learning to meal preparation.
History & Geography in the Kitchen
Using my recipe index of over 1000 recipes from every region of the world is a great way to get delicious food on the table and teach your kids about different countries.
Bring learning into the kitchen and let’s Explore the World in the Kitchen.
How do I do that?
Many of my posts include lots of geographical, historical and cultural context for the recipe. Use this for talking points about the country as you prepare the recipe together with your kids.
Once you decide on what recipe you are going to make, have your kids show you where the country is on a map or globe. Older kids can read more about the country online. Ask each of your kids to tell you one interesting fact about the country by dinnertime.
To help you with this task, I have pulled some of my recipes that include the most historical and cultural context, Check out the recipes below for some inspiration and practice Cultural Learning in the Kitchen with world recipes.
Not only will your kids learn about history, geography and different cultures, it might help the picky eaters to be a little less so.
Some of you may know that I teach culinary classes in an after school program to kids. One thing I have noticed after several years of doing this is that when the kids have participated in cooking the food themselves, they are more willing to try new and different foods.
In these challenging times, let’s try to help the picky kids be a little more adaptable. By letting them help out in the kitchen, it can also reinforce math skills. Practice fractions with measuring cups and spoons.
However, before we get to the recipes let’s talk about how to adapt them in these challenging times.
You may find a great recipe you would love to include on your menu, but find you are missing an ingredient or two.
Now (2020) is not the time to be strict about authenticity. Maybe a recipe calls for raz el hanout. However you don’t have any but you do have garam masala. These are very similar spice blends that you can substitute as needed.
Now let’s get to the 10 recipes to inspire historical learning!
Food and History with Recipes
Here are 10 recipes with much historical, geographical and/or cultural information to add value and context to the recipes. It is a way for you to reinforce these skills with your kids while cooking in the kitchen.
Mealie Cakes - African Cornmeal Biscuits
Learn about Lesotho - the country within a country and try these delicious Gluten Free biscuits that compliment any soup or stew.
Bojo - Suriname Style Gluten Free Cassava Cake
Learn about the only Dutch speaking country in South America and one of the most diverse countries in the entire world. Explore Suriname Amazonia. This delicious Gluten Free cake made from cassava (yuca) will also become a family fave!
Kerala Syrian Okra Curry
Kerala is one of the most diverse state in India with every religion including Judaism having a part of the cuisine and culture. Enjoy this Vegetarian curry as part of an Indian meal.
Rogan Josh is one of the most complex curries of India, utilizing many spices. Kashmir is known for their spices and their volatile history of war with Pakistan. With it's proximity to Russia and China, there are many international influences in Kashmir.
Xin Xin de Galinha - Brazilian Chicken in Peanut Shrimp Sauce
With this recipe, you will learn about the Bahia region of Brazil who brought the world many things including capoeira.
Senegalese Sweet Potato Fritters
Did you know that Senegal has a large Vietnamese population as they were both colonized by the French. With this recipe, you can learn all about it!
Viking Brown Bread - Scandinavia's Soda Bread
The people of Scandinavia had to learn to be self sufficient as their harsh climate and culture had cut them off from the rest of the world for a long time, long after the rest of the world had become literate and "civilized". This simple rustic bread can be enjoyed for breakfast or with soup for lunch or dinner.
Cunape - Bolivian Gluten Free Cheese Bread
Bolivia has much cultural diversity with its native populations. Learn about the people who speak Quechua with this light and airy Gluten Free cheese bread, similar to Brazil's Pao de Queijo.
Nicaraguan Pinolillo & Maduros
Nicaragua is at the crossroads on North and Central America. Learn about this small country while enjoying a plantain dessert and chocolate drink.
Basque Stewed Chicken
Basque is the region that borders France and Spain. They speak their own language. Learn all about it with this family friendly chicken recipe.
Since I also write about travel, here are a few of my travel posts that will also give you and your kids additional historical and cultural knowledge.
Need more culinary inspiration? Check out the Recipe Index with over 1500 Recipes from Around the World with lots of Vegetarian 🥕🍆🍅and Gluten Free Recipes!
Very nice post about the food and history of recipes and how you involve kids in it.
thank you – yes kids can learn so much more than how to cook in the kitchen
What a great breakdown and history refresh! Thanks for sharing this info.
yes now is the time to bring history into the kitchen!
Completely agree that now is not the time be strict about authenticity, will definitely be tuning in to you live! 🙂
yes now is the time to become the mothers of invention and substitute as necessary.
These are great ideas. Thanks!
Your welcome. I hope it is useful to your family in these hard times.
What a great way to incorporate learning and cooking in these challenging times! Thank you for sharing!
Your welcome. I hope you find it helpful.
Informative and useful post Mireille. With families all together, its best time to teach the kids other life skills that they do not learn at school, e.g. cooking and helping in the kitchen. I invoked my kids at a very young age to help in the kitchen and I too am an example as I use to help my mum from age 6 as we were a huge family. My cooking passion is born from there. Even if parents cannot cook elaborate dishes, its fun to just open the links and read and discuss about different cuisines and cultures.
Agreed however the recipes selected here are not very elaborate so that most of them the kids can probably whip up on their own, depending on the age of the child.
You have such an amazing variety of recipes from all over the world in your blog dear .. Great job !
thank you – yes I think they are useful to not only learn cooking but about peoples around the world
Your Post is very informative and all your recipes are exciting. Teaching kids cooking can be very rewarding. It’s teaching them to cook and enjoy a range of foods. I find that kids are so willing to try dishes they have helped cook.
This is an ideal time, as we have time. Time to explain and make these dishes instead of running around.
yes now there is nothing else to do so you can have the time to educate while cooking a meal together
I don’t have any kids, but this strikes me as a very sensible approach. I still remember my mother teaching me fractions with after-eight mints – of course, I got to eat the bits of minty chocolate if I got the fraction right!
oh I would have loved learning fractions that way 🙂
Anne| Craving Something Healthy
I LOVE this post so much! Cooking covers every subject out there – history, geography, math, science, reading – and as a dietitian, I always tell moms that getting kids involved in the kitchen and having family meals pays off in all areas of life!
I couldn’t agree with your more. So many parents focus on math, business and sciences, but cooking is a life skill that will carry them forward. I have met college aged kids who couldn’t boil a potato. When they are on their own, this means they are spending so much more money eating out for meals that can have serious financial repercussions for them. Also when they help prepare the meals, they also become less picky and willing to eat healthier foods.
At this time when we can’t travel, it’s great to travel virtually with recipes from different countries and cultures! You’ve certainly inspired me to widen my home cooking range.
I hope you do. Right now it’s about celebrating the little pleasure in life. We can at least travel on our plates, even if we cannot get on a plane right now. So what’s the first globally inspired meal next on the menu?
What great ideas for homeschooling right now, thanks!
Thank you Stephanie – I hope you find them useful!