Exploring International Cuisine

It may seem challenging to convince finicky children to try or eat new things. The truth is that parents may be the reason that some kids resist sampling unique recipes or unfamiliar dishes. The busy lives led often results in meals becoming more on-the-go and born from convenience rather than conceived from culinary inspiration. The best approach to raising children that will experiment with food could surround sharing the cultural history of particular cuisine and exposing young family members to the world beyond their own.

Chantal Royer is a world-traveler and self-proclaimed "foodie"; she is an explorer of sorts who hunts for unique ethnic cuisine in some popular US cities. Instilling this sense of adventure in children starts at an early age, and is most effective when the parents or other family members are also willing to try new things. Give young children a favorite international cookbook and tell them to pick something out- something new for the whole family to try! This is not only a great way to introduce new foods on their terms, but can also create a vested interest in the food being prepared at home and expands on the child's knowledge of other cultures and ingredients.

If challenged at the prospect of cooking every night after a long day at the office, consumers may want to augment this by sampling at available ethnic eateries once a week. Ordering take-out from the local Thai place, or ordering in from an authentic Italian restaurant can also provide a way for children to see the world through the foods eaten at home. Circulate local menus among members and ask for suggestions that can be shared and served family-style. Order a variety of smaller plates that will provide an array of options to suit various preferences. Serve these meals in authentic ways, such as eating Chinese cuisine with chopsticks or seated on the floor using pillows for seating when sharing Japanese food. This could also serve as encouragement to get family members to actively participate in family meal-time instead of the constant battle faced daily in getting everyone to take time out to sit down, engage, and share a meal together.  
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