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Latino Food Lovin'

Posted by Patience on September 24, 2010 at 8:10 AM in Bicultural FamiliesEating
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My husband and his family are from Nicaragua. Growing up in Miami I was surrounded by various Latino cultures and amazing food. Beside morning trips to the Cuban bakery for pastelitos on the way to school, I didn't venture too far off my Americano roots.

Then enters my husband in to my life at the tender age of fifteen. I'll never forget a night I was invited to dinner, the meal being served was la lengua (cow tongue). While this was a special occasion and dish, the teenager in me was freaking out. I was polite and tried some, it wasn't bad but I couldn't wrap my mind around the visual. What I did gain over the years was a deep love for amazing food from all different cultures.

When we travel back to Miami, food is all I can think about. I can taste the Ropa Vieja with black beans and rice or Carne Asada. I dream of such meals, it is almost what I miss most of my old home. Fast forward sixteen years, dragging kids of my own to a new Cuban restaurant that opened in town. My mouth watering for croquetas and yuca frita, for a medianoche sandwich to follow.

"We are going where?" Jack says. His eyes are already making kid food judgments.
"We are going to the new Cuban place, KennTico. I think you'll like it!" I replied.

Pouting and sulking continued until the appetizer came out. His entire face changed when he tasted the ham croquetas.
"Mom, this is really good. I change my mind, this was a good idea." he said.
I realized consistent exposure to different foods helps tremendously. I so want to give in to the macaroni and cheese, chicken nugget lifestyle required and provided everywhere in kid world. It only takes one bite, one new taste to change it all, even for this fifteen year old french fry lovin' girl.

Check out the new Kitchen Explorers blog for more kid cooking goodness.

What do you do to get kids to try new foods? Share your tips and tricks in the comments.


Amber writes...

My 5-year-old constantly surprises me by what she will and won't eat. For instance, I made these fried potatoes that my husband and I loved, but she refused to even touch. But her favourite kind of sushi is octopus. I would think fried potatoes = kid-friendly and octopus sushi = not kid friendly, but what do I know?

So I guess that I just try to be flexible and patient, and not stress too much about what my kids will and won't eat. And when they decide they want something exotic, I try to track it down for them. I hope that if I can avoid making food a Big Thing, then they'll be more flexible and open. Maybe not now, but someday.

Homa writes...

I love that story. Your enthusiasm for the Cuban food is the best encouragement for your kids - and it's usually contagious. Life's more fun when everyday experiences - like dinner - can feel like an adventure together.

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