If your family travel budget doesn’t allow you to travel around the world to taste testing global cuisines, head to your local library and check out some books about food from different countries.
Books for Younger Kids
On a recent visit to a library, I came across The Real Story of Stone Soup by Ying Chang Compestine. The story begins by attempting to debunk the folklore surrounding how soup stone came to be and China is putting its stake in the ground as the inventor.
I also found some excellent kid-friendly cookbooks that are location-specific. I loved Emeril Lagasse’s Emeril’s There’s A Chef In My World: Recipes That Take You Places! The first meal of the day includes recipes from Spain, Mexico, England, Switzerland and other countries. What a great way to teach food, culture and geography to young children!
Books for Tweens
Other books were stories with characters experiencing different cultures like the three book series by Giada De Laurentiis: Recipe for Adventure. The books cover topics like friendship, cooking, family and traditions in Naples (Italy, not Florida), Paris and Hong Kong.
Books for Older Children or Adults
Cookbooks or books about the history of food from different places provides more travel inspiration. The Food Book: A Journey through the Great Cuisines of the World is loaded with information about how food is such an integral as part of our culture and features profiles of culinary traditions from 40 countries all over the globe.
I’ve been slowly devouring The Food Book because it’s about two inches thick, but I’ve learned so much from what I’ve read already. Did you know the origin of Lebanon’s name
as a country is derived from the word laban which means yogurt in Lebanese? According to the book, the snow-covered inland reminded the Lebanese of the pure whiteness of yogurt. In Japan, nothing is done by accident when it comes to cuisine. Everything, from the garnish to the wall décor, carries meaning.
It’s stories like these that make me appreciate food and culture because while food brings us together, how we choose what to eat, where we go and with whom we enjoy our meals are just as important.
Vegetarian TravelingMom once planned an entire trip around her food choices. Obviously, it can be done — and for many of us who love to travel and experience new things, food is an important ingredient.