Being an immigrant living in the United States, one of the things that a person misses the most is the food from Mexico. While there are more and more restaurants cooking traditional Mexican food, they are often hard to find and often overlooked for quicker solutions around the corner. So, we as parents, how do we teach our children to fall in love with the food from Mexico, if they are not easily found in our new country? Here are some tips to keep this love of Mexican food alive while living in the United States.
Cook with them at home
Cooking meals at home is a great way to teach children love of any food. At our house, all of my children get together to cook dinner almost every night. Although the hours are busy and it is often easier to eat something at one of the fast food places down the street, we love to cook together and enjoy family meals. Teaching children to prepare the traditional foods you grew up with will provide them with loving memories of the time you spent in the kitchen with them. This will increase the love of these foods as comfort foods and that they will enjoy for a lifetime, even when they are cooking it themselves. My girls especially like to make homemade tortillas, which means that they generally don’t want to eat the ones we can buy at the store.
Buy traditional ingredients
Another way to increase a child’s love of Mexican food is by purchasing traditional ingredients. Finding the right ingredients to give your homemade meals authentic flavor can be a challenge, especially if you live in a small town like us, but it’s definitely worth the extra time to find the exact flavors from home. The city we live in doesn’t have many stores – there are far fewer to begin with that contain the necessary ingredients for some of the foods we love. We travel an hour and a half to find a mercado that has the chilies and meat that we are used to and that we supply until our next trip.
Eat as a Familia
While we cook with our children and choose the ingredients that give this food an authentic flavor, both are great steps in creating a love for Mexican food, the part that makes these foods more attractive is eating them together as a family. This is where the true love for cooking comes from, the pleasure that comes from eating it together. In our house, this is done every night. Whether we dine at the formal dining table or in the living room watching a movie, we dine together. This is our time to be together away from the chaos of school, work, the phones, and all the little distractions in life.
No matter what you are serving, be it pozole or tamales, buying it together, creating the meal together, and ultimately eating it together as a family will help make this your children’s most loved meal.What do you do to feed your child’s love for Mexican food? Share your ideas with us and let us learn from your experiences as well.