Tag Archives: teaching

Learn to Make Peruvian Food

Dishing up CausaPeru has earned a reputation for having one of the best cuisines in South America and this weekend I learned that for myself.

On the invitation of family members, I visited a lovely woman who lived in Lima, Peru with her husband and three small daughters for five years during the 1960s while her husband worked on a nutrition project. During her time in Peru, Mrs. Placko learned how to prepare many dishes that have come to be favorites in her family.

In this short clip, Mrs. Placko is assisted by a KidCulture chef in preparing lomo saltado, a beef stir fry that is eaten throughout Peru.

In addition, Mrs. Placko made delicious potatoes that accompany most Peruvian meals as well as a fantastic salad known as causa. Causa resembles the French salade nicoise but it is topped with an olive oil and onion dressing that is unlike anything I’d ever eaten. Causa is also well-loved for its mashed potato balls.

For dessert, we feasted on flan and alfajores (you might remember them from our Christmas Cookie extravaganza).

Here are some pictures to make your mouth water. 

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Happy 100th International Women’s Day

International Women's Day 2011Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a day set aside by the United Nations to recognize the contributions of women to societies around the world and the important work we have still to do to ensure equal access to health care, educational opportunities, and employment.

I first celebrated International Women’s Day as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso, West Africa. I worked with women in my village to coordinate a soccer match between two teams of women and a soccer match between two teams of my female students. We held a ceremony with lots of fantastic speeches (my French still wasn’t so great so I can only imagine the full impact of the oratory), and finally a dance in the evening. It was one of the most successful events of which I’ve ever been a part.

Equal rightsAlthough there have been many improvements made in women’s lives since 1911, many of the same issues persist – in the United States and around the world. In most of the world, women are still likely to make less money than their male counterparts. Women continue to struggle for equal access to – and authority over – their health care. Education is still a major issue for women.

So while women have won many of the same rights as men, the struggle for equality continues.

women in Tahrir Square, Egypt

 

 

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It’s Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday

Mardi Gras KidThere’s a lot going on today. In addition to Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday, today is also the 100th International Women’s Day, which I’ll be posting on later today.

But Mardi Gras deserves attention all on its own.

Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last day before the Christian season of Lent begins. In Lent, Christians make sacrifices, fast, pray, and try to prepare for Easter, the holiest time in their religious calendar.

So Mardi Gras is the last hurrah before the solemnity of the Lenten season. And some people really do make the most of it.

In Brazil, Carnivale has a world-famous reputation as an all-out extravaganza.

In the United States, New Orleans pretty much holds the title for most festive Mardi Gras destination.

The celebrations can get wild – but there are some family-friendly traditions that anyone can adopt.

King CakeOne of the most fun is King Cake. King Cake is not only eaten during Mardi Gras, but it is also a popular food during the Christmas holidays in places such as France, Belgium, Portugal, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Switzerland, and Spain.

Inside the cake is a tiny figure of a baby, meant to be the baby Jesus. Whoever finds the figure in his or her piece of cake earns the right to buy next year’s King Cake (I like this tradition!).

In addition to King Cake, parades are a common activity at Mardi Gras festivities. You can organize a mini-parade with your family either inside or outside (depending on how frigid it is where you live). Dress up in masks and pile on every piece of funny clothing, jewelry, or decoration you can find.

Mardi Gras beadsIf you’ve got beads, flaunt them! Mardi Gras beads are traditionally distributed during parades. These plastic beads, usually found in purple, green, and gold, are fun treasures for kids to collect. You can give out beads according to your own idea of a good time. Encourage your children to compliment each other or do nice things for other friends or family members in order to earn the beads. You can keep the fun going long after Mardi Gras.

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Talking to Kids About Egypt

For the past two weeks, Egyptians have been protesting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, calling for the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s thirty years in power.

Close on the heels of a similar – but more quickly resolved – crisis in Tunisia, the situation in Egypt has been fascinating to watch on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and – oh, yes – the evening news and in newspaper accounts.

Those accounts have shown that children have been involved in the protests – almost from the beginning – and that they are playing a role in Tahrir Square as well as in their own homes, pushing their parents to join the protests.

This is not a revolution being waged by children, but it is clear that they have something to say – and it’s a great way to encourage greater understanding of power, politics, and personal freedom in your own children.

If you’d like more information on what’s happening in Egypt, read the Washington Post (yes, a daily newspaper) timeline here.

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Food, Family, and Chinese New Year

There are few better – or cheaper – ways to introduce your child to other cultures than through food.

With so many great ethnic restaurants, it’s easy for parents to get children accustomed to foods from different countries from an early age.

However, parents may be unsure of what to order that’s kid-friendly.

In honor of Chinese New Year, which runs February 3-15, over the next few days KidCulture will provide some suggestions to help parents choose food in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants.

In each of these countries, people celebrate Chinese New Year by sharing good food with their families and friends – and that’s a custom worth adopting.

So stay tuned for some fresh, fun, food ideas to help you introduce your child to other cultures.

 

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Books About Chinese New Year

Here are some suggestions for children’s books about Chinese New Year. Enjoy!

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn, Cornelius Van Wright, and Ying-Hwa Hu

My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz

Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-lan! By Lauryn Silverhardt, Jason Fruchter, and Aka Chikasawa

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book by Joan Holub and Benrei Huang

The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by Ying Chang Compestine and Sebastia Serra

 

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Giving Thanks with Turkey Cupcakes

Betty Crocker's Turkey CupcakesThanksgiving is celebrated in different ways around the world but many cultures (and countries) have a harvest festival where people give thanks for their crops.

In the United States, we’ve been celebrating some form of Thanksgiving celebrations since the Pilgrims. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday.

For many families, the centerpiece of the holiday is a meal shared with friends and family at which they remember – and give thanks – for all the good things in their lives. No matter what is served – turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and gravy are just some of the usual suspects – the point of the meal is to share it and give thanks.

In our family, we eat a traditional turkey dinner but we also play a game of either soccer or football (weather permitting). In the evening board games usually make an appearance. Every year we like to add a new element. This year, Betty Crocker’s Turkey Cupcakes made a wacky debut on the dessert table. They were as fun to decorate as they were to eat (I should know – I ate three!)

This year, I gave thanks not only for my family, my friends, and my jobs but also for these Turkey Cupcakes and the big laugh they gave me.

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