Taste of Tradition: Sharing Heritage Through Cooking

The best way to pass on your family food traditions from generation to generation is with a hands-on approach in the kitchen.

curried coconut chicken served with rice
Photo: Chef'd

Introduce your child to family food traditions, as well as traditions from a range of cultures, through the food associated with them. From Irish soda bread and Greek salad to Filipino lumpa and Indian curry, we've gathered up some recipes that will take you around the world without leaving your kitchen. Plus, we have some easy tips for getting the kids involved in the cooking.

Tips for Including the Kids in the Kitchen

Regardless of their age, there are ways to make kids feel like they are part of the cooking process. Here are just a few ideas that may help:

  • Let them choose. Provide a few options for your cooking adventure, but let them pick the recipe you actually make.
  • Go on a fact-finding mission. Whether you flip through a book, hop on the laptop, or get the grandparents on the phone, do a little research together to discover more about the type of food you're going to make. Even if you know a lot about it already—share what you know, but see if you can learn something new together.
  • Task little ones with the easy parts. Remember how much fun it was to press the elevator button? Particularly young kids will still get a huge kick out of doing simple things like pouring and stirring, so make sure to take those opportunities to get them in on the action while cooking.
  • Let older kids try more advanced skills. Under your close supervision and when you feel your child is ready, let them slice veggies, work with meat, and get used to cooking on a stovetop and using an oven. Knowing their way around these skills will keep them safe in the kitchen.
  • Instill pride and confidence in the kids by inviting friends and family over to enjoy the traditional foods the kids helped make.

10 Traditional Recipes from Around the World

Time to get cooking! Each of these recipes will give you a taste of someplace different.

1. Irish Soda Bread

"This was the first recipe that my cousins and I were taught to make when we were young girls—or 'wee ones,' as our Grandmother called us," says M Unit. "The best bonnets (Great Grandma said that they weren't loaves but 'bonnets of bread') seemed to come from my mother's oven, an old Wedgewood. Now they come from my kitchen...I have an old Wedgewood now."

Irish Soda Bread

2. Oaxacan Tacos

"WOW, WOW, WOW," raves MelindaD. If you love traditional Mexican, then you MUST TRY these! My entire family can't get them out of their head. We have had them three times in eight days. The flavors are simple but come together to make an incredible authentic tasting taco."


3. Mid-Summer Italian Bread Salad

This recipe is amazing! I made it with fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from the garden, and it turned out so incredible," says rachael. "I cannot believe how easy it was, and how great it tasted! I will definitely make this again for my family!"

Mid Summer Italian Bread Salad
Natasha in Oz

4. Traditional Filipino Lumpia

Rolling lumpia is an easy activity to do with the kids, although you might want to do the actual frying yourself. And since the meat in the filling is cooked before you get rolling, there's no worry about raw ingredients.

5. Basic Crepes

"This is easy to make and good for the kids to join in and help," says Lola. Lola shared that these also make for an easy make-ahead breakfast: "I wrapped them up in foil and plastic wrap, then put them in the freezer. It was a convenient way to have crepes for breakfast without cooking."

6. Good for You Greek Salad

"Excellent salad! Stirred in just a couple heaping tablespoons of nonfat Greek yogurt. The longer it sits, the better it gets," says Sarah Jo. "A trick Grandma taught me to help draw some of the liquid out of tomatoes is cut them the way you want them on the salad, then lay them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for a bit and drain. Blot with paper towels. Do this and your salad will be less drippy."

greek salad in a bowl

7. Cucumber and Avocado Sushi

"What fun and how tasty," says Dining Diva. "We made this recipe with a party of 12-year-olds. I put out bowls of chopped veggies, panko bread crumbs, and imitation crab for the filling, and toasted black and white sesame seeds for the outside. They loved making their own rolls. I used wax paper to roll them and it worked out great."

cucumber and avocado sushi rolls

8. Broccoli and Chicken Stir-Fry

Candi says she "used frozen stir fry veggies instead of broccoli. It was delicious and my family loved it—I will be making again soon!"

9. Papa Drexler's Bavarian Pretzels

"Having grown up in Bavaria, I miss pretzels terribly," says SophiesMommy. "Then I saw this recipe and went to work right away. They were absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and found the dough to be just the right consistency."

Bavarian Pretzel on a wooden board

10. Curried Coconut Chicken

This was delicious," says ChatteroosMom. I followed the directions perfectly and it made enough for two dinners! My husband and two young daughters loved it! Served with some flat pita bread because it made a lot of delicious sauce."

curried coconut chicken served with rice


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