This is one of my favourite family traditions.
It started way back in 2002 when the Australian Soccer Team, the Socceroos, made it into the World Cup for the first time in years. I decided that it was a great excuse to learn a little about the world and so, to celebrate the team's achievement, we'd cook and enjoy a meal from each of the countries the Socceroos played. Brazilian was delicious and, while we adore pasta and Tiramisu, Italian a little harder to enjoy after they kicked us out of the finals.
The idea also worked really well with this colouring book I'd found in a discount store for my eldest son...
Rumbo and Jumpo are a koala and kangaroo who take a trip around the world. Each International Food Night we'd colour in a page, make sure we had the flag correct and enjoy our out-of-the-ordinary meal. I'm so glad that I've added handwritten notes to the bottom of each page to remember when we "visited" and what food we enjoyed.
Through the years we've continued the tradition on and off. We've chosen countries based on who the All Blacks were playing (I'm afraid we support Australia in all things but Rugby. The children have taken on their father's "religion"), or the next page in Rumbo and Jumpo, or we just choose at random!
Since the book is now all coloured in, we've added a few other activities:
* We make a flag to hang on the wall in the playroom (we started over again towards the end of last year)...
* We find the country on our globe and read a bit about it in our atlases.
* We complete our passports activity pages. I'm going to do a whole post on this soon and show you where I got the idea, because these are awesome...
* If a country is famous for something we'll do a little You Tube searching too. The Edinburgh Military Tattoo for some bagpipe music when we visited Scotland, some traditional Nyckelharpa music from Sweden (and this Gummi bear clip the kids thought was hilarious!)
Last week we went to Malaysia. I made a Beef Rending and a Nonya-style Chicken and Lime Curry. Then the kids built their version of Kuala Lumpur's Patronas Towers.
I love International Food Night so much because it encourages the children to try new foods and appreciate the diversity of cuisines. They learn a little bit about geography and a few facts about other countries too.