Food for Thought Food for Thought

There is so much we can do for our kids to enrich their lives and environments, but there are also only so many hours in the day.

Whether Pinterest is a source of inspiration or shame for you, there are ways to maximize the time we already spend caring for our family.  I think the easiest is food.

We already shop, cook, and clean.  We can make this a growth experience for the family.  The key is to use mealtimes to explore other times and cultures.  This can be a part of deeper experiences with books, studies, maps, movies, etc., but honestly, simply eating new foods is an education.

Children who eat multicultural foods are less picky, are better travelers and guests, and much easier to take to restaurants!  Eating foods from other cultures makes far-away places seem more tangible.

If this is new to you, here are some easy ways to get started:

1. Cookbooks specializing in specific cuisines often hold more than recipes. 

You can find a treasure of history, geographical information, and pictures.  A new cookbook is a great addition to the home and children can choose which recipes to try.  Public libraries carry a plethora in the adult and children’s sections.

2. The internet is plentiful with free recipes and information! 

Each child can take a turn finding a new recipe for the week and is likely to learn more about the world in the process.

3. Hands-down, PBS hosts the most authentic and educationally valuable cooking programs on television. 

Watching several episodes of a show helps you understand the basics of various cuisines so you can use new flavors and techniques in your cooking without always having a recipe.

4. Fusion cooking is all the rage. 

Do you make a good shepherd’s pie or meatloaf?  Try using Scandinavian or Indian spices.  Switch out the dairy or meat for products more typical of the region.  This keeps food familiar while expanding palates.

5. Fill up your spice rack and learn to use it! 

Spice is the key to life and a great way to add international flare to something as simple as a tuna salad or mashed potato!  Stop into that Asian, Spanish, or Indian market for good deals and new ideas.

Fusion Soup:  Moroccan - Irish - Italian Wedding Soup

This 3-step recipe takes the familiar spinach and meatballs of Italian Wedding Soup and switches it out with Moroccan flavors and an Irish potato leek base.  It is a great example of what you can do with a well-stocked spice rack.  It’s a lot of ingredients because of the spices, but that’s the point!  Plus, it is a true one pot meal.

Lamb Stock

(To save time, replace the lamb stock with a combination of boxed chicken and beef stock and simply steep the whole spices in it for 20 minutes or so.)

  • 1 package of lamb neck bones or lamb shank
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ground coriander
  • ½  carrot
  • 1/4 yellow onion, peeled
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • ½  parsnip, peeled
  • 4 inch slice from 1 large leek, green parts, washed
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 8 whole coriander seeds
  1. Rub bones with salt pepper and ground coriander.
  2. Heat a stock pot with a touch of oil and brown the bones on all sides.
  3. Throw in the rest of the ingredients.  Add some salt and pepper.  Stir and cook for a minute or so.
  4. Add water until the pot is about ¾ full.
  5. Bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer and simmer for 2-3 hours.
  6. Strain the broth.


  • 3 T butter
  • 1½  carrots, diced
  • ¾ yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 minced garlic clove
  • 1½  parsnips, peeled and diced
  • Approximately 1 large leek, washed and sliced thin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Lamb Stock
  • Chicken Stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2.5 pounds of potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 cups of fresh baby spinach


  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 slice of bread (gluten free bread is fine) soaked in milk to make a mushy paste.
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp dried mint flakes
  • hearty pinch of white pepper
  • salt
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a stock pot.
  2. Sautee the first six vegetables with turmeric and salt and pepper to taste for about 5 minutes, or until slightly softened.
  3. Add strained lamb stock and bay leaf so pot is about ¾ full.  Add chicken stock as needed to supplement.
  4. Add chopped potatoes and bring to boil.  Reduce to simmer for about 30 minutes.
  5. You can thicken by partially blending with a stick blender or mashing the potatoes a bit with a hand masher.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together to make the meatballs being sure to generously salt the meat.  Roll into meatballs small enough to fit in your soup spoon.
  7. Drop meatballs into the boiling soup and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the spinach, stir and serve, checking for salt and pepper

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Copyright 2013 Kate Daneluk