Foodie Staycation = Cultural Infusion Night

Who doesn’t enjoy a little cultural infusion once in a while, especially when it comes to sampling delicious food? While a family trip to Europe, Mexico or India may not be on the immediate horizon, a trip to your kitchen with a new recipe and a little inspiration is easy.  We call it Cultural Infusion Night. For those of us yearning to eat our way through Italy or France, India or Peru, this is a totally simple way to explore the exotic cuisine on our mind, without the annoying customs line-up.

Here’s how it works:

1. Gather together as a family and take stock of the following question: If you could go anywhere in the world, what would your destination be ? The sky’s the limit here (but make sure everyone knows it’s a theoretical exercise!)

2. Once you’ve come to a consensus on your ideal travel destination, it’s time to research the cuisine this place is known for. Get out your computer or recipe books and find out about some of the recipes associated with your dream destination. In larger countries like India, China and Spain you’ll have a wide and varied list of options. Go with what sounds most delicious or choose a dish you’ve heard about and always wanted to try. Ask your kids if they have a friend from this wonderful place they can chat with to learn more.

3. Once you’ve decided on a meal, get out your grocery list and figure out where you’ll go to find some of the ingredients you may not have previously explored in your kitchen (i.e. different spices, vegetables or breads). This is a great chance to take the kids on a shopping trip to places like Chinatown or little India OR - depending on where you live- the local asian grocer or even a walk down the ethnic aisle of your supermarket. We want to hear from you on this topic so please write in and let us know where you shop for the less readily available groceries on your list.

4. It’s time to find some music to accompany your meal.  When it comes to making memories, music is right up there (with food) as one of the things that triggers our senses and brings us back to that time when … you fill in the blank! Get out your computer and learn about the music you would be listening to if you were really going to Spain or India or Norway. For example, if Brazil is your dream trip, download a few songs by Clara Moreno.

5. Dinner is served! Cultural Infusion Night is underway! Now what are you going to talk about? Here’s a conversation starter: go around the table and ask each person what they associate with this dream destination, or why they want to go there. Can anyone share a bit of history on this region? What did you learn in the process of finding the recipes or music for the evening?

No bags to unpack, just a quick kitchen clean up and you’re home again from a wonderful getaway. You can thank us later! In the meantime, we’d love to hear all about your version of Cultural Infusion Night. We invite you to share your comments here or on our Facebook page. 

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  • This is a fabulous idea, I can't wait to go on a "trip" with my 6 and 7 year old! Especially since I've been daydreaming about getting out of town for the past few months :) Another fun idea is having the kids draw pictures of the items on the grocery list. My kids love this activity and bringing the list with us to the grocery store. Finding the groceries at the store can be another little treasure hunt in and of itself. keep the good ideas flowing - every added twist of excitement in a chaotic day helps!

    Teresa Smed 12 May 2010, at 3:32 pm

  • I love this idea! It reminds me of Mexican night at our house growing up. Food was usually casseroles or meat & potatoes but inspired by our favourite family restaurant, my mom ventured into the unknown and we were soon eating soft tacos, fajitas and lots of nachos! My mom also tried an Irish theme on St. Patrick's Day - she dyed everything we ate with green food colouring. I don't recommend it (unless you want a really bizarre experience with the mind-mouth connection)!

    Lana 10 May 2010, at 10:04 pm