Balanced Melting Pot

Let’s talk about food!

In Culture, Parenting, Questions, Recipes on September 8, 2008 at 8:01 am

Now, for some this may be a non-issue, but a big part of my culture is the cuisine. As a matter of fact, some Haitian immigrants never become accustomed to eating non-Haitian dishes regardless of the time spent abroad.

I, for one, do not have this problem 😉 . I enjoy trying new foods and am always trying to introduce my family to different dishes. My husband will humour me to some extent and I think he has actually come to really appreciate dishes from other cultures. However, I have found that fast foods are really hard to compete with, especially with a five year-old, as children are constantly bombarded with commercials, etc.

Although I remember my mom making an effort to be somewhat flexible with what we ate, it feels like I spent the majority of my childhood eating rice, beans and chicken. I am now convinced that this kept me “healthy” and hope to include these staples in my children’s diets as much as possible. For now, my daughter’s favorite dish is bean sauce (sauce pois), rice and chicken. Our ten month old has yet to decide 😛 .

Is it important for your children to be familiar with foods traditional to your family? If so, how do you ensure this (i.e. how often do you prepare these foods, how strongly do you push them to eat them)? How do you handle the stiff competition?

Most importantly, feel free to share any recipes for dishes that are popular with kids. 
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  1. This topic is very interesting to me. I grew up in an environment where my parents cooked Puerto Rican ethnic food with all its variants. As an adult I tend to eat a variety of foods. I like cooking a variety of food, from American, Italian, Mexican, etc, however, the holidays are quite different, certain Puerto Rican dishes are a must have on the holiday table. I recently married a first generation Cuban immigrant; with quite different eating habits, even though the food ingredients are quite similar, the preparation of the food is different. Since I like cooking, I now see myself changing my cooking style to Cuban dishes instead of Puerto Rican dishes that I have learned over time to please my husband. The holiday table now days is blended with Puerto Rican, Cuban, and American dishes, which makes me think if this variety of dishes is going to be the same for years to come, or if it will change. Writing about this makes me think, what about when I have children, what would I cook for them? Keeping the tradition of Puerto Rican recipes is important to me but sometimes that does not happen, which makes me think that I really need to make an effort to continue the tradition to make sure the dishes that I grew up with still will have a presence on my dinning table for generations to come.

  2. Cuban, Puerto Rican and American dishes! I bet meals are never dull at your house 😛

    It’s interesting that you bring up the holidays because growing up, my mother always included both traditional Haitian and American dishes. This has made deciding what to serve quite easy; I just keep the menu the same as momma’s 🙂 . For instance, Thanksgiving dinner usually consists of a stuffed Turkey, baked ham, mashed potatoes, several variations of rice and beans, and plantains. All of this is of course prepared with the traditional Haitian spices, etc. I guess event that adds a bit of our own culture to something different.

  3. Oh the food! I remember when I moved to NY my mom told my brothers with whom I was staying that she was affraid that I would die of starvation since I was such a picky eater to which my brothers replied don’t worry she’ll survive. Guess what? there was really no difference, those people seldom go to a restaurant that is not haitian. It wasn’t until I went to college that I get to try other dishes. I am happy to say that I still love my haitian food and the kids even though they were born here they can do without their “rice and bean” and don’t forget the “bouillon”. They have tried everything but they claim that nothing can compare to a “super duper” meal at auntie’s. Even though some of them are married now they are still calling home for tips on how to make things specially the fried plantain. By the way, they all refused to speak creole but they can name all the haitian dishes. Needless to say that thankgiving is our “2janvier” nothing but Haintian. . :

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