7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year

by Culinary Spelunker /
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Dec 26, 2017 / 0 comments

There's a world of flavors to explore – why not make discovering them part of your New Year's resolution list?
For 2018, you can make tracking down, and trying out, new foods part of your family's goals for the year. If you're wondering where to get started, consider some of these ideas to expand your family's culinary palate.

7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year

For each of these goals, set a timing that works for you – whether that's once a week, once every other week or once a month.

Who's ready to start eating exploring?

#1 Try a recipe from another country.

Argentina. Armenia. Bolivia. Brazil. There are so many different countries' and cultures' foods to explore it can be overwhelming to know how and where to start. One idea is to have your child spin a globe and then put his finger out to stop it, wherever his finger lands, that's the country that you'll look up and then find a recipe. Or, you could have your child pick a letter, like "C", and then together do an online search of all the countries that begin with that letter. Or,  try the eating around the world game. Next step? The recipe hunt.  

My suggestion is that you start simple and familiar at first. For example, Japanese Tonkatsu has essentially the same make up as Mexican milanesa and American Southern chicken-fried steak – it's meat pounded thin and then breaded and fried. The meat and the breading is slightly different with each version. As you're going through potential recipes, try to keep it easy and within your existing kitchen skills wheelhouse – that makes it more likely the meal will turn out, and that your kids will eat it.
Japanese Tonkatsu. From 7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year
Japanese Tonkatsu 

#2 Visit an ethnic grocery store.

Google 'ethnic grocery store' and you're likely to find several in your area. Within a 20-minute drive from my house, there are two Indian grocers, one Asian grocery superstore and one Italian specialty grocer. Check out the grocery store with your kids and let them each choose one food to try. I've found even the pickiest of eaters is willing to try candy from another country. That's how my kids became addicted to Japanese Pocky sticks (well, I'm quite the fan, too) and European Hanuta (think a creamy hazelnut spread sandwiched between two wafer cookies. Yes, perfection.).
Another option is to find ethnic food section in your regular grocers or larger retailers. For those in the U.S., Cost Plus World Market has a surprising assortment of global foods. That's where I stock up Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning, THE best Caribbean jerk seasoning, along with other fun finds like Japanese sushi making kits and Café Du Monde Beignet Mix (some select Bed, Bath and Beyond stores stock a small World Market food section).
Visit an ethnic Grocery Store. From 7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year
Ethnic Grocery Store

#3 Sample new-to-you produce.

Besides recipes, picking out new-to-you ingredients can inspire a more global palate. Skip the expected potatoes, onions, and tomatoes and look for something you or your kids haven't tried before. Instead of bananas, what about trying plantains? Add umami-rich Cremini or peppery Oyster mushrooms to your standard button variety.

When we let our kids pick out from among the product offerings, my daughter immediately decided on a deep pink fruit with green-spiked ends coming out of the bulb. The name seemed fitting – dragon fruit. Together we looked up where they came from and then how to prepare and eat them. My oldest daughter liked the kiwi-esque flavor.
Dragon Fruit. From 7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year
Dragon Fruit

#4 Eat at an ethnic restaurant.

Even if you follow the recipe exactly as it appears online or in a cookbook, capturing the right flavor may be tricky, especially the first time around. Or the ingredients might be so lengthy that it makes more sense to go out to eat to try it versus buying everything to make the meal at home.

Eating out doesn't need to be pricey. We've found several of our favorite global eats are at divey restaurants, food trucks, or tucked into strip malls, where the costs are reasonable and the food, fabulous.

Another way to trim the cost is to visit for lunch, instead of dinner. Or, go for appetizers versus a whole meal.
Eating Out. From 7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year
Eating Out

#5 Go back to your roots

What about using your family history to inspire your next dinner? Through various family history programs available online, like Ancestry.com, you can trace your geneaology. Once you know where some of your relatives came from, look up recipes typical to the region, whether that's authentic Swedish meatballs (that's on my list for this year), Som Tam from Thailand, or any number of dishes from across the globe.

Besides going online, you can also ask aunts, uncles, grandmas, great-grandpas, and others for family recipes to try out at your house.
Making bread together. From 7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year
Making bread together

#6 Check out a food festival or farmers' market.

Many local food festivals include a big helping of culture and history along with the food – whether that's a Maple Syrup Festival that includes instruction on how to tap the trees or an assortment of culinary finds in cities large and small as part of a "taste of the town" type of event. Yes, I'm thinking of you, Taste of Chicago!

Stretching from the spring into the early fall, there's a weekly farmers' market held in the middle of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We've discovered it's worth the 35-minute drive for the farm-fresh food, the festive atmosphere, and a chance to talk to the folks that are growing the food we eat.
Tomatoes from Farmer's Market. From 7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year
Tomatoes from Farmer's Market

#7 Travel to another country.

Undoubtedly, the best way to enjoy another country's cuisine is by visiting. Make planning your trip a year-long endeavor by researching the region leading up to your trip with your kids (they can even save up money to help fund the adventure) and plotting out what you're going to do – and eat – during your time abroad.
Trying European pastries for the first time - in the Black Forest, Germany. From 7 Foodie Family Resolutions for the New Year
Trying European pastries for the first time - in the Black Forest, Germany



Kristen J. Gough is the Global Cuisines & Kids Editor for Wandering Educators. She shares her family's adventurous food experiences--and recipes--at MyKidsEatSquid.com.