Flavor Bases Around the Globe

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It can be hard to get kids to try new flavors; Travis might enjoy eating his vegan chick’n nuggets, for example, but he doesn’t want them spiced in a new way! So I appreciated this unit on flavor bases from around the world, part of a lesson to go with the Raddish Kids‘ recipe Travis prepared for chickpea soup, one that used a French mirepoix as the base.

I kept the lesson very light for a kindergartner. We watched a quick video on how to chop a mirepoix (carrots, onion, celery), and then discussed how an aromatic base might differ in other countries, whether with a different fat (coconut oil in parts of Asia) or different aromatics (ginger, garlic).  Older kids can delve into math ratios for the best flavor here!

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The true challenge was to cook one protein in three different flavor bases. I knew Travis would never have the patience to prepare three recipes, but instead presented him with three sauces to spice his chick’n at lunch. We checked them out on a world map next to their countries, first!

He loved dipping into each. “Not the favorite,” he declared after one bite of Chinese hoisin sauce. Indian masala got a maybe, but Mexican taco sauce was the clear winner. He kept asking for more!

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Have fun flipping through food magazines or cookbooks as a finale to the lesson. Travis pointed out recipes that interested him, and I helped read the ingredients that went into the flavor base. This is a great way to get your little chef thinking even deeper about food and culture.

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Go Get Game

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This is a simple game to test if your toddler is ready to understand and follow directions, sending him or her on various “errands” around the house. Your little one won’t think it’s a chore at all, just lots of silly fun!

I put out a few items for Veronika that I knew would entice her, starting with a toy ball. “Can you go get the ball?” I asked.

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She eagerly crawled to it, and I encouraged her back my way. “Can you bring me the ball?” She’s at that beautiful age where toddlers love to put things “in” and clean up, so this was met with success.

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Next we played with her water bottle. Again, the item was spotted and she was off.

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But could she bring it to me? This time it was more fun just to play with!

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Then we got silly with the “errands”. After asking her to get her boots and socks, I said, “Can you put the sock on your head?” I demonstrated, which earned huge giggles.

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Pretty soon she was imitating me.

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In sum, don’t underestimate your fourteen-month old’s sense of humor, or ability to “get” things, even if they have few words to say back to you yet.

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All Aboard the Train

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The last time I took Veronika on a train ride, she wasn’t even to crawl yet, and only vaguely aware of the adventure, though I loved simply introducing her to the idea of a train at the time.

Now as a toddler, we repeated the activity ,and had a train-tastic day!

First up was purchasing tickets and waiting on the platform. When we heard the train signals, both my kids were excited watching the gate come down.

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All aboard! Be sure to grab a good window seat, so your little one can appreciate the view, so different from that out a car window.

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We went only one stop to the next town over, and popped into the Club Car Cafe for a quick snack. The perfect spot to watch other trains on the tracks…

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…play with toy trains they had available for kids (smart thinking!)…

…and even watch a model train scoot around on the wall.

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Veronika loved the whole experience, and soon was saying choo choo. It’s the first time I felt that she fully understood what a train is, so different from the toy versions she can push around or the ones she’s seen on TV. A highly recommended activity.

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