Preserving Culture Through Food

Many of my friends are 2nd or 3rd generation Asian or Mexican folks starting to raise their own children. I would also say that most of us have married someone of a different ethnicity as well. For J and I, we are trying to balance the Vietnamese and Filipino cultures. However, Kai hears English and Vietnamese mostly and my mom cooks him homemade Vietnamese food weekly. I’m hearing stories of multi-ethnic families where one culture can dominate depending on which language is heard more and which grandparents are around more often.

I think that if even a child is exposed to a culture through food, it’s better than no exposure to their other heritage. Many of us modern mothers are health conscious so we may serve up brown rice with entrees from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for our kiddies. Remember we didn’t grow up eating pasta or fish sticks. I don’t think there is anything wrong with mixing up some Jasmine or short grain rice once in a while or foods seasoned with soy sauce or fish sauce.

My favorite recipe to share with Kai right now is Chicken Adobe. I let the adobe slow cook for 8 hours while I’m at work and then I serve up on a bed of white rice. Other days he’s eating tilapia and rice too. Even though he won’t learn tagalong at home at least he’ll feel connected to Filipino food. How are you balancing the cultures in your family?

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