How schools can use Thanksgiving to celebrate diversity

Your school can honor Thanksgiving in a thoughtful way. Modern Thanksgiving celebrations typically mean an overload of turkey and one too many slices of pumpkin pie. Schools often add their own Thanksgiving feasts to the mix, giving our children a double whammy. Unless you love, love, love turkey, you’re likely to have a bit of Thanksgiving fatigue before the weekend is over. We’re doing things differently at my daughter’s school. A little background: Our country is made up Native Americans and immigrants from every corner of the world. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate how we’ve come together as a nation, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to honor where each of us comes from. As our country becomes more blended, it is important to recognize how our unique cultures add to the spirit of the whole. The Challenge As a way to celebrate your multicultural community, invite parents to contribute a dish to a school Thanksgiving potluck from their ancestors’ country (or countries) of origin. Here’s a sample letter that can be sent home in children’s folders or via email, accompanied by …

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"Hipp hipp hurra! Konstnärsfest på Skagen - Peder Severin Krøyer" by UFA66 - Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons -!_Konstn%C3%A4rsfest_p%C3%A5_Skagen_-_Peder_Severin_Kr%C3%B8yer.jpg#/media/File:Hipp_hipp_hurra!_Konstn%C3%A4rsfest_p%C3%A5_Skagen_-_Peder_Severin_Kr%C3%B8yer.jpg

5 Tips for hosting a World Food Day dinner party that matters

World Food Day seems like a strange day to have a party: This isn’t one of those holiday-non-holidays, like Moment of Frustration Day (October 12) or Punk for a Day Day (October 25). World Food Day is a day of action every October 16, when people all over the world make a commitment to eradicate hunger. So why have a dinner party when so many are hungry? Because you’re probably going to have a dinner party sometime soon anyway. Why not make it a meal with a cause? This World Food Day make your table larger by donating the cost of your meal to help make the world hunger free. A World Food Day dinner party is a great way to sample new foods while raising awareness & funds for those most in need around the globe. This year I partnered with HungerFree, an initiative of World Vision, to do something really special – and you’re invited. Imagine if we could fit the whole world around a single table? We can start by making room in our hearts. Here’s how …

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Mary Poppins Birthday Party

A Very British “Mary Poppins” Birthday Party

Why stay home for your child’s birthday party when you can “journey” to 17 Cherry Tree Lane with a very magical Mary Poppins Tea Party? I began reading Mary Poppins to my daughter earlier this year and we soon found ourselves delighted by the adventures. It wasn’t long before Ava asked me if she could have a Mary Poppins themed birthday party. The more we read of the 1024 page story, the more ideas we got. Here are the highlights of my daughter’s Mary Poppins Birthday party. Set the Tone with Floating Invitations Mary Poppins is associated with unexpected, magical adventures. To set the tone, I made “floating” invitations a few weeks before the party. Make it a Costume Party Everyone loves an excuse to dress up! We invited Ava’s friends to wear a costume inspired by the movie, book, or tea parties in general. They did not disappoint! There were several Chimney Sweeps… An adorable Bert in red stripes… And, as is to be expected, several Mary Poppins! We assembled Ava’s costumes from items found at second hand shops, …

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A Japanese Sushi-rolling Birthday Party

A Japanese birthday party is a fabulous alternative to the standard princess or pirate birthday party. A couple of years ago my good friend and artist Annie Ferris had a Japanese-themed birthday party for her daughter and was kind enough to share the photos. The girls are 4 years old, proving there’s no age limit to having a fun and educational birthday party. I love how Annie managed to throw together a totally immersive experience while maintaining a down-to-earth vibe. Here are some of my favorite features of her daughter’s Japanese Birthday Party. Sushi Rolling station Ava still asks to make homemade sushi and this party is one reason why. How to set up a Sushi Rolling Station: Set up several low tables – kids craft tables or coffee tables work well – and use cushions for seating. Not only is this set up very Japanese, but it’s also easier for wiggly little ones to manage. At each child’s place you’ll need: a placemat to catch spills (hers were Japanese flags) a bamboo rolling mat a set of children’s chopsticks (plain or zoo animals) a bowl …

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10 New Year’s Food Traditions from around the World

Before the confetti and the fireworks glitter through our skies, our global neighbors teach that we must first take a little time to dream. You see, if we imagine our futures as bright and as shiny and as real as the stars above us, we come that much closer to realizing our dreams. It’s called positive thinking. And all around the world, people accomplish this through a brilliant collection of New Year’s food traditions. These food traditions aren’t just another nice meal with a game attached; they’re a way to represent everything we want for ourselves and our loved ones. When we eat symbolic meals, it’s the best kind of positive thinking (hello, happy tummies and hearts). Here are my favorite New Year’s food traditions from around the world, with recipes pulled from our archives. Try one this year to make your very own Global New Year. 1. “RING” in the New Year Rings are a symbol both of continuous love and of “coming full circle.” Any food made in a ring shape is a great choice to celebrate …

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10 Global Takes on Classic Thanksgiving Dishes

Sure, Thanksgiving is an American holiday but most of us can trace our ancestry back to some other part of the world. Which is why every year I like to bring you a selection of globally-inspired dishes for your Thanksgiving feast. Case in point? While mashed potatoes are classic components of the Thanksgiving table, there’s no reason you can’t add a bit of global flare to your recipe… and you’ll get a couple of ideas how to do so below! Here are 10 global takes on classic Thanksgiving dishes. Try one out and add a touch of adventure to your Thanksgiving feast. You’ll be glad you did! 1.  Sweet & Spicy Korean Braised Turkey 2. Zimbabwe’s Peanut Butter & Butternut Mash (Nhopi) 3. Zimbabwe’s Corn and Cheddar Stuffed Squash 4. Mealie Bread (Corn Bread) – Southern Africa 5. Sweet Potato Biscuits (Mbatata) – Malawi 6. Mashed Potatoes with Veggies | Irio – Tanzania 7. Caribbean Pumpkin & Coconut Cream Bisque 8. Pumpkin Olad’yi – Russia 9. Maple Glazed Rutabaga – Finland 10. Honey & Pistachio Stuffed Quince – Uzbekistan And if all that goodness whets your appetite, check out more Thanksgiving roundups …

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Maltese November Bone Cookies Recipe

Maltese Bone Cookies with Marzipan Marrow

This month we’re celebrating the most anatomically correct cookie there ever was – one whose astounding details should make it a favorite with medical students everywhere, and one who would be well placed at every white coat graduation buffet. The origins of this beautiful cookie are far humbler than you might think – November Bones hail from the small island nation of Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea. Why November Bones? Forget dress up and trick-or-treating; most people in the island nation of Malta skip right over Halloween in favor of All Saints and All Souls Days, two feast days that honor the dead (these more reverent holidays are not about vampires and zombies, but about taking time to honor cherished family members who have passed on). On November 1st and 2nd the graves are cleaned and decorated, but it’s the November Bones (a.k.a. l-għadam tal-mejtin) that stretch the holiday well beyond the two days (they’re sold all month long in many bakeries). Anatomy of a Cookie Usually cookies are just a “shape it and bake it” operation, but November Bones could come straight from a …

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Lemon Rasam - one of Gandhi's favorite recipes.

Celebrating World Vegetarian Day with Gandhi and Lemon Rasam

In our house we live by Michael Pollan’s addage: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  This week we’re going one step further, invoking Mahatma Gandhi’s strict vegetarian diet in honor of World Vegetarian Day (October 1st). While most people think of Gandhi as a famous pacifist, he also had a lot to say about eating a pant-based diet, led in great part by his compassion and respect for the lives of even the smallest creatures. Not one to mince words, Gandhi wasn’t afraid to puts his beliefs in black and white:  No flocks that range the valley free To slaughter I condemn Taught by the power that pities me I learn to pity them – Gandhi (1869 – 1948) Our daughter Ava has been eating mostly vegetarian for a while now, so she was particularly happy to celebrate World Vegetarian Day with a new-to-us dish. What to eat for World Vegetarian Day? While we have hundreds of vegetarian and vegan recipes from around the world, I thought it’d be fun to try a dish Gandhi might have enjoyed …

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Around the world in apples

Around the world with Apples ~ Celebrating the first day of Autumn

When the air bites. When my cheeks turn pink. These moments sing autumn. But now that I live in Oklahoma the first day of fall – September 23 – is almost always balmy. Sometimes it’s actually hot. Which means Ava can do this: The only surefire way I know it’s autumn is to watch the apples. There’s nothing like the crisp taste of a freshly plucked apple enjoyed while still standing in the orchard. The fruit is almost chalky on the tongue, the skin tight, the flesh sweet. When apples spring to life like this… well, that’s how I know it is autumn. As you fill your fruit basket with the season’s bounty, I invite you to play around with these apple recipes. They’re plucked from three continents and will make a great addition to your next around the world party or international night! In fact, I’ll be making one or two of them this week myself! Join me on Instagram so we can share our adventures! APPLE RECIPES FROM AROUND THE WORLD 1. Fig and Honey Apple Polenta Cake | Bustrengo (San Marino) …

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World Peace Day Recipe Challenge #EatInPeace #WorldPeaceDay #GlobalTableAdventure

Official World Peace Day Recipe

Look up recipes for world peace and you’ll find one of two things – a moral diatribe or Dori Greenspan’s chocolate chip cookies. While the former is on point, and the latter is undeniably incredible, I’m looking for something a little more… grounded… in the holiday. So I went back to the source for inspiration. Turns out the United Nations came up with “International Day of Peace” in 1981 and the first celebration occurred in 1982. Lots of people – myself included – simply call the September 21st holiday “World Peace Day.” What’s World Peace Day all about? World Peace Day is about having one day. One day without weapons. One day without killing. One day of treating each other with compassion, kindness and humanity. I get turkey fatigue on Thanksgiving and go chocolate bezerk on Valentine’s Day, but World Peace Day is one holiday I wish could last forever. OFFICIAL WORLD PEACE DAY RECIPE Serves 7.25 Billion Ingredients: 1 large heart 1 recipe from a country in conflict 7.25 billion friends Method: STEP 1 Imagine how mealtime would change in a …

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Celebrating the Ethiopian New Year with Doro Wat

There’s been a movement to make Enkutatash – a.k.a. Ethiopian New Year – as popular as St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo.  But instead of wearing green or dancing to a mariachi band you’re invited for a much simpler, down to earth sort of celebration. Wear white. Pick yellow daisies. And enjoy traditional Ethiopian food. Waaaay back when “Enkutatash” literally stands for “gift of jewels.” As the story goes, several thousand years ago the Queen of Sheba delivered more than 4.5 tons of gold and as many spices to King Solomon. King Solomon was quite the host as he, too, showered her with gifts: …in return, King Solomon had assembled an array of gifts for her arrival. Great caskets of sticky Nubian millet beer awaited her party. The gifts were staked on mules outside Solomon’s palace, ready for her people to take to their camp and enjoy. Silks and linens from Gaza, Assyria, and Lebanon. Tapestry from Ma-Wara-Mnar. Dresses, sweet fruit from Iraq, Mongolistan winter melons. And basins of water from the spring at Siloe. Following …

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Celebrate Labor Day with 40 Cold Drinks from around the world

  Hi friends! When someone asks how you are doing, do you reply “Oh, SO busy”? I recently read that being ‘busy’ is the new norm. Turns out that’s how many people are measuring their self worth and even asserting their status as an “important” person. Ugg. This makes labor day an even more important holiday in my book.  A time to slow down, enjoy the bounty the world has to offer, and just… be… with your family and friends. I’ve compiled 40 cold drinks from your global neighbors for you to enjoy this weekend (perhaps not all at once, eh?). Bonus challenge? Vow not to say you’re busy for the entire month of September. Even if you are. #letsbanbusy xxoo Sasha NOTE: These recipes are enjoyed in their particular countries, but not necessarily exclusive to the countries.   The African drinks we’ve tried on our cooking adventure include a lot of fresh, tropical fruits like mango, pineapple and papaya. There’s also a good deal of ginger (think ginger beer and ginger tea), hibiscus, and earthy spices like cinnamon. …

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