Food As A Love Language :: Explore New Cultures Through Food

I’ll tell you one thing that’s great about having a family that’s Italian, Puerto Rican, English, Hispanic, Korean, Hawaiian, French, and German…and that’s the food.

Not only was I raised in a diverse (and loud!) family, but as an Air Force brat, I lived in four countries, 11 states, and attended five high schools before graduating. While there were tough aspects of moving so often, I’m grateful for the experience that cultivated a deep appreciation for diversity, new cultures, new experiences, and especially trying new food.

Today, my extended family resides everywhere from Hawaii to California to Oklahoma to Pennsylvania and beyond. Sadly, my kids who’ve all been raised in the Dallas area won’t be able to learn the art of the perfect pasta sauce from Grandmom Eva or how to make red rice and beans from Grandmom Petra like I did. So I’ve been intentional to share our family’s immigration stories, build a diverse community of friends, and teach them how to cook all the family recipes.

Food is an excellent way to teach our kids about new cultures

A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter and I had a “Mediterranean food day” where we shopped at Horizon Fresh International Market, Oasis International Market, then stopped by Shandiz Mediterranean Grill and Market on the way home for kabobs and tzatziki with naan.

The tastes and aromas brought me right back to my teenage years living in Crete, Greece, and provided the perfect opportunity to tell my daughter about bike trips to the local pita stand for feta and cucumber salad, my absolute favorite treat of saganaki, and especially the authentic Easter dinner we shared with our Greek neighbors who quickly became our lifelong friends.

My daughter and I enjoyed the theme day so much, that we did it again the next week: Asian style! Our favorite stops were at Hi Sweetie (@hisweetie_plano) for their amazing Pink Berry rolled ice cream and a boba tea. Then 99 Ranch Market, where we splurged on a variety of yummy sweet treats. From passion fruit-flavored Kit Kats to mochi gummies that we shared with cousins (to their great delight!) at the annual Soto family Easter egg hunt.

Food is the great unifier

Recently, the Collin County Mom’s contributor team organized a mom’s night out dinner at K-Town in Carrollton as part of my Collin County Cuisine Tour article on local Korean food hot spots. There’s nothing quite like sharing a meal with friends. Not only was it delicious and so much fun, it was an excellent opportunity to share stories about our comfort foods growing up, meal preparation in our homes, and tips on managing our picky eater kiddos.

So, why not put a twist on your girls’ night out dinners and try a new cuisine each month? Collin County is a richly diverse area where you can find something delicious from Argentinean fare in Plano (@bullagastrobar) to Afro-Fusion cuisine in The Colony (@zagafrofusion).

Explore different cultures through food in Collin County here & here.

Whether you immerse yourself in new cultures through traveling afar, eating local, or cooking at home, trying foods from around the world gives you (and your kiddos!) a greater appreciation for the beautiful diversity that makes us who we are.

Alisa’s 15 minutes of fame was as a news reporter just after college. These days, she embraces multiple roles – a mom of three (one teenager and two who are #adulting), a writing consultant, and a college application coach. When she’s not in a Zoom session, you can find her in her backyard with a chiminea fire. She loves indie movies, eclectic music, random road trips, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, her family "bubble", and her cat Jack Jack (although not necessarily in that order). She grew up as a military brat, residing in four countries and eleven states before settling in the Dallas area. After 20 years here, and with the help of her Aggie daughter, she can seamlessly use “y’all” and “howdy” in a sentence like a true Texan.