Food is what gives us daily energy and nutrition to effectively function. It is also an integral part of most cultures and traditions. In fact, food’s emotional aspect binds Filipino families together (e.g., during reunion and Fiesta).
Upon entering an Interracial Marriage where the house has a fusion of different cultures (e.g., Filipina wife and Aussie husband), it can be challenging to introduce the wonders of Filipino cuisine. But, it is very possible! This is because our eating habits are consist of learned behaviors. You can train your kids to appreciate certain dishes earlier on and it will stick with them until they become adults.
If you want to train your family’s tastebuds to eat more Pinoy food, here are some genius tips and tricks that you can employ…
1. Ask for Their Help
Encourage your spouse and children to help out in the kitchen as well as in grocery shopping. If your loved ones become more involved in preparing and selecting the meals, they will be more interested to consume what they had created.
Start by taking your family to the grocery or the Filipino store. Allow your children to put the produce and ingredients in the cart or basket. Once they are old enough, let them peel the vegetables such as carrots and potatoes. These vegetables are essential to one of my favorite Pinoy dishes – the Pork Menudo.
You may invest in a sturdy stool so that your child can safely reach the kitchen counter without having to stand up on his or her cute tiptoes.
2. Start With the Basics
For your Aussie spouse and children who are not familiar with the unique flavors of the Filipino cuisine, it is advisable to introduce new foods gradually. Children are scared of new tastes by nature so it is best to start with the basics.
These are some of the basic or staple Pinoy dishes:
a. Adobo is made up of pork, chicken, or seafood simmered in a mixture of soy sauce and vinegar. It is the unspoken “national food” of the Philippines.
b. Champorado is simply a chocolate-flavored rice porridge. It is hot, rich, and satisfying especially in cold days.
c. Pancit consists of noodles that are layered with seafood, pork, tofu, eggs, vegetables, and sauce. It is traditionally served during occasions.
To increase the likelihood of behavior, praise your children for every meal they finish. Or you can give a tad of hero worship. For example, you can tell your children that the abundance of veggies in Chopsuey can help them become stronger and bigger.
3. Disguise the Filipino Taste
For a stubborn spouse or child that refuses to try the staple Pinoy dishes, you can employ some creative techniques such as sneaking Filipino ingredients by disguising them. If your children love to eat Dippy Dogs then, you can use Purefoods Tender Juicy hotdogs instead of other foreign brands.
Serve your Aussie spouse his or her beloved steak that is cooked in the “Pinoy Inasal” way. To mimic the taste of Inasal, you must marinade the steak in a mixture of lemongrass, ginger, ground black pepper, salt, garlic, brown sugar, vinegar, lemon-lime soda, and lemon juice. This will teach your BBQ-loving spouse to appreciate grilling – Filipino style.
4. Serve as a Role Model
If you are passionate about keeping your children’s Filipino roots, it is important to express your concern to your spouse. Set aside a portion of your day to communicate about the significance of integrating the Pinoy cuisine to your lives. Out of complete love and respect, I am sure that he or she will understand.
After successfully convincing (or tricking) your spouse to try some of the staple Pinoy dishes, you can serve as good role models for your children. Research has shown that children tend to imitate the eating habits of their parents. So if you like munching on “Turon” or “Lumpia”, your children will likely to take them too.
5. Make It Special
Make eating Pinoy meals special by dedicating a special day (every week) for it. For example, you can designate Fridays as Filipino Fridays – a day when your family eats 3 different local dishes that they personally choose. Children like to feel that they are in control so letting them pick will help boost their confidence. You can even let them set the table and arrange the chairs.
For you and your lover, you can set a sweet home-cooked dinner every week. Infuse the romantic and calming mood by lighting some candles. The purpose of having a special day every week (or every other week) is to make a habit of eating Filipino food.
Once this habit becomes deeply engraved in a person, the rest will follow.