The other day, my nephew who is almost 2 years old, visited us with his mom, and was obsessed over the tomato plant I have at the front of my house.
This tomato plant was accidental, meaning it just showed up on my snake plant vase, after I used some home made compost on it. Now the tomato plant is huge, gifting us cherry tomatoes regularly. The snake plant is also doing well, thank you very much.
My nephew went home with one tomato in each hand, smiling pretty big, and left me thinking about my childhood… and tomatoes.
Tomatoes remind me of Sunday lunches with my family. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day here in Brazil. And, Sunday lunches are usually special, with special meats, which are always accompanied by a pasta dish loaded with tomato sauce.
Of course, this is impacted by my family’s Italian heritage. I won’t assume everyone else here has the same traditions.
I grew up surrounded by women cooking, my mother, sister, aunts, and grandmothers. On Sundays, I was able to enjoy more time with them while they cooked.
(actual picture of a gnocchi dish from a Sunday family lunch – yes, that’s a lot of tomato sauce!)
I have already talked here on the blog about how I believe food is a huge part of our culture, and cooking with kids is a great form of education for cultural immersion.
My own experience of cooking with my family as a kid made me feel more connected to the people I was surrounded by, but also to our culture.
Our family culture has been passed on by tradition. Hearing my mom telling stories about her nonna, how she made the “best bread in the world” while we cooked, or how my grandmother would grab little pieces of bread drenched in tomato sauce before lunchtime, are some of the memories I hold dear to my heart.
Today I see how special those moments were with my family. The things that seemed commonplace at the time were actually big immersions into my inherited culture. And all the while, we were creating more and more family traditions.
Culture is interconnected with food through many ways, such as history and tradition. Cooking can be an active action of putting culture into practice.
Engaging kids in cooking can be a great way of immersing them in culture. So they can learn and live their inherited cultures to better understand where they came from.
Also, cooking can enable us to feel more connected with cultures that are very distant and different from our own.
Cooking with kids can be a great way to foster empathy and to teach how what makes us different is just a sign of the richness of our world.
Sharing is caring is a popular saying not by chance, it has many layers of meanings, and I think that one of them is that sharing moments with people, not only kids, is a great part of what makes us humans and helps us grow together. If you would like to share more with people around the world, your recipes, slices of your life and your culture, and you’re a video content creator, check out our Amara Free Editor and subtitle your videos in all the languages you speak. You can also get your friends and followers to subtitle them in the languages they speak, so people from all over the world can have access to it. Everyone deserves a tomato from the tomato plant!