Tuesday, June 22, 2010
African Fruit Salad - A Lesson in Geography, Food, & Fun
My four year old has been cooking since she could stand on a step stool next to me. We try to make several things a week, both for the fun of it, and to have healthy, good things around to snack on. Thanks to a well stocked pantry, some of our cooking sessions are impromptu, while others are planned. A few weeks ago, Quin picked a book at the library called Desserts from Around the World. It is a book for older kids but is quite suitable for small children and their parents. The first chapter has the most words and shares different parts of the world and the desserts that are common in each. Quin and I both enjoy curling up with a cookbook and dreaming of what we will make so we looked at a few recipes and their photos before bed each night.
Because we had a large box of mangoes that needed to be used, we decided to make the African Fruit Salad. We also had the bananas and pineapple on hand, but we made a special trip to the store to find a papaya. We actually had to go to two stores as part of this adventure and in the end I bought a not-quite-ripe papaya because it was all they had. For tips on selecting mangoes, pineapple, papaya, and other tropical fruits check out this great link. Quin loves to try new foods, and has not had fresh papaya since I was making her baby food. I recommend a fruit salad as a good way of introducing new fruits to kids.
Africa, on a vintage globe
This is also a good recipe to pair with a geography lesson. We have a vintage globe, which is not the best for showing Quin specific countries, but which she loves to play with so it engages her. It is fine for talking using to show her the continents. We were also able to talk a bit about how in parts of Africa, as in most parts of the world, including Canada, that there are people who are hungry and who need our help. I don't get very political with my small children but I do think it is important to talk about all we have, so we can be grateful for it, and so we can decide how we can help others who are in need.
African Fruit Salad
From the book, Desserts from Around the World
~ Two bananas, sliced
~ One mango, chopped
~ One papaya, seeded and chopped
~ One pineapple, chopped
Slice and chop all of the fruit into bite sized pieces, combine in a bowl, and serve. If you want to make this ahead of time, do not add the banana. The other fruit will keep 1-2 days when refrigerated. Just add the banana when you are ready to eat it.