Food has the amazing ability to bring people together. Ever notice how the kitchen always seems to be where people congregate? Kids come home after school with their friends and head straight for the kitchen. Dinner guests hover by the fridge, asking if they can help with anything. And with March Break around the corner, your hungry teens and little ones will have so much more free time to spend snacking together, especially if you’re not going away this time of year.
If a sandy beach or foreign country aren’t part of your March Break plans, that’s okay. We’ve got a couple ideas to make your kitchen, living room, and dining room the hottest vacation spots there are!
Take your Vacation to the Kitchen
You don’t need a passport or a plane ticket to get to your kitchen cupboard, and neither do your friends or family. So get them to meet you there and all cook as a team.
Try to see cooking as a fun and creative activity, not as a chore that keeps you from dinner. The easiest way to do this is to put time aside for it. Don’t start cooking when you’re all already hungry or expect dinner to be ready in five minutes - a hungry chef is a grumpy chef. But when you frame it as a fun way to learn new skills, work together, and create something beautiful you can all enjoy later, it can be a great, inexpensive way to spend quality time with those you love.
Choose recipes that require a variety of specific tasks, instead of one general dish. And make sure your recipe is fairly forgiving - No souffles or finicky breads that need an expert’s touch. As head chef of your kitchen, delegate tasks to specific family members. Or, let someone different pick the recipe or be in charge every night. If you’ve got young kids, try splitting up tasks based on preparation rather than the actual cooking, which can be dangerous - Have a little one wash cauliflower, soak lentils or set the table. Pretend you’re all on your own cooking show, or that you are the highly qualified kitchen staff at The Ritz, cooking for royalty, celebrity or otherwise. Blast some music to get the mood right!
Why not theme your nights around a place or culture you’ve always wanted to experience? Make authentic cuisine from places all over the world, and enjoy it to themed music and entertainment. Prepare daal, roti and aloo gobi and follow dinner with a documentary or film set in lush, beautiful India. Or, make shrimp gumbo and cornbread, followed by some foot-stomping New Orleans jazz and a film set during Mardi Gras. You can be as detail oriented as you like! You’ll feel like you’re really there. Plus, it’s a great way to learn about a culture you may not have previously known much about, and, if you’ve got kids, to spark a love for trying out new foods and experiencing new cultures.
With these ideas, you can bring some spice to your regular kitchen routines and spend some time with the people - and food - you love. Let us know in the comment section below the way you make dinner at home fun!