About the Holiday
National Eat Better, Eat Together Month encourages families to gather for at least one meal a day. When families gather for a meal, they tend to make more balanced food choices. Uninterrupted time together also allows each member of the family share stories about their day and lets everyone laugh, commiserate, and build strong bonds. Spending more time together this year provides families the opportunity to get everyone involved in everything from choosing recipes and shopping to preparing and cooking the food to cleaning up. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics he benefits of eating together are wide ranging and can include better grades, better health, and fewer behavioral problems. To celebrate this holiday, make your own plans for family meals and discover how families from around the world enjoy their meals with today’s book!
Let’s Eat! Mealtime Around the World
Written by Lynne Marie | Illustrated by Parwinder Singh
If you’re raising a culinary conscious and curious kid satisfies that gnawing hunger for more information on world cuisine. Visiting families around the globe at breakfast, lunch, and dinner time, Lynne Marie offers up tidbits about what kids eat plus other interesting food facts. The first stop is China, where Yu Yan is enjoying a bowl of congee—or rice porridge—before heading out to school. This morning, the congee includes squid that her father has caught. Yu Yan “slurps loudly to show how much she likes it.”
High in the mountains of Peru, Luz is bundled up in the early morning air as she gets ready to help out with her grandfather’s llamas. First, she warms up with chuño cola—a soup made from freeze-dried potatoes. For Luz, breakfast usually consists of leftovers from dinner the night before. Hospitality is so important to people in the Philippines that one of the most common greetings is “‘Kumain ka na?’ meaning ‘Have you eaten yet?’” If not, you may be invited to join in a breakfast of spamsilog—a dish of fried SPAM, fried eggs, and garlic rice.
In Jamaica, Zhade and her mother make savory pastries filled with spicy ground beef. These can be eaten on their own or wrapped in coco bread—a soft, sweet bread—to make sandwiches. For Camille, living in France, lunch is a four-course meal served at school. Today, Camille and her friends are having “a cucumber and tomato salad, then a main course of roast beef with cooked broccoli. Next, a small plate of cheese, finished with apple tart for dessert.” It must not be Wednesday, though. In France, there’s no school on Wednesday afternoons. “Instead, many attend on Saturday mornings.”
It’s dinnertime for Priya, who lives in India. She and her family are at their favorite restaurant, where Priya has ordered Tandoori chicken. “Tandoori chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices then roasted in a tandoor, a round clay oven.” After dinner, she and her family go home to watch cricket on TV.
For many families in Sweden, Thursday dinners follow a tradition that goes back to the fifteenth century. Tonight, Hugo is having “pea soup and pancakes with lingonberry jam. Perfect for keeping warm on a cold winter night.” Lingonberry jam isn’t just for pancakes. It can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes.
At last! It’s time for dessert! In Egypt, Mandisa and her brother are enjoying basbousa—a coconut cake. They especially like it with a topping of rose-blossom or orange-blossom syrup that makes it taste extra sweet. In Nigeria, Chetachi can’t wait to dig into the bowl of tropical fruit sprinkled with coconut. It looks like his sister would like some too! All over the world, people sit down to meals with foods they love. Learning more about these dishes and trying them is a great way to feel a sense of community with other kids.
In her conversational tour around the world, Lynne Marie invites readers to sit down with their peers and enjoy a variety of meals and snacks while also learning a little about the history, culture, environment, and animals of each area. A question prompting readers to think about their own connection to food accompanies each two-page spread and offers an opportunity for classroom or home discussion and exploration.
Parwinder Singh populates his illustrations with enthusiastic kids dipping into soups, dishing up a plateful around the family dining table, helping out in the kitchen, and licking their fingers to enjoy every drop of a delicious treat. Singh’s colorful backdrops give kids a glimpse into the homes that nourish each child and the landscape that often influences the ingredients that make up their favorite foods.
Sure to spark children’s interest in tasting foods from around the world and learning more about the cultures of the thirteen countries represented here, Let’s Eat! Mealtime around the World makes for a deletable lead-in for social studies and geography lessons, events highlighting international foods, and multicultural explorations at home.
Ages 4 – 8
Beaming Books, 2019 | ISBN 978-1506451947
Discover more about Lynne Marie and her books on her website.
You can view a portfolio of artwork by Parwinder Singh on ArtStation.
Eat Better, Eat Together Month Activity
Pancake Flip-Out Game
A favorite family breakfast is pancakes! If you can’t get enough of pancakes at breakfast (or that other treat: breakfast for dinner), you can play this Pancake Flip-Out Game to fill your plate.
- Printable Pancakes Template
- Printable Breakfast Plate Template (or use your own paper plate or dish)
- Heavy stock paper, poster board, cardboard, or foam sheet
- Spatula (optional)
You can play this game several ways:
- Print and cut out the pancakes and plate (or use your own paper plate or other dish) and glue them to the heavy paper, poster board, or foam sheet
- Place the plate on the floor
- Draw 3 concentric circles around the plate about 12 inches apart. For younger children make the circles closer together.
- Give each player the same number of pancakes and choose someone to go first
- Each player takes turns tossing or flipping their pancakes, trying to get them onto the plate
- When a player has used all of their pancakes add up their score:
- Hitting the target can earn you 20 points
- Getting your pancake in the first circle around the plate earns you 15 point
- Hitting the second circle is worth 10 points
- Pancakes landing in the third circle are worth 5 points
Rotate through the players as many times as you like and add up the points at the end. The player with the most points wins!
Try this Option:
Instead of tossing the pancakes with your hands, try flipping them with a spatula!
Or: Make up your own rules—and have fun!
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