This is the culmination of several ideas I've had over the past year. It started when I realized that people (especially Americans) have a close-minded view of people and issues that take place outside of our borders. When I was 18 years old, I studied abroad in Japan for a summer through Youth For Understanding. And during one of the orientations before we left, there was an example of cultural awareness that has always stuck with me. They had someone put on a pair of yellow sunglasses and told us it represented us being an American. And there was someone who was standing seven or eight feet away wearing blue sunglasses who represented the host country. The person with the yellow glasses walked over to the person with blue glasses. At first you would only see things through your yellow glasses. But after a while, you saw things differently. And it wasn't because you changed glasses. It was because you put on their glasses too. The point was -- or at least the point I got from it -- was that you never really stop seeing things from the point of view you grew up with. But by observation and cultural awareness and being open to new ideas, you can put on their glasses and see some of what they see too. You can learn to see it both ways. That's the great thing about learning about new cultures: you learn to see things in a new light that you had not considered before. It seems sometimes that we're taught it's an innate behavior to disregard new ideas, things that are anathema to what we've been taught. It shouldn't be that way, though. Diversity makes us stronger, as people and as a global society.
In many of my travels, both domestic and abroad, I've found that there are many things to be learned over food. Food and the preparation of it is one of the basic fundamental practices of human survival. We need food to survive; that's true. But it's also much deeper than that. Food is used as a means of celebration and for milestones, for rituals and special events. There's a lot to learn of a country or an area by what the people eat, how they prepare it, and how they eat it. Cooking and preparation become a family affair, even including the young children, and it strengthens the core of the family unit.
The whole focal point of this is to teach my six-year-old daughter and my three-year-old son about different countries and different cultures so that they will learn that we are all people, all members of the human race. We just can't continue to keep living as if different races, genders, religious backgrounds, and/or socio-economic statuses are a bad thing. Diversity is the key of life. I've learned that there are more similarities between people overall than there are differences. So, I suppose that's the whole point that I wanted to instill in my children: it takes all kinds to make a world.
I'm using a list of UN member countries from Wikipedia as the basis of the countries I'm using. Every weekend following payday, I'll make one entree and try to make one bread product. (My husband and I are HUGE fans of bread.) This originally started out just trying to make an array of bread products from around the world (hence the name of the blog), but I choose an entree as well so we can sit down to dinner. I think dinner habits are interesting and important to family life. It says a lot about a culture. I'm not domesticated by any means; I'm more of an academic. So, this is something COMPLETELY new to me. I'm pretty sure this will be a learning experience for everyone. Look forward to the first country in about a week: Afghanistan.