Teaching Our Kids History Through Food

We are blessed to live in a wonderful country that is a melting pot full of many different cultures and traditions that are passed down from generation to generation. And a big part of culture and traditions is food. Isn’t it just fascinating how almost every country (and even regions within countries), in general, have their own tastes and spices they use and love to make their everyday foods? Think of how different Mexican food is from Chinese food. Or Indian food compared to French cuisine. These families share their recipes with family members and it continues to go on and on throughout the generations. How awesome!

Lately I have been reminiscing about some of the special meals or foods that my mom would prepare for my family that really had a story or a heritage to go with it. Eating, or even thinking about eating these foods brings a warmness to my heart and I want to pass down these stories and traditions with my own family.

One of the things we would eat all the time is cornbread and milk. You crumble up cornbread and pour milk over it, usually in a glass, and eat it with a spoon.

A lot of people like it with buttermilk, and some even like fresh cracked pepper over it. After researching the history of cornbread and milk I saw the rich history that this particular snack has for many families in America. It seems to have started right around the Depression and I couldn’t believe how many people in the comments for the articles eat this all the time. Some people even have a glass of it every night before bed! This is a very common snack for people, especially in the South, and it is one I want to teach my kids about and have it with them every once in a while, just because.

Another dish my mom would make comes from the military and it is called S.O.S , or “Stuff on Shingles” (to put it nicely) or it is also called cream chipped beef on toast. It is a dish where you take dried beef (or I believe my mom just used hamburger) and cook it in a roux and serve it over toast.

This was a notorious meal for the military and even in the depression era because it is cheap and could stretch their rations. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite meal, but it is easy and super filling. Once again, I would like to make it for my family when I can tell them the stories about their great grandfather eating this in the military. I might wait a few years until they can appreciate because I’m not sure this meal would go over so well with picky toddlers :).

In my husband’s family they have this very particular stuffing they make every year for Thanksgiving that has rotisserie chicken and a ton of sage in it. It has a very strong flavor and has grown on my a lot over the years but it is definitely one I will continue to make and pass down to my kids so they can know this recipe that has been in my husband’s family for generations.

After learning some of the history of these meals, whether it be family history or American history, and after hearing my mom’s stories about how these meals came about in her house it warms my heart with American pride and makes me feel a stronger connection to my ancestors when doing this. I would love to hear of any recipes your family passes down from generation to generation , or you’ll have to let me know if you have ever had cornbread and milk or SOS, since it seems a LOT more people eat these meals than I thought! :)

  •   www.businessinsider.com
  •   www.seriouseats.com
  •   www.wikipedia.org
  •   www.nutmegnanny.com

    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! mary@dvo.com

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