Think Globally, Cook Locally.
Kitchen Passports: Trinidad and Tobago invites young cooks and their adult helpers to drop everything and travel to Trinidad and Tobago – right in their own kitchens. Each recipe is a passport to tasty ingredients and yummy dishes enjoyed in Trinidad and Tobago, the second largest nation in the West Indies. Kitchen Passports aims to encourage kids to travel through their taste buds, to create meals and share them with others, and to learn about a culture unfamiliar to them, all while developing their skills as young cooks.
This project began when my daughter started helping me in the kitchen when she was about 18 months old. She learned what a circle is by stirring batter in a bowl in small and large circles. When my son was old enough, he joined us in the kitchen, squishing, mixing, and cutting ingredients to include in dishes the whole family would eat. As they cook with my husband and I, our children are also learning how to make foods that we grew up eating – for my husband, foods largely from Trinidad and Tobago.
While this project began as a way to figure out how to make cooking fun and accessible for my own young children, I now want to make our kitchen journeys available to other children and their families.
Kitchen Passports is easy to navigate. The recipes are organized by level of difficulty – 1 island recipes, 2 island recipes, and 3 island recipes. There are 30 recipes in all. Colorful photographs (some shot on location in Trinidad) accompany each recipe. There are also special notes about cooking tips and cultural, social, and other information about Trinidad. Scattered throughout the cookbook are postcards from a young girl growing up in Trinidad.
Recognizing that there are no children’s cookbooks focusing on Trinidadian cuisine, Kitchen Passports provides young chefs with unique opportunities to create healthy, fun, traditional foods that would otherwise be too difficult for them to make. Inspired by early memories of cooking with my parents as a child, I designed the cookbook to answer these questions: How can we involve kids more in making the food they eat? How can kids become more excited about trying new foods and, through them, experiencing different cultures? How can children develop their literacy skills – reading, social, and cultural literacies – through their kitchen travels?
I adapted some of the recipes – all of which were tested by young chefs in homes and in classrooms – from traditional recipes provided by my mother-in-law and her mother; both were born and raised in Trinidad. Most of the recipes take ingredients common in Trinidad cuisine – like mangoes and curry – and use them in dishes that allow children to experiment with different spices in a more familiar food context – for instance, putting pineapples in buttermilk pancakes.
The cookbook can be used at home and in a classroom environment.
Your backing will go towards the $6000 needed to fund the design, layout, publishing, copyrighting and printing of Kitchen Passports: Trinidad and Tobago.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments.
Photographs by Paloma Torres; Trinidad photographs by Crystal D. Furlonge.