The world is a big place & eating is the perfect way to take it in.

[caption id="attachment_15258" align="aligncenter" width="560" caption="The boys at a Parmesan dairy in Italy"][/caption] I can't help but end travel week with a few thoughts on why I think travel—near or far, luxe or on a budget, by plane, train or automobile—is so important. And, yes, I realize that the timing for this may seem strange, but I wanted to reflect on travel at a time when you're not likely to be busy traveling. Hopefully you have time to consider what you want travel to mean for your family before gearing up for the holiday travel season, when travel will mean decisions, logistics, and planning. Difference is a big concept for little ones. It takes years for young children to understand that not every home is like their own. Friends and neighbors are our children’s first exposure to differences, but imagining diversity on a global scale isn't something that children can start to do until they are at least 8- or 9-years-old. Travel is an amazing way to help young children picture the world's many peoples, places, and cultures. It makes difference concrete and relatable, but it can also feel strange. That's where food comes in. Food is universal. It connects us all and, even when foreign food feels strange, it's always a comfort to be fed. The food of another place or culture may be unfamiliar, but the drive to nourish and be nourished is a shared experience that connects us all; it is a reminder that we are more the same than we are different. (more after the jump)

All the Cinco de Mayo recipes you could ever want… and then some.

Monday is Cinco de Mayo and, if you've been following for a while, you know that means I'll be celebrating this weekend. It's one of my favorite holidays though, I have to admit, for no other reason than I love Mexican culture, food, and drink. Any excuse to celebrate the three is a treat for me. With these Cinco de Mayo recipes and family activities, it can be a treat for you, too. Cinco de Mayo is one of those holidays that gifts us an opportunity to use food and drink to explore culture with our kids. Yes, our my interest in the holiday started with guacamole and my favorite drink—rocks, no salt—but all's not lost in margaritaville. Give the holiday meaning by using delicious Mexican food and drink to learn more about Mexico and Mexican culture with your kids. Read up on Cinco de Mayo, doll up your digs, whip up a festive meal, and do a fun project (ideas for all of this below!). Eat, celebrate and learn. It's a beautiful combination. (so much more after the jump)

{video} Making Tea Eggs with kids to celebrate Chinese New Year

Video Tuesday is back, in 2014 style! Today we're celebrating Chinese New Year with delicious Chinese Tea Eggs, which make an awesome cultural kitchen project with kids. After today, I'll, once again, be posting a video at least every other Tuesday Be sure to subscribe to the One Hungry Mama YouTube channel to make sure you don't miss a thing. And, if you haven't been following along, start watching! These school lunch videos are my most popular—so many ideas! And who doesn't need more healthy snack recipes? Chinese New Year is around the corner: let the festivities begin! This year, we're ushering in the year of the horse. And, while I'm not quite sure what that means, I know this: Chinese New Year offers us a spectacularly fun opportunity to use food to talk to our kids about culture. And, you know, eat lots of delicious Chinese food. (more after the jump)

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

I have an August fruit problem. It seems that no matter how much I buy, I can never get around to whipping up all of the things I plan on making. Instead, we just eat it all fresh. I think, "I'll just buy double," and then we eat double the amount of fresh fruit. And forget it when I'm dealing with fruit that we've picked ourselves! There's no amount that we can harvest that will keep us from eating every piece just as it came off of the tree or bush. It's just too good. These Blueberry Crumb Muffins are different, though. They were an unexpected exception. Because as good as freshly picked fruit is, it turns out that using your freshly picked fruit to cook something with your child—engaging them in the entire experience, from farm to table—is even better. (more after the jump)

How to quick pickle some more: Overnight Refrigerator Pickles

Last week I carried on about my ever-growing fondness of quick pickles with a quick tutorial on how-to quick pickle garnishes like quick-pickled grapes and lime pickled red onions. Today's quick pickles are just as quick to prep—you need 10 minutes to make these overnight refrigerator pickles happen—but they sit overnight instead of an hour. It's a longer soak, but totally unattended and you end up with something so much more than a garnish. These are summer snack heaven, perfect for a cooling afternoon treat, picnic in the park or backyard BBQ. These can be made with other summer produce like carrots and peppers and are a perfect way to get kids in the kitchen. Little ones can easily help make these and, while they do, they get to touch, smell and feel gorgeous in-season produce. And with no pressure to eat it (unless, of course, they want to snack while they prep)! Instead, they get to wait overnight and see how a simple combination of vinegar, water, salt and sugar completely changes the way the veggies taste and feel. It's like a science experiment. A healthy, delicious one. (watch after the jump)

{VIDEO} Get kiddo excited about veggies away from the pressures of mealtime

There's so much talk these days about how to get kids to eat vegetables, but not a whole lot about how to get them to love veggies. (You know, eventually.) This whole teaching kids to eat healthy thing is not just about getting nutrients down the gullet. After all, we could do that with supplements and protein shakes. It's really about fostering a love of healthy food that will sustain them over the course of their lives. And, sometimes, it's easier to do that while away from the pressures of meal time. Watch my latest video to get my three favorite tips for how to inspire veggie love. They are foolproof: there's no way any of these will end in tears over green beans. I promise. You can also get my reading list after the jump. (more after the jump)

Making homemade tortillas with kids. (Oh, how Cinco de Mayo has changed.)

Then: Margaritas. Lots of them. Chips and guacamole. More margaritas. Tequila shots. A bite of someone's enchiladas. Wait. Who's food did I just eat? Is that even our table? Dancing. Lots of dancing. Just one last tequila shot? Margarita? Whatever. Sleep. At some point. Now: A skinny girl margarita. Whatever, they aren't so bad. Just one is fine. Fish tacos! The hungry baby doesn't want fish tacos? Shit. Okay, just give him taco bites or let him eat chips tonight, for all I care. Kitchen project with mama! Homemade tortillas. Seriously. Proof after the jump. Pre-dinner dance party. Carly Rae Jepsen for the 15th time in a row. Ugh. Dinner. Happiness. Kids to bed. Did I say I was done? I was wrong: tequila shots! Who am I kidding? Just one. Skinnygirl, that is. Sleep. And it's only 9 p.m. Cinco de Mayo, you aren't what you used to be, but I love you anyway. Now, about making those homemade tortillas with the kids... (more after the jump)

Global Foods at the Family Table

Indian-style Spinach with Chickpeas I was recently invited to host a second week of "Perspectives" posts on the site of famed "green" pediatrician—and one of my most trusted parenting experts—Dr. Alan Greene. Given my deepest respect for Dr. Greene, you can imagine how honored I was to be asked back. (Plus, I could wipe the sweat off my brow: It's always good to know that you didn't botch things up the first time around!) Instead of focusing on recipes this time, I contributed a series of content on parenting towards healthier and more adventurous family eating. My favorite piece is on a topic that we haven't talked about in a while: bringing global foods to the family table. Serving global cuisines at the family table is more than just having fun with food. Beyond the opportunity to expand your children’s palate, serving global foods is an opportunity for them to build an understanding of the larger world around them. An openness to global cuisines creates a range of experiences from a willingness to try new flavor combinations to a curiosity about other peoples and cultures. If your child is not accustomed to eating ethnic foods, introducing them can be a challenge. After all, they often look, smell and taste completely unfamiliar. Hop on over to Dr. Greene's site for my 7 tips for successfully introducing global foods. The good news is that my tips work for introducing ANY new foods, from a Middle Eastern Mujaddara to a very simple and straightforward Lemony Pasta with Ricotta, Peas and (their least favorite vegetable) Asparagus. (more after the jump)

Pop, pop, gobble, gobble

How fun is this paper bag turkey?! It's suggested as a centerpiece for the kids table, but if you're not down with turkey day age segregation, you can just set it out for the kiddos, maybe as an afternoon nibble to tide them over before dinner? Get the tutorial at one charming party. It's so easy and ridiculously cute. [via design mom]

Celebrating joy this Food Day 2012

Today marks the second national Food Day, a celebration of healthy eating created by Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and powered by a diverse coalition of food movement leaders, organizations, and you. There is no life without food. Food is health, family, connectedness, and pleasure. It is joy. Yet our American diet is contributing to health problems at a severity never seen before, for children and grownups alike. Our food isn't just making us sick, the way it's produced is also harming farmers, the environment, and the animals we rely on to keep us well fed. We've made cooking a chore and replaced the pleasure of simple home cooked foods with the cheap high that comes from the extreme sweet and salt of processed foods. The food issues that we face as a nation of parents caring for the first generation of children with a life expectancy shorter than our own—along with financial pressures, limited family time, and sheer exhaustion—have stolen our joy for food. Today I ask you to stand with me and take one step towards reclaiming it. The Food Day site will tell you that today is about sustainable food options, eradicating hunger, farm worker justice, access to and knowledge about healthier choices. To me, though, Food Day is about bringing joy back to the family table. The joy of feeling good about what you put in your body. The joy of knowing that you're doing right by your family. The joy of knowing that your choices support your local and global community. The joy of taking pleasure in small actions. Food Day isn't about making a fancy farm-to-table meal (unless you want it to be!). For us busy parents, today is about moving the needle towards joy, even if just by a hair. We can transform our diet and we can even work together to transform the American diet, but even revolutions start with small actions. And small actions earn dedication when they bring joy. So, today, to celebrate Food Day, do just one thing around just one family mealtime that celebrates the joy of healthy eating. Whatever it is—whether scrambling eggs from a local farm for a simple dinner or asking a farmer at the market to tell you about a vegetable you've never eaten before—seek out the same easy joy you feel when biting into a perfectly ripe peach or sitting down to a holiday meal with people you love. Those moments crystallize the joy of food and we can choose to feel them everyday. Starting today. (more, including ways to get involved, after the jump)

The Great Pea Experiment. (And Lemony Pasta with Ricotta, Asparagus & Peas)

Have green peas hit your farmer's market? Not snap peas (though those are great, as well), but rather proper English peas. (You'll be happy to know that I'm off of the Spanish accent, but less happy to hear that I cannot say "English peas" without putting on a bloody horrible British accent.) The fresh green peas here in New York are gorgeous—plump, firm and cheery. Kinda like my bum, but green. (Groan.) Peas are well loved in my house. Well they are by the big one; the little one accepts them, which is better than most vegetables. As a result, we eat peas frequently, so frequently that the kids have started requesting handfuls of the frozen kind. I hand them over reluctantly, insisting that they don't eat too many. (I imagine that they'll become like those bead-stuffed beanie babies.) "Wait for dinner!" I nag. But they don't care. Honestly, I'm not sure why I bother since a frozen pea isn't that different from a frozen pea that's been steamed. But fresh peas are a whole different game. This they learned the other night while feasting on this lemony pasta tossed with shaved asparagus, fresh peas, fresh ricotta and mint. (more after the jump)

{parenting} Table Talk with The Family Dinner and HuffPo, Meal Courtesy of OHM

I love Laurie David and her Family Dinner team. If you know who I'm talking about and are familiar with the indispensable book The Family Dinner, then I'm sure that you love them, too. If you don't know who or what I'm talking about, allow me the pleasure to introduce you to a new favorite family food resource. (more after the jump)

{sponsored} Spot the FIAT: The Road to Casa Barilla

I've made no secret that Rome is my favorite city in the world. That makes Italy a very special place to me. I feel at home there. The people, the fashion, the warmth... the food. Oh, the FOOD! Given my passion for Italy—and Italian food—it was a no-brainer to say, "Si!" when asked to celebrate the Summer of Italy with Barilla, an exciting six-week celebration of authentic Italian food and culture with lots of on-line fun and a bunch of special events in my hometown, New York City. All of the events leads up to the first U.S. Casa Barilla, a four-day celebration in New York's Central Park from September 13-16 featuring cooking classes, food and culture workshops, children's activities and more. I've been having a blast galavanting around NYC to attend Summer of Italy events like the Barilla Meal for a Meal giveaway/fundraiser, all of which are open to the public. And now I'm happy to report that the road leading up to Casa Barilla just got a little more adventurous! (more after the jump)

{cravings} Eat Play Grow Table

I'm FREAKING OUT over how much I love this idea. Desgined by Ruth Vatcher, this vegetable or herb "growing table" was created to encourage children to grow and prep their own food. Placed inside a child's natural dwelling (the kitchen, their bedroom), Ruth's idea is to "integrate healthy living into a child’s life from a young age." (more after the jump)

{food & learning} DIY Lemonade Stand Kit

What better way to connect food and learning—and pass a hot summer day—than by setting up a lemonade stand? Planning, creating, writing, counting, communicating and connecting with the good folks in your community: setting up a lemonade stand engages children in a rich educational experience. And, most importantly, is just plain fun. You don't need much to get a stand up and running. Lemons, water and sugar—strawberries, too, if you want to offer a pink version. Some chairs, paper and markers. If you want to craft it up a notch, you can also print up these ridiculously sweet (and free!) lemonade stand printables from one of my favorite party sites, One Charming Party (the same brilliant folks behind our favorite ice cream cone party hat). (more after the jump)

Peko Peko: A Cookbook To Support Japan’s Recovery

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake created a massive tsunami that devastated Japan’s north coast. The worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl followed in its wake. Thousands are dead or still missing. And aftershocks continue. Just yesterday a 6.7-magnitue quake rattled the northeast and was felt in Tokyo. Japan’s recovery will take years, and my hope is that, together, we can help a little bit (or hopefully a whole lot) through sales of Peko Peko: Family-Friendly Japanese Recipes, my cookbook to support recovery in Japan. (more after the jump)