Like so many other families, spring break 2020 took a drastically different turn thanks to COVID-19. Since we had to cancel travel plans and didn’t have schoolwork, our family decided to virtually travel . . . at the dinner table. What started out as a way to spend some QT together cooking and sharing a meal morphed into a full immersion experience with music, food, drink, and of course, festive attire.
We each chose a country and researched cultural (according to the internet) recipes to create a menu for dinner each night. Cooking is therapeutic for me, so I poured a glass of the local drink and considered it a practice in being present.
When we began cooking, we’d turn on native music (Alexa, play British Invasion), and we’d start the party. My daughter suggested we dress up, so we scrambled around the house looking for something that signified the culture of each country’s look. My apologies to every nation all over the world.
As you can see from the photos, we all took the dress-up component to different extremes.
My son is a big soccer fan so he researched some of his favorite soccer players from each country. My husband, on the other hand, went for a more subtle approach. He was insistent the blue shirt had the ultimate travel versatility. Previous Halloween costumes doubled as Brazilian carnival headwear and props were encouraged. Creativity awards were handed out to everyone. And of course, no family is complete without their four-legged family member, and our dog Biscuit didn’t want to miss out on the fun.
Our recipes ranged from really simple dishes to more advanced than I like to accomplish on a weeknight, but frankly, all we had was time, so we gave it a shot.
Did we realize we needed an ice cream maker to make a few of our desserts? Yes. Did that stop us? No!
In addition to our newfound cooking knowledge, we all came to the table with a fun fact we learned while doing our evening prep. It also gave us a few new talking points.
We decided to document our daily adventure mostly because we could not stop laughing when we showed up in full dining attire. And I knew at some point in the future I would want to remember this time when the world stopped, and we had to show up as parents anyway.
Sitting around a table is my favorite way to hit pause and reconnect with my family—even during busy times.
I started sharing the photos with my girlfriends from college, and it was such a light-hearted pick-me-up each day I thought I’d share them with you. I hope other families get a good laugh and maybe we inspire a few others to travel from their kitchen table, too.
Our Travel Menu
Baked Fish and Chips
Sauteed English Peas with Garlic and Sesame
Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo)
Brazilian Beef Stew (Picadinho)
Brigadeiero Ice Cream
Ton Katsu Pork
Green Tea Matcha Frozen Yogurt
Italian Caesar Salad
Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Pecorino Cheese
Chicken Marsala with Mustard and Mascarpone
Chocolate Ricotta Pudding with Strawberry Sauce
French Onion Soup
Sauteed Chicken in Riesling
Crepes with Nutella
- Read the recipe at least three times before making something. Realizing something needs to marinate for five hours or freeze for six hours at the last minute is a bummer.
- Try food before you say you don’t like it. None of us were big pea fans, but we all really liked the English preparation.
- Start cooking a bit earlier than usual. One day we had a 9:30 dining time because we ran out of pots and pans and started too late.
- Cooking, especially with your kids, can and WILL get messy.
- It is absolutely OK to be silly!
- Take pictures!
Previously published on Palm Beach Moms