We like to have 'world food' on Tuesday nights at our house. My life works much better when a predictable rhythm is set so we have:
- Sunday night roast chicken
- Monday left-over chicken - soup in winter, salad or tacos in summer
- Tuesdays- world food
- Wednesday- pasta
- Thursday- fish and rice
- Friday- we make pizza and popcorn for movie night
- Saturday- no plan or leftovers since we're usually away from the house
It makes shopping so much easier to have a simple plan. The recipes change from week to week but I know what I need to buy. Once I finally started doing this I could not believe the difference in my grocery bill and how easy it was.
Many of our dishes every night of the week have a heavy ethnic influence, but on Tuesdays we like to try something from a cookbook from another country that we haven't tried before. The girls really get into this and love looking through cookbooks to pick something out. We usually get our cookbooks at the library but have been known to go to a bookstore with pad and paper and copy recipes. The web also has TONS of recipes with pictures- the only kind they will consider.
I am a huge fan of fusion foods and tweaking recipes to fit our food preferences. We substitute sugar in recipes with agave, we use buckwheat, spelt or flax pasta in pasta dishes, lime or lemon in place of vinegar, etc. and that way they still work for us yet we can try new flavors without the side effects of eating something that we normally wouldn't. I see a lot of people on gluten free diets for example eating the same few packaged foods from the health food store labeled 'gluten-free' over and over again. Narrowing our food choices down to a few repeated items is an excellent way to build up an allergy over time to that food and encourage picky eating. Variety really is the spice of life.
It's fun to have a few ethnic plates around for serving but certainly not necessary.
Our ethnic meals always include ethnic table manners- it is ok to slurp noodles from the Orient. We eat Indian and Moroccan food with our right hands, very proper upright manners for British food, fork and spoon for Italian food, etc.