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Q:

My partner and I have different food preferences and cooking styles. How can we find common ground in meal planning for our multicultural family?

Hello everyone,

I need some advice on meal planning for my multicultural family. My partner and I come from different cultural backgrounds and have quite different food preferences and cooking styles. I grew up in a Chinese household and prefer lots of vegetables and lean protein, while my partner is from an Italian background and loves heavy pasta dishes with rich meat sauces.

We also have kids who have their own preferences and picky eating habits. It has been a challenge trying to please everyone at the dinner table!

We want to find common ground and compromise so that we can enjoy meals together as a family without constantly having disagreements or complaints. Any suggestions or tips on how we can achieve this? Is there a way to blend our cultural cuisines together or find recipes that appeal to everyone's taste buds?

Thank you in advance for your help!

All Replies

dario83

Hello everyone,

I faced similar meal planning difficulties in my family as my partner is a vegetarian, while I am a non-vegetarian. Moreover, he has a sweet tooth, while I prefer savory food. But with some collaboration and creativity, we managed to find common ground.

What has worked for us is finding recipes that use substitutes for meat products. For instance, we found that mushrooms were an excellent substitute for meat in a lot of recipes. We also opted for recipes that include lentils, beans, and chickpeas, which are protein-packed and great substitutes for meat.

We also started to get creative with our desserts - I try to make some more savory desserts like baklava, while he incorporates more fruits and healthy options like oatmeal cookies. We try to put a little spin on each other's favorite desserts and make a blend of both savory and sweet.

Another technique that has worked for us is having a theme night where all dishes revolve around a specific ingredient. For instance, mushroom night, where we make different dishes where mushrooms are a primary ingredient.

Lastly, exposing each other to different cuisines and trying new dishes as a team. We found that attempting to cook a dish from a different culture brings new flavors to the table.

I hope these tips help your meal planning for your multicultural family!

lera.okuneva

Hey,

I understand your situation, as I was also found myself in a similar place a few years ago. I was raised in an Indian household and enjoyed lots of spicy and flavorful dishes, while my partner is from a German family and loves sausages and potatoes. We also had kids with their own distinct food choices, and I used to feel quite overwhelmed with meal planning.

To start with, my partner and I made an effort to learn about each other's food preferences and cultures. This helped us understand each other’s taste buds and preferences which in turn helped us in finding recipes that we both enjoy.

One strategy that worked for us was to opt for "build-your-own" styled meals that cater to different preferences. For instance, we'd make tacos with lots of protein options for me and vegetarian options for the kids. We'll have different toppings like beans, salsa, cheese, vegetables, and so on, and everyone can choose their favorite toppings to make it their own.

Another thing that worked was scheduling different nights for each family member to choose the meals. This helped in rotating our favorite food choices and nobody felt left out. Kids enjoyed it as they got to pick their favorite meals once a week.

Lastly, we communicate regularly about meal planning and food preferences. We keep trying new cultural dishes and experiments with different ingredients to find a balance in taste.

I hope these tips help in some way, and you find the common ground to make meal planning easier for your family.

destiny.lueilwitz

Hi,

I have faced a similar challenge in meal planning with my partner, who is from a Korean family, and I am from a Jamaican family. Korean cuisine tends to emphasize spicy and savory flavors, while Jamaican cuisine has more bold flavors and spices.

One solution that we found was to create fusion food that blends different tastes and spices from our cultures. For example, we would make a dish like bibimbap with jerk chicken, or Korean-style fried chicken with Jamaican spices. This way, we get to enjoy the flavors of both cultures.

Another helpful strategy is to incorporate ingredients that both cultures use commonly. For example, both cultures use rice, so we would make rice dishes that work for both of us, like kimchi fried rice or Jamaican rice and peas.

We also make an effort to diversify our meal planning by incorporating meals from other cultures that we both like, like Mexican or Italian cuisine. This way, it's less about our individual preferences and more about finding common ground in the love for different ethnic foods.

Communication is always important, and we make sure to discuss our food choices and preferences regularly. We also involve our kids in meal planning and give them choices from our fusion recipes to build their palettes too.

I hope these suggestions help you in planning meals with a multicultural family. It can be challenging to find a common ground, but with a little creativity and cooperation, it’s possible to enjoy meals together.

vivienne.lueilwitz

Hello,

My partner and I have also struggled with meal planning due to our different cultural and individual preferences. He enjoys spicy foods and vegetables, while I love sweet dishes and produce heavy on carbs. We refrained from making meals that only one person would enjoy, as that will only increase hostility at the dinner table.

What has worked brilliantly for us is a meal planning program. We both sit together and make out a plan for the week. We put in our preferences, and based on that, we search for recipes that include an element from each of our preferences.

We also chop veggies and fruits for the week on Saturday mornings. This way, it's far easier to fit them in daily meals as we have a collection of half-prepared products on hand. It's a fun activity that aligns with kids too.

Plus, we also took an interest in each other's culture and incorporated each other's favorite cuisines onto our menu. We buy cookbooks based on each other's cultural diets and preferences.

Lastly, we experiment with new ingredients and dishes collectively. We search for surrogates foods that can be substituted for what either of us dislikes. It comes in handy when we don't want to compromise.

I hope these tips help. It's difficult to plan meals that satisfy every individual of a multi-faceted family. But making small changes and expanding your palate can bring significant positive changes.

iharber

Hey there,

I totally understand your situation, as I too have been in the same boat. My spouse and I are from different cultural backgrounds, and we have different food preferences as well. He's from a Japanese family and prefers raw fish and vegetables, and I'm from an American family and enjoy hearty meals like burgers and steaks.

To find a common ground for our meal planning, we decided to make small adjustments in our cooking styles. We usually divide our meal into two parts - side dishes and the main course. This way, we both can cook whatever we want for side dishes and then compromise on the main dish.

Another approach that has worked for us is exploring new recipes that combine our preferences. For example, we make sushi rolls with cooked shrimp or crab meat and avocado to add my flavor preferences. Similarly, we mix Japanese pickles with vegetables to make a salad with a dressing of our choice.

We sometimes also make an effort to take turns cooking meals so that neither of us feels left out. We also encourage our kids to experiment with new foods and flavors and try to incorporate their preferences into our meal planning.

Lastly, we always communicate clearly about what we want and make an effort to understand each other’s cooking style and preferences. Even small changes in meal planning can bring great results.

I hope these tips help you in finding common ground for meal planning in your multicultural family.

marcelle37

Hi there,

I completely understand your dilemma! My partner and I also come from different cultural backgrounds and have different tastes when it comes to food. I am Hispanic and grew up eating flavorful dishes with lots of spices and carbs, while my partner is from the south and loves greasy comfort food with lots of fried meats and potatoes.

What has worked for us is compromising on certain things. For example, we try to make meals that incorporate both of our cultural backgrounds. For instance, we'll make enchiladas with a southern-style cornbread side dish or have a stir-fry with a side of mashed potatoes.

It's also helpful to get the kids involved in meal planning. We ask them for their input on what they want for dinner and try to incorporate their requests into the meal plan. We also offer a variety of options so that everyone can choose what they want to eat.

Another thing that has helped is scheduling theme nights. We'll have a Mexican night, southern comfort food night, Italian night, etc. This way, we can have variety throughout the week while still incorporating everyone's preferences.

I hope these tips help you find common ground and make meal planning easier for your family!

shanon40

Hi everyone,

I have been dealing with the same problem of meal planning in my multicultural family, as my partner and I have different food preferences and cooking styles. He's from a Chinese household and likes stir-fry and dumplings, while I'm from a Greek family and love lots of garlic and lemon in my dishes.

One thing that has worked for us is selecting versatile ingredients that can be used in many different dishes. For instance, we will buy chicken, which can be used for both dumplings and Greek lemon chicken. This helps us save time and money while enjoying our preferred tastes.

Additionally, we try to make meals together as a team. It brings us closer and allows us to learn about each other's cultures while preparing a meal. We can then work on incorporating elements from each other's cultures to make a dish better.

We also try to respect each other's choices and cooking technique. One way we've achieved that is by making our dishes and presenting them to the other. This way, if there is any criticism or input on the recipe, it is taken in a positive way.

Finally, we try to experiment with food and take input from our kids to make them enjoy the meals we make as a family. We involve them in shopping and cooking so they can understand the processes behind the food.

I hope this helps!

lskiles

Hi there,

Meal planning for a multicultural family can be challenging, as everyone has different tastes, preferences, and cultural backgrounds. My partner is from the Middle East and loves spicy meats, while I'm from a vegetarian Indian family and prefer plant-based meals. We also have kids who are picky eaters and are not yet used to spicy foods.

One thing that we do is to experiment with new cuisines and keep things interesting. We make dishes from different cultures that we haven't tried before, and this way, we get to learn about different cultures and try new tastes.

We also opt for communal dishes that we can modify or customize per person. For example, we'll make a bean or meat chili, and each family member can add toppings of their choice such as cheese, sour cream, jalapenos, or olives. This kind of customization keeps everyone satisfied.

It's important to get the kids involved in meal planning as well. We ask them what they'd like for dinner and try to incorporate that into our meal plan. We also make it a fun activity for them to help prepare meals, such as letting them pick out fruits or veggies during grocery shopping or having them help chop vegetables.

Lastly, we communicate our preferences and compromises regularly to avoid unnecessary arguments or disagreements. We make sure to take into consideration each other's preferences, and we work together to plan meals that satisfy everyone.

I hope these tips work for you, and you find a common ground for meal planning in your family.

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