Traveling to Central America or North Africa may not be on your family’s horizon, but a trip to a neighborhood ethnic market can be the next best thing. Letting your kids explore these shops is a great way to introduce them to different cultures.
Recently, I visited Sulav International Market and Bakery, owned by Hikmat Gazi, an Iraqi Kurd. I became entranced by the array of goods in his Nashville, Tenn. store: Baskets laden with dried apricots and dates, curious blue-white raspberries, and three kinds of figs. Bins full of raw and roasted pistachios, cashews and walnuts. Shelves lined with bottles of rosewater, sesame oil and seven-spice blend. In the dairy section, I found several types of feta, and the butcher offered select cuts of Halal meats (prepared according to Islamic law). Exploring Sulav reminded me of delicious, healthful dishes from this part of the world. I’ve assembled a few that families can make together while learning about another culture.
—Story and recipes by Nancy Vienneau, a food writer in Nashville, Tenn.