Our family has embarked on virtual travels to various countries and regions. To explore these countries and their cultures, we have followed along with the festivals, cooked and eaten traditional foods, learned of traditional handicrafts with hands on exploration, along with many activities to immerse ourselves. Chronicled here are some of these activities.

Follow along with us as we explore World Cultures - subscribe by email

Followers

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas in West Africa


Christmas is celebrated throughout West Africa in Christian communities - in fact, in some areas, even non Christians join in and celebrate. Though regional differences abound, returning home to be with family, attending midnight mass and/or Christmas day church service, and giving the gift of new clothes are prevalent ways of celebrating.   

Family celebrating Christmas in Ghana
Photo Credit: Jason Finch

Ghana

Christmas is an important Christian holiday in Ghana, celebrated with church services, caroling, feasting, and giving small gifts. Houses and sometimes fruit trees are decorated with paper ornaments, and the most traditional gift is new clothes for a new year. Celebrations start in full with festive Christmas Eve church services, filled with singing from church choirs, dancing and a nativity play. Often after the service, there are joyous processions through the streets led by local bands. Sometimes the services and dancing goes on all night. On Christmas day, people come out in their traditional clothes and fill the churches. When they return home, they exchange gifts. Children are told that gifts are from Father Christmas. Christmas meal in Ghana is often rice and goat or chicken stew, or okra (gumbo) soup, porridge and pounded yam (fufu). Some people also go to church on the 31st December to thank God for sending Jesus Christ.

One of the Christmas greetings is a special Akan word "Afishapa" that means Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Akan is one of 79 languages spoken in Ghana.

There is also a special tradition in some areas of honoring midwives. The Ga people love to recount the legend of Anna, a woman who is said to have assisted in the birth of Christ in Bethlehem and saved his life from a jealous king, and the story is told every Christmas. Midwives are honored by being showered with gifts. 

Nativity from Cote d'Ivoire
Photo Credit: Josh Hale

Friday, December 12, 2014

Our French Canadian Roots: Christmas Tradition of 'Le Réveillon' & Recipe for Tourtiere (Meat Pie)


We've been getting ready for Christmas, a time of year filled with so many traditions. As a family, we've "created" our own traditions over the years based on our preferences. It's also the time of year that we share with our children the Christmas traditions we grew up with - and the most important Christmas celebration for many French Canadians is 'Le Réveillon'.

Le Réveillon takes place Christmas eve. Families gather together, attend midnight mass and return to a feast, festive merriment and the opening of presents. "Réveillon" is the French word for "awakening" and everyone is up and awake for most of the night, getting sustenance to remain awake with the food (and libations) offered during the midnight meal. It's celebrated throughout Quebec, many areas in Northern Ontario and in many Acadian communities in the Maritimes.

Hubby and I both share memories of staying up for réveillon. Some of my fondest Christmas memories were when we visited my maternal grandparents over Christmas. Celebrations included my mothers seven brothers and sisters, and her very many aunts and uncles who came by after church. My earliest memories are rather blurry - not with time, but with the quality of dreams as I remember often nodding off to the sound of raucous singing of traditional French Christmas songs, desperately trying to stay up with the adults.  As I grew older, and my aunts & uncles started having children, celebrations became a little tamer. We started attending church earlier, first at 10pm, then at 8. We continued to gather afterwards at my grandparents for the traditional feast, and wait for Pere Noel to stop by at midnight (invariably an uncle who had stepped out). Gifts were handed out, and while the kids played the adults did their exchange before everyone headed home packing up their sleeping children.

The réveillon feast usually included ham, stew, cheese, crackers, patés and crudités. It has changed and adapted over the years, but there are 3 dishes that are always present: Tourtiere, Tarte au sucre, and Buche de Noel. The sugar pie is a delicious, incredibly sweet pie made essentially with sugar (find our recipe here) and is what I always looked forward to eating. Buche de Noel is a cake shaped like a yule log, and growing up it was always an ice cream log. I remember being so excited to be given the task to go down into the cellar and get "la buche de Noel" from the deep freeze. 

Buches de Noel (Christmas Logs)
Photo Credit: Appaloosa
The centerpiece of the réveillon meal is the tourtiere. It's a French Canadian meat pie, and essential for a proper réveillon. Hubby and my Acadian brother in law both remember looking forward to digging in to tourtiere the minute they were allowed, and don't consider it Christmas without one. 

Tourtiere

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

West African Staple Food: Peanuts | Recipe for Biscuits Cinq Centimes {Five Cent Cookies from Senegal)


Peanuts, known as ground nuts in West Africa, are a staple food incorporated in many dishes (mostly savory), and a crop that grows well in many regions. They are the primary crop in Senegal, with peanut production taking up 40% of cultivated land and employing as many as a million people. 


A mound of peanuts in Kaolack, Senegal
Photo Credit: Karah 24
Les biscuits cinq centime (Five Cent Cookies) are a classic street food and sold in every market in the larger cities in Senegal - they are particularly popular in Dakar.

Clockwise, from far left: Shelling peanuts; harvesting peanuts; peanuts in sacks; peanuts, freshly harvested; removing peanuts from the plant to sell as fresh peanuts
Photos Credited to: Joseph Hill, adapted into a collage

Cinq Centimes Cookies

Cinq centimes cookies are butter cookies topped with peanut butter and crushed or coarsely chopped peanuts. Everything I've read about these suggests buying sugar or butter cookies, and topping them off, which would make this the easiest "recipe" out there. 

We did make our own cookies, following this basic butter cookie recipe. Be sure to roll the dough in a log, and once refrigerated long enough, slice into rounds. Bake them, and once they are cooled, spread peanut butter over them, and sprinkle with peanuts. These turned out really tasty. We didn't use all the cookie dough, so I froze the remaining log to use at a later date - perfect for the next time we can use a quick treat.

Enjoy!


Find more cultural and historical activities at the following linkups:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell


Can I just say that I can't believe we are already well into December? Where has the time gone? I may possibly be feeling a little bit stressed about having everything ready and done on time for Christmas!

At least, the decorating has been done. This past weekend we went to get our tree. We were gung ho in the morning for a day out in the country - I even made a fresh batch of cookies and had a thermos filled with hot chocolate, and hubby packed a picnic. Then as we neared our destination, about 1 1/2 hours away, we found ourselves in freezing rain. If you've ever been to Nova Scotia, then you would know it's very important to check the weather forecast the morning of your outing - not count on the mild, dry weather called for the night before. All that early morning food preparation distracted us from this important step. Traipsing about a tree farm to find the perfect tree and cut it is great fun in the cold, in the snow, in grey weather - but not so much in freezing rain. (You can see how nice it was last year here). To the girls benefit though, I must say they weren't to be deterred. I was frankly taken aback. I certainly didn't want to get soaked. So we planned on getting one near the parking area, and lo and behold the perfect tree was right there waiting for us! By the way, lots of other families were headed out in the rain through the farm - which had me feeling a bit wimpy, but likely also much drier :) 

My sister, brother in law and five year old nephew met us there, and after their tree was cut, also near the parking area, we headed to a working 19th century farm for their Christmas in the Country event. It was a lot of fun - Elle made some crafts, we tasted plum pudding for the first time (if you don't like raisins - and we don't - you won't like this no matter how much you want to), and generally enjoyed the old fashioned, country Christmas feeling. It's been great having so many community Christmas events to enjoy. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Traditional Senegalese Wrestling


My family and friends would possibly be surprised to see me writing about wrestling - any form of it. I don't think I've ever watched more than a few seconds of American wrestling because the idea of two grown men (or women) duking it out as a means of entertainment holds no appeal to me. Yet while looking for photographs of gris-gris for a craft we did a short while ago, I kept coming across these wrestlers wearing them. While showing the girls, it peaked all of our interests, and here is what we've learned.

Many cultures have a traditional form of wrestling - here are a few, just off the top of my head: Mexican Lucha Libre; Indian Kushti; Japanese Sumo; the sparring of Chinese Martial Arts; and of course professional wrestling seen in North America. 


Historically, traditional wrestling was an initiation rite among the Serer people and a preparatory exercise among the warriors. Today, it's the number one national sport, surpassing even soccer (football) in its popularity. There isn't a town or village that doesn't have a wrestling arena. Although there are two forms of wrestling in Senegal (laamb is Senegalese wrestling that includes striking), traditional wrestling does not allow for striking the opponent and has the largest number of participants. Matches usually take place on a sandy surface, and the winner is the one to cause his/her adversary to fall to the ground first. Champions become national celebrities and are well compensated. The younger generation is especially enthralled, and the underprivileged see it as a potential means to change their social standing. In fact, the popularity of Senegalese wrestling has increased proportionately to the decrease in economic stability in Senegal (currently the unemployment rate is approximately 48%).

Professional Senegalese Wrestling Match.
Notice all the gris-gris (charm/amulet) worn by the wrestlers around their arms, chest, stomach and legs.
Photos adapted as collage - original photo credit to Serigne Diagne (CC)

In most of the country, wrestling matches are only between men, though there is a region in southern Senegal (Casamance) with a long history of female wrestling. BBC Africa has a great photo slideshow of Senegalese women wrestlers and the traditions found at their matches here

Senegalese wrestling at the beach in Dakar, Senegal
Photo Credit: Sebastien Lafont (CC)

What's most interesting (to me) is that wrestling isn't seen as just a sport, but a vital part of the culture as it incorporates Muslim, animist beliefs and Senegalese folklore (90% of the population in Senegal is Muslim). Whether a professional match in a stadium, or a neighborhood match at night, Senegalese wrestling is where sport meets mysticism. 


These men are performing The Simba - The False Lion Dance - as part of the spectacle & ceremony prior to a wrestling match.
Photo Credit: Robin Presta

Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Weekends in a Nutshell

I have been remiss. My father - provinces away, proud grandpa - pointed out that he hasn't seen updates about our family time. Admittedly, a lot of it is spent on homework - but we have ventured out for a few seasonal activities. 



Over the past two weekends, we enjoyed two Christmas festivals. We headed to the picturesque town of Mahone Bay for the Father Christmas festival, where the town has many life sized Father Christmas' throughout (bottom left photo). We go there nearly every year, though the girls have outgrown the gingerbread house making station. Elle still loves to make them, just not in a room full of strangers.  We checked out a gingerbread house competition, participated in a cookie walk while Elle pointed out which cookies were worthy, were amazed at the Land of Christmas fantasies and got a mini tree from Charlie Brown's tree lot.

We also enjoyed A Victorian Christmas at our city's fort (Citadel Hill) complete with old fashioned carolers, dancing and Father Christmas. After much grumbling from the proud teens, I got us all in front of the green screen offered during that day's events for the silly postcard seen below - my fake "we're barreling down a hill" facial expression looks a little demented, and the girls got the only two adult sized Santa hats so that mine would be better off on a cat, and why wouldn't Elle be holding a large plastic candy cane?. Yup, silly. And I love it :)


All in all, a great start to the festive (and busy) season ahead!

(I'm also quite happy to report that I finally have my other website up! Now to see how well I manage both blogs! www.nsfamilyfun.ca)


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our French Canadian Roots: Recipe for Acadian Ployes | Buckwheat pancakes Part 2

Sharing our French Canadian heritage with a monthly recipe from our childhood, hoping to inspire similar traditions and memories for our daughters


Both Hubby and I grew up with buckwheat pancakes. In Quebec, they are crepes au sarasin, that is thin buckwheat crepes with or without a filling, drizzled with maple syrup. In New Brunswick, an Acadian breakfast treat are ployes, buckwheat pancakes, topped with butter and brown sugar and often eaten with baked beans.

Find our recipe for Crepes au Sarasin & Maple Baked Beans


We were at a tourism conference with a section on Acadian heritage when both pepere, Hubby's father, and Hubby excitedly came to get me with warm, sweet treats in their hands. Not having eaten them in years, they were excited to get their hands on these breakfast treats, instantly drawing Hubby back to his youth when his memere (grandmother) would make them. This is how the girls and I were introduced to ployes, small buckwheat pancakes, topped with brown sugar. We found a recipe and have been enjoying them every few months ever since. Traditionally, these were a griddle "bread", an inexpensive filler eaten with most meals.

Acadian Ployes

Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 3/4 cup boiling water

1. Sift together dry ingredients. Add the cold water and stir into a thick dough. Add the boiling water, and whisk until smooth.

2. Heat an ungreased pan or griddle until a drop of batter sizzles when dropped on the pan. Pour a tablespoon full onto the hot pan, and let cook, without flipping, until the top surface is dry, approximately 3-4 minutes.

To enjoy, spread with butter and brown sugar. And you don't need a fork - this is breakfast finger food (unless you're having them with beans...). Just fold in half and dig in. 




Find our other French Canadian recipes here.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How to Make a Gris Gris {West African Good Luck Charms}


A gris-gris (or grigri) is an amulet or talisman believed to bring the wearer good luck and/or protection from bad luck. Though some associate them with voodoo, gris-gris are commonly used by people throughout West Africa, whether Muslim, Christian or animist. Gris-gris are considered powerful, and are used as lucky charms, keeping the wearer safe and in good health. They're also considered protection against bad luck, bad neighbors, bad employers or even against sorcery. They can be worn around the neck, arms, waist, attached to belts and bags. Babies often wear one (or more) as a necklace or on tummy belts to keep them safe. In this gallery, you can see gris-gris as they are worn (you'll see lots of cute babies wearing them).


A West African Tuareg Gris Gris from Niger
Photo Credit: Teo Gomez
Gris-gris are often small leather pouches that come in different shapes, sizes and colors. They often contain a verse from the Qur'an and/or items for luck such as dried plants and roots, coins, locks of hair, and animal bones. They can be carved in the shape of animals, decorated with designs, included beadwork or metal - some families have generations old personal designs on them.

Make Your Own Gris-Gris - A West African Good Luck Charm

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop | #21

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! This month I'll be joining Multicultural Kid Blogs and various excellent bloggers in co-hosting a blog hop featuring what I love most: learning about different cultures with kids. This link up is an excellent resource for virtually traveling the world - I hope you'll join us.





The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time!

Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son's Eyes, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs.

This month our co-hosts are:


Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place for you to share your creative kids culture posts. It's very easy, and simple to participate! Just follow these simple guidelines:
  • Follow us via email, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Please let us know you're following us, and we will be sure to follow you back.
  • Link up any creative kids culture posts, such as language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no giveaways, shops, stores, etc.
<div align="center"><a href="http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/?p=5802" title="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" target="_blank"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/.../share+culture+button+2-email..." alt="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" /></a></div>
  • Please grab the button code above and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post. Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures, and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest.
  • Don't be a stranger, and share some comment love! Visit the other links, and comment. Everyone loves comments!
  • The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 3rd Sunday of the month. It will run for three weeks. The following blog hop we will feature a previous link up post, and if you're featured, don't forget to grab the button below:
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/?page_id=5802" title="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" target="_blank"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/.../featured+culture+button+2..." alt="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" /></a></div>


Here's my feature from last time:



Leanna at All Done Monkey recounts her experience making Saudi Arabian semolina cake - find out what makes it magic! This recipe is on my roster to try over the next few weeks. Be sure to take a look at her post on dress up play to learn about Saudi Arabia as well - it's such a great activity. She and her sons explored Saudi Arabia as part of the blogging project Around the World in 12 Dishes, a series in which participating bloggers explore the world with their kids each month by cooking a dish from another country. It's a fun series, exploring countries you wouldn't necessarily think of - I hope you consider joining in the fun!


Thank you for linking up, we can't wait to see what you've been up to!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Recipe for Akara {West African Black-Eyed Pea Fritters}


These bean fritters are known by many different names, including akara, akla, kosai and koose depending on the country & language. They're enjoyed in many West African countries, often made at home as a breakfast or snack, or sold by street and market vendors where they are fried on charcoal stoves. 


Woman frying and selling akara
Photo Source: IITA
Crunchy, tasty, and a good source of protein - we all enjoyed these and can see why they are a popular snack. However, they are time consuming, these bean fritters. Pureed black eye peas and spices, formed and fried and served with a spicy sauce. Sounds simple, but the beans have to soak overnight, then they have to be peeled before making the paste, which develops more flavor if it sits overnight. Peeling them, that is rubbing off their skins, takes time, and might be a good rainy day project :) We started off with 2 cups of dried beans, but that just made so many... I recommend starting off with 1 cup first, and see how you like these. As for the sauce, most recipes call for scotch bonnet pepper - however since Elle doesn't care for much spice, I just sprinkled cayenne in the sauce she wasn't using. 


Akara: Black Eyed Pea Fritters


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Anansi Stories - Trickster Tales from West Africa


At times clever and cunning, often greedy and lazy, Anansi can beguile a man eating python yet is known to be fooled when his own tricks are turned against him. Whether depicted as spider (most often), man (sometimes) or spider like man (on occasion), he is always a trickster

A West African god that often takes the form of a spider, Anansi is one of the most important characters of West African folklore. Also known as Ananse, Kwaku Ananse and Anancy, he's considered to be the god of all knowledge of stories, and thanks to him stories and wisdom were given to the people. There's even an Anansi story as to how he came about getting these stories from the sky god, Nyame, through a series of challenges he overcame with trickery and cunning. 

The word "anansi" means "spider" in the Twi language

It's believed that Anansi tales originated as part of the oral storytelling culture of the Ashanti people of Ghana hundreds of years ago. The stories spread to other Akan groups in Ghana, throughout West Africa, and even across the ocean during the Atlantic slave trade. He features so prominently in the Ashanti oral culture that the word anansesem, "spider tales", is used to describe all kinds of fables. Many of the oral stories were written in the 1950s & 1960s so they could be used in schools, and to this day they continue to be taught in schools in Ghana.

Although Anansi stories originated in Ghana, they continue to be told throughout West Africa to children as a means of imparting moral messages and as a means of entertainment. 

Books, Videos, Activities & Crafts


Find the list of books further below

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ebola: Our Family's Response | Facts, Perspective & Compassion

You don't have to be studying West Africa to be aware of the Ebola crisis. It's all over the news and social media, and the fear it's instilling seems to be spreading faster than the virus. At its best, the response has mobilized governments and organizations to send much needed resources (in all forms) to those countries in the throes of crisis; at its worse, fear mongering and ignorance have given rise to discrimination, bigotry and even violence

In our household, I have done my best to address these issues with our kids with facts, perspective and compassion. And by "these issues", I mean the very real crisis of the Ebola virus in West Africa, and the troubling responses the culture of fear and ignorance engenders. 

Facts


In an effort to raise daughters confident in themselves and out in the world, I want them to be informed of real dangers they might encounter so that they can feel safe in preventing them. In all honesty, I do not believe Ebola is a danger they need to be prepared for, but in order to ensure they are informed and that they do not succumb to the culture of fear, we discussed the basics of the virus: The symptoms of Ebola, how it is and isn't transmitted (see above), and the precautions taken internationally to ensure the virus does not spread across borders. We discussed the importance of a healthy immune system in fighting off all germs and reiterated the importance of washing our hands regularly. Washington Post has an excellent article with tips on talking to kids about Ebola, and DOGO News has an article written for kids covering the facts about Ebola that might be helpful to look at.

Perspective

Monday, November 3, 2014

Our Weekend in a Nutshell


This past weekend we enjoyed two fun celebrations: Halloween & Day of the Dead. Pea in fact has been dismissing Halloween for a few years now, but Elle loves it, ensuring we have lots of pumpkins and that the house is properly decorated weeks in advance. She also took advantage of a school dance to have two costumes: a simple, cute cat for the dance, and for trick-or-treating, she and her friend went out as Thing 1 & Thing 2 - they looked seriously adorable. I even have a picture of her giving me attitude with that blue wig on and those huge freckles, and I just couldn't take her seriously - so I snapped a picture! I have promised not to share it with anyone, so you'll just have to imagine it :) 


Celebrating Day of the Dead is something I always look forward to, and this year even more because we would be sharing it with my sister and her family, which means my 5 year old nephew joined us for the first time. I had suggested to them and my mother that they bring photographs or representations for the offrenda (top left), an altar that honors departed loved ones. My nephew's grandfather passed away in the past year, and so with my sister's guidance, he brought Thomas the train because they used to play trains together. It was a lot of fun talking to my nephew about Mexico, about the celebration and "playing" with calaveras - coloring skulls, decorating sugar skulls and face painting (that's my sister's amazing work). My mother, sister and I had a great time, with lots of laughter, assembling tamales while the husbands spent a great deal of time being very deliberate decorating their sugar skulls. Most importantly, we took the time to remember loved ones and share those memories with our kids. It was a great afternoon.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Around the World with Pancakes: Mongolian Gambir


We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food

We recently tried Mongolian pancakes, gambir, as an afternoon snack. While breaking off pieces of gambir, Elle located Mongolia on a map, and we looked at the beautiful vast expanses, wild horses and gers showcased in this slideshow of Mongolian pastoral herders, one of the world's last remaining nomadic cultures.

Hustai National Park, the ger (aka yurt) is the traditional Mongolian dwelling
Photo Credit: Micheal; Map adapted from & sourced through CIA World Factbook

Mongolian pancakes are simple, slightly sweet pan fried dough. They make for a tasty snack, best eaten hot, barely cooled off the pan. Put them all on one plate, and break off pieces to eat while sitting around together learning about Mongolia. Or just catching up on your day.

Gambir being prepared and cooked in Mongolian ger - isn't the stove interesting?
Photo Credit: LeeAnne Adams

This recipe makes enough for 4 pancakes. It's easy enough for kids to make their own though they might need help rolling out the dough because it has quite a "bounce back" and you don't want them to be too thick or they won't cook through. In two of the pancakes we used leftover cinnamon sugar instead of just sugar, and that made for a nice flavor as well.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our Weekends in a Nutshell

A rare family photo, complete with all four of us - even if one of us isn't smiling :)
It's been all about celebrating Autumn around here for the past couple of weeks. It is most certainly my favorite time of the year, with the weather still nice, the beauty of fall foliage, and the activities that abound at farms. We did the requisite corn maze, giant pumpkin farm and chestnut gathering. (What exactly is it about gathering chestnuts that is so entertaining? My husband, the gatherer, collected what feels like bushels of them.)



Along with preparing for Halloween by carving the countless pumpkins Elle insisted on getting (actually, I counted 14. 14! That does include mini pumpkins, but still. We just may cater to her pumpkin "obsession" a little too much), we also marked Diwali, the Hindu festival of Light by drawing mehendi, henna tattoos on each other. We have also been gorging on pumpkin seeds :)


I've been absent lately as I've been working (on and off for months actually) on another website and coming across many a challenge! I think it will just go on the back burner for a little while, so I can share more West African culture here. Oh, and a few more pancakes :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop | #20

Welcome to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! This month I'll be joining Multicultural Kid Blogs and various excellent bloggers in co-hosting a blog hop featuring what I love most: learning about different cultures with kids. This link up is an excellent resource for virtually traveling the world - I hope you'll join us.




The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place where bloggers can share multicultural activities, crafts, recipes, and musings for our creative kids. We can't wait to see what you share this time!

Created by Frances of Discovering the World through My Son's Eyes, the blog hop has now found a new home at Multicultural Kid Blogs.

This month our co-hosts are:


Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop is a place for you to share your creative kids culture posts. It's very easy, and simple to participate! Just follow these simple guidelines:
  • Follow us via email, Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook. Please let us know you're following us, and we will be sure to follow you back.
  • Link up any creative kids culture posts, such as language, culture, books, travel, food, crafts, playdates, activities, heritage, and holidays, etc. Please, link directly to your specific post, and no giveaways, shops, stores, etc.
<div align="center"><a href="http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/?p=5802" title="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" target="_blank"><img src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/.../share+culture+button+2-email..." alt="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" /></a></div>
  • Please grab the button code above and put it on your blog or the post you’re linking up. You can also add a text link back to this hop on your blog post. Note: By sharing your link up on this blog hop you are giving us permission to feature your blog post with pictures, and to pin your link up in our Creative Kids Culture Feature board on Pinterest.
  • Don't be a stranger, and share some comment love! Visit the other links, and comment. Everyone loves comments!
  • The Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop will go live on the 3rd Sunday of the month. It will run for three weeks. The following blog hop we will feature a previous link up post, and if you're featured, don't forget to grab the button below:
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="http://multiculturalkidblogs.com/?page_id=5802" title="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" target="_blank"><img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/.../featured+culture+button+2..." alt="Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop" /></a></div>


Here's my favorite from last time:




Becky of Kid World Citizen put together this excellent round up of crafts and activities to celebrate Day of the Dead for Multicultural Kid Blogs that can be found here. We celebrate this every year to some degree, and I'm looking forward to adding a couple of ideas from this list for this year!

Thank you for linking-up, and we can't wait to see what you've been up to!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Around the World with Pancakes: Mexican Hot Cakes


We're trying out pancakes from around the world, looking beyond fluffy pancakes and beyond breakfast food

In Mexico, pancakes are known as hot cakes. Though similar to typical North American pancakes, they differ slightly because they're made with masa harina, dried and powdered corn dough, rather than wheat. They're popular for breakfast and are sold on the streets, eaten at all times of the day and night. They are served with fruit, honey and sweet toppings such as sweetened condensed milk or cajeta (goat milk caramel). 

Mexican street vendors selling hot cakes
Photo Credit: Waywuwei
We used the recipe on the back of the Maseca bag of masa harina that we found in the Mexican foods section of our grocery store. Making hot cakes was also a great excuse to find some cajeta, a caramel made from goat's milk rather popular in Mexico, and in our house. It can be found in Latin grocery stores, in jars and squeeze bottles. We enjoyed these pancakes, and with their strong flavor of cornmeal doused in caramel, they have the perfect flavoring for the fall. 


Hot cakes bought from street vendor with what looks like a fruit preserve topping
Photo Credit: Angelica Portales


Mexican Hot Cakes

Serves 4
As mentioned above, this recipe is from the Maseca brand bag of masa harina

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup masa harina
  • scant 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil + more for pan
  • 3/4 cup milk
Maseca is a renown brand of masa harina, generally easily found. The cajeta we bought was the only one available at the only Latin grocery store in our city, I wouldn't know whether this is a comparably good brand - we thought it was tasty, though cajeta we bought while visiting Toronto was delicious, but I don't remember what brand it was. 
1. Sift together the harina, sugar and baking soda. 
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and oil. Gradually incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet, and stir until there are no lumps. 
3. Heat a pan on medium heat and grease lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto pan. When bubbles appear on the top, flip and cook for about 1 minute more. 
4. Serve with sweet toppings!



Find a slew of ideas to celebrate and explore Hispanic heritage at the Hispanic Heritage Month Blog Hop & Link Up

Find more posts exploring culture, geography and history with kids at

Find more pancake recipes on our page:



 
Blog Design by Delicious Design Studio