No matter where you are in the world, a love for food is one shared trait that unites us all. Yet each culture has its own unique way of preparing, spicing and serving its traditional dishes.
To give your family a taste of what kids around the world eat, we came up with a fun dinner idea featuring recipes from the regions where Compassion works. We call this version of a progressive dinner Taste of Compassion, and we hope it helps your family connect more to the diverse cultures of kids in Compassion’s program. It’s also a great chance to pray about child hunger and poverty around the world while thanking God for his provision. Let’s get started!
How It Works:
1. Start Planning!
- First, decide who you are inviting to this experience. Depending on how much you are social distancing, you could keep the event to your household, invite a small group of neighbors … or make it a virtual experience where each family prepares a course and then enjoys the meal together during an online video call.
- Let everyone know the event is coming and when it will be, even if they all live in your house! Then, get everyone involved in the planning. You can have family members help make invites, gather decorations, go grocery shopping together, or create labels for each dish.
- If you have many cooks at home or are sharing this experience with friends, assign different people to make each dish. (If not, the recipes are simple enough to complete on your own.)
2. Make the meal
Time to cook!
If you are preparing the meal on your own (following the links below to the recipes), here is our recommendation:
- First, marinate the chicken (overnight if possible).
- Next, prepare the nastar.
- While the nastar is baking, make the baião de dois.
- Put the chicken on the grill.
- While the chicken is cooking, prepare the pupusas.
3. Begin the Taste of Compassion!
- Start in Central America with a starter.
- Have each person fill their plates with the delicious pupusas.
- Once everyone has their food, read the region’s introduction paragraph below and spend time praying for the families who live there.
- Repeat with South America, Africa and Asia!
4. Reflect on the Experience
Hopefully, you will experience a delicious and filling meal while learning more about what kids around the world eat! If you sponsor a child, it may help you feel more connected to him or her.
Unfortunately, the reality is that meals like these are a rare occasion for children in poverty. In fact, even one small meal a day can be considered a luxury! As you wrap up the evening, spend some time in gratitude, thanking God for the meal you enjoyed and the company you enjoyed it with.
Starter: Central America and the Caribbean
Pupusas, El Salvador
Central America and the Caribbean host cultures full of colors, and beautiful beaches line the region. The people’s delicious and well-known cuisines rely on corn, rice and beans. The possibilities are endless! Tonight, begin with a Latin American favorite from El Salvador — pupusas.
Prayer point: While you start your journey around the world, pray for children and families who are affected by political unrest that is continuing to take place in Central America and the Caribbean.
Appetizer: South America
Baião de dois, Brazil
South America is home of the famous Amazon rainforest and the majestic Machu Pichu. Staples of South American dishes include corn, potatoes and chiles, combining to make filling yet flavorful meals. The dish that you are tasting today comes from the fifth-largest country in the world — Brazil.
Prayer point: Before you eat, pray for the families in South America’s rural communities who are highly affected by COVID-19 due to a lack of immediate access to health care.
Grilled chicken, Togo
Africa is well-known for its safaris, but that’s not all the continent can boast about! African dishes are full of spices and flavor — many including root vegetables. Tonight’s main dish is from Togo, a West African country known for its beaches.
Prayer point: Sadly, Togo and many other countries in Africa face extreme poverty, and many Togolese children and their families lack enough food and safe water. Before you dive into the main course, pray for God’s provision for Togolese people.
Asia is the world’s largest continent, and with that fact comes a large variety of cultures, landscapes and foods! But even as vast of a continent as Asia is, Asian dishes share many common traits such as an abundance of spices, fresh vegetables and lots of rice. They also have delicious desserts to complement their savory meals, such as nastar — pineapple tarts from Indonesia. Indulge in the treats to finish your journey around the world!
Prayer point: Please pray that every child growing up in Asia will be known, loved and protected.
How to Help Others Experience the Joy of Food
Food brings people together and creates a common bond no matter where you live. Children receive food at their Compassion centers, but since the centers are closed due to COVID-19, church workers are delivering food packs directly to vulnerable children and their families. Just as you were able to experience the joy of a good meal, you can help a family who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a meal by giving to the disaster relief fund here.