My husband is Liberian. Our children love to eat plantains, cassava, palaver sauce and all sorts of delicious West African food. They also love my Midwestern food – hot dish, chicken pot pies, cheese curds. But, if they get to choose a take out meal they pick Indian food or Ethiopian food.
Neither my husband or I had ever tried Indian food or Ethiopian food until college and neither of us really ate out at restaurants as kids, so we are amazed and proud of their global palates. Food is a big part of culture. It helps us understand ourselves and those from other cultures. We love that our children are learning about us and about the world through food.
Comfort food is what we grew up with, what our family fed us around dinner tables as we talked through our days. Or what the gave us when we were sick, or sad, or when we first got braces. It reminds of us love, and, well, comfort.
I sometimes wonder what my children will reach for as their comfort food. I love that they will have food from both my husbands birth culture and my birth culture to choose from. I love too that they will also know what a great bowl of pho should taste like. It will bring them closer to their rich heritage and to the not so big world.
Being in a multiracial/multicultural marriage has also expanded my own definition of comfort food. Jollof rice, a dish I had never heard of until I met my husband, is now my go to holiday dish. My husband, who once cringed if some version of rice wasn’t on the menu, now savors a good chicken noodle soup night.
Food is culture. Our family’s culture, like I imagine to be true for so many multiracial families, is a wonderful blend of ourselves, our neighbors and our world.