Monday, November 25, 2013

"What is Turkey, Dressing and Mashed Potatoes?"

A new immigrant family arrived into our community.  The young mother received a box of food. During the Parent and Teacher conferences  (with an interpreter),  she asked me how to prepare these items.

I went to her home to find the box of food on the bare kitchen floor. It was a turkey, 1 box of stuffing mix, and a box of mashed potato flakes. She showed me her kitchen. She did not own any baking dishes or pans.

If someone gave you this package, could you prepare it for dinner?
This made me think of the families that receive these plentiful gifts but do not know how to use/cook them.  It is that time of year when our community schools, churches and organizations give food to many families in need. It is truly a blessing to give and to receive! For our new immigrant families they may not know what is turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. In the Asian culture, they do not have turkeys and they do not use ovens. Also, they may not be able to read and/or understand the directions on an instant food box. When giving this abundance of food, it may be helpful for PTA members, neighbors and outreach personal to personally deliver the food and help prepare the new food. If an interpreter is not available, you could model how to cook the items and use the oven...and teach basic English "kitchen vocabulary!" 

Another option is to ask a community leader what is the need for the newly arrived family? A gift card to their favorite supermarket may be best for them to buy the food they like to eat.

I created a Thanksgiving recipe cookbook for the new families. I wrote it in simple English and added pictures. Most parents received a copy at Parent and Teacher Conferences (their children asked to show their parents how to make turkey!)
The parents were very excited about receiving their first Thanksgiving cookbook!

It took me one hour to demonstrate how to cook the food the parent asked me at the Parent and Teacher Conference. While the turkey cooked, she showed me the family pictures. The smell of turkey filled the air! I was happy to share their first Thanksgiving feast in USA of what is turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes!

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