Program 5: Eat it Up! Cuisines of the World Food Competition

Time of program

1 hour

Number of Participants

Limit to 30 teens (or 30 pairs or trios) of teens

Program Description

Exploring the foods of another country or city is one of the best ways to learn about its people and culture. Often you don't need to leave your own city or state to taste delicious dishes from across the ocean. In almost every Texas town there is a Mexican food restaurant and many have restaurants that feature food from other world cultures.

For this food competition, invite teens to prepare a dish from their families' traditional cultures and to bring the recipe and the name of the culture from which it originates. If they wish, they can include a paragraph about someone in their family who cooks the dish or an anecdote about a time when their family enjoyed eating it. Grandma Gonzalez's name will never be forgotten when someone is making her famous tortillas!

Dishes will be judged in general categories such as: "Spiciest," "Best Date Food," "Worst Date Food," "Best Comfort Food," "Most Colorful," and "Best Overall." Invite teens to be judges.

Make copies of the recipes and put them into a booklet to give to all the participants. Keep it on hand in the library, or add it to the library's circulating collection.


Recruit teens to make a favorite family recipe that has its origins in their family's heritage. If you feel you need more variety in the types of foods being prepared, make a list of different cuisine's and let teens sign up to make them.

Ask the teens to have a permission slip signed by their parents acknowledging their participation in the program.


Display a world map and flyers to advertise "Eat It Up!" a week or two before the program.

Additional Activity

Make sets of cards with the names of food from various world cultures on the front and numbers on the back. Laminate them. Give teens maps of the world on 8 ½" X 11" paper and ask them to write the number of each food on the corresponding country. When they complete the map, give them a raffle ticket. At the end of the program, hold a drawing for a cook book. Teens must be present to win. Below are suggestions for names of foods to put on the cards and corresponding countries.

  • Japan-Sushi
  • China- Dim Sum
  • Italy- Pesto
  • Mexico-Pico De Gallo
  • Jamaica -Ugli Fruit
  • France- Escargots
  • Greece- Spanakopita
  • Czechoslovakia -Kolaches
  • Poland-Kielbasa
  • Spain-Paella
  • England-Scones
  • Germany-Schnitzel
  • Lebanon - Falafel
  • Ethiopia - Doro Wat
  • Thailand- Pad Thai
  • Korea- Kim Chee
  • Vietnam-Nuoc Cham
  • India-Tandoori Chicken

Books to Display

  • All Around the World Cookbook by Sheila Lukins.
  • Cuisine, Texas: A Multi-ethnic Feast by Joanne Smith.
  • The Multicultural Cookbook for Students by Carole Lisa Albyn and Lois Sinakio Webb.

Books to Booktalk

  • The Examination by Malcolm J. Bosse.
  • Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye.
  • A Walk in My World: International Short Stories About Youth edited by Anne Mazer.


Cooking Light.
Southern Progress Corp., 2100 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35209.
Helps readers eat better, feel better, and look their very best.

Cook's Illustrated.
Boston Common Press Limited Partnership, 17 Station St., Brookline, MA 02445
Cook's Illustrated is for cooks who are interested in understanding the techniques and principles of good home cooking.

Web Sites

The Cook's Thesaurus
The Cook's Thesaurus is a cooking encyclopedia that covers thousands of ingredients and kitchen tools. Entries include pictures, descriptions, synonyms, pronunciations, and suggested substitutions.

Recipe Source
RecipeSource first appeared on the web in 1995 as "SOAR: The Searchable Online Archive of Recipes." Starting with approximately 10,000 recipes, they've grown the collection to seven times that size. Browse by region to find ethnic foods.

Professional Video

United Tastes of America with Dorinda Hafner. (240 minutes)


Texas Reading Club 2002 Programming Manual / Read Across Texas!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011