Years ago when our homeschooling family approached a study of Ancient & World History, a friend and I had a crazy idea. Let’s EAT! Okay, not so crazy, but bear with me. My kids are pretty good at humoring me and will at least pretend (and convincingly so) to be interested in a new subject, but let’s face it–a verbal exploration of ancient Mesopotamia is not exciting stuff. (If you’re not familiar, it’s pretty much ye olde Iraq, or the land the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Back in the day, it was occupied by inhabitants of Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumer. You’re on the edge of your seat, right? SEE?)
Anyway, as we worked through Story of the World’s Ancient Times edition, my friend and I decided to spice things up a bit (ha!) by getting together once a week and having a feast of foods from whatever civilization we were studying at the time. This was…interesting. Okay, to be honest, some of it was just disgusting. (You just haven’t lived until you’ve seen eight people gagging in unison.) But some of it was great. In fact, we found a recipe with lentils and about seventeen spices that we modified just a bit and still eat to this day, and a modern version of Greek honey cake is a running favorite around here. And then there was the lamb dish that disappeared in minutes and the infamous “tiger balls”–not tiger, mind you, but questionable all the same.
Those lessons were awesome. Granted, the food wasn’t always good, but it never failed to be fun. Everything from that bland, what-the-heck-is-this pan fried “bread” to the authentic “first Thanksgiving” dinner we had has been an experience in itself. And somewhere along the way, amid the chaos that is a household of eight, I heard the kids talking about one of our feasts and the mom in me realized something.
When we cooked all that food, we weren’t just making ancient history…we were making our own.
I think as parents we so often miss those moments, but years from now when one of my kids is telling an offspring about the horrible food grandma used to cook, I’ll smile. Not because they thought my ancient re-creations were terrible…but because they remembered.
ABOUT SARAH BALLANCE
Sarah Ballance is a multi-published author of contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense. She’s been married to her own romantic hero for what he calls a “long, long time” (and no, he’ll never hear the end of saying that). Together they have six children … and clearly too much time on their hands. She currently writes for Entangled and has upcoming releases from both Entangled and Samhain Publishing. Click here to see other posts by Sarah Ballance.