Thursday, October 15, 2015

An Evening in Mingouwee

I cut up the green beans while the ground beef was browning after I had sautéed the chopped onions. I kept referring to the simple directions because this meal was so foreign to me. But that was the point, that it be foreign.

We were going to have an Evening in Turkey with our four children and I was preparing a common Turkish meal called Etli Taze Fasulye. My friend who lives in Turkey told me how to say it: et-lee tah-zay fah-zoo-lay. The translation was simple--Green Beans with Meat! 

We would be practicing our limited Turkish vocabulary as well. Very limited. We were only going to work on two words: please, lütfin, and thank you, tesekkür ederim. 

My younger children were busy making Turkish flags out of construction paper to decorate the walls of our eating area and I had put a red tablecloth on the table to coordinate colors. Our oldest son looked up Turkey in the encyclopedia (remember those?) to copy out some facts about it to tell us at dinner. We also searched for information in Operation World.

How could we spend one evening in Turkey? How about if I told you we never even left our home!

Artwork by: Ron Brancato
The idea for this evening was to introduce our children to another culture, another place, and to gain an interest in the world and what God is doing in these places. 

In order to do this, a flurry of emails went back and forth between my friend and I. Explaining what I hoped to do, I asked her for 
     1) A menu and recipe that I could probably recreate where we lived
     2) The words "please" and "thank you" in Turkish
     3) A few simple manner rules for eating meals in Turkey

Even though we had email, the Internet wasn't something we used in those CompuServe dial-up days. Today this would be very easy just using Google, as I did for this article! Here's one version of the recipe I made. But I still wanted a personal touch, so I also asked for
     4) A family photo
     5) A prayer request for each person

The rules were fun:

  • Shoes off in the house; provide slippers at the door
  • Oldest goes first in serving him or herself or being served
  • Don't blow your nose during a meal; if you have to, ask to be excused and go to the bathroom with the door closed to blow.
  • After the meal is over, if you must pick your teeth, use a toothpick and hide it behind your cupped hand
I put little cards at various places on the table with the words "please" and "thank you" and their Turkish translation and pronunciation so we could try using them during the meal. 

At dinner we tried to follow the rules, use the Turkish words for please and thank you, and enjoy a new and different dish. We talked about Turkey and and my friend and family who lived there. After dinner was cleared away, we read the prayer requests for each person and prayed for them. Their family happened to have four children like ours, two boys and two girls, so they each prayed for the one closest to them in age. Then we got out paper and pens and each wrote a short note to each one telling them a little about ourselves and that we had prayed for them.

It worked so well, we did this several times with other countries as well. Then, when I wrote a book with ideas of things to do to get people interested in what God is doing in other places, I included this idea. It can be used for a family, small group, or even a whole church! In the book I called it An Evening in Mingouwee, a fictitious place. I even used that as the title of the book, which is available from ECS Ministries.

Using this idea with your family for a country you are interested in can open up a whole new world to your children!

Tesekkür ederim!

*   *   *   *   *

To never miss an Around the Table blog post, simply sign up in the space on the right side of the blog, below the picture of the book. Each week you will receive one email that looks like this:

It's as easy as that. No searching for the blog, waiting for your browser, or missing a post. Sign up today!

*  *  *  *  *

For More Ideas and Inspiration:
Check out the book Around the Table: Connecting With Your Family at Mealtimes. You can read the first chapter at this site and order a copy of the book.

Get a Conversation Starter question each week night by *liking* the Around the Table Facebook page! 

1 comment:

  1. Hello from the Crafty Spices Social Weekend! Your night in Turkey sounds like a great experience, and I'm definitely checking out your recipe. A great activity to get your children involved in to learn about other cultures without leaving home. Wonderful idea!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...