CHAPTER 1: Food for Life
Everyone needs food to live. It gives you energy to work and play. It also gives you nutrients to grow well and stay healthy. Do you eat a balanced diet with lots of different nutrients?
Your body needs proteins to build muscles. Proteins are also important for healthy hair and fingernails. You can get lots of proteins from meat, fish, and eggs Dairy products, like milk, cheese, and yogurt, also contain proteins. Many people don’t eat animal products, but they can get proteins from plant products. Pulses, like beans and lentils, are rich in proteins. Many grains, nuts, and seeds have proteins, too. Which of these foods do you eat?
Carbohydrates give your body energy. You can get carbohydrates from grain products like rice, bread, and pasta. Your body digests these foods slowly, so they give you energy for many hours. Some vegetables, like potatoes, also have lots of carbohydrates. What grains and vegetables do you eat?
Sugar is also a carbohydrate. Your body digests sugar quickly, so it gives you energy right away. Don’t eat too many sweet foods like candy or ice cream, and remember that you can also get sugar from naturally sweet foods. Have a bowl of fruit with a little honey!
We also need to drink lots of water to stay healthy. Did you know that about 70 percents of your body is water?
You need to eat some fats to grow well and stay healthy. Your body also stores fats for extra energy, and to keep you warm in winter. Some types of meat and fish have a lot of fats. Dairy products, like butter and cheese, have fats, too. You can also get fats from plant products like nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. Be careful – too many fats can make you fat!
Your body needs vitamins to stay healthy and fight diseases. Vitamin A keeps your skin healthy. You can get vitamin A from orange fruits and vegetables like carrots or pumpkins. Dark green vegetables, like spinach, have lots of vitamin A, too. Dairy products give you vitamin B for healthy blood. You can also get vitamin B from meat, fish, and eggs. Vitamin C helps your body fight diseases. You can get vitamin C from citrus fruits like oranges and lemons.
Your body also needs minerals. You need calcium for strong bones and healthy teeth. Dairy products, like milk and yogurt, are good sources of calcium. You also need iron for healthy blood. You can get iron from red meat and eggs, or from vegetables like broccoli and spinach. Salt is also an important mineral, but be careful! Too much salty food is bad for you.
CHAPTER 2: Food Producers
Do you know where rice comes from? Where do we get our fruits and vegetables? And who produces the milk that we drink or the seafood that we eat?
Arable farmers grow crops that we can eat. Some crops, like rice, wheat, and vegetables, grow in fields. Before farmers plant their crops, they plow their fields. Some farmers use animals, like horses or oxen, to help. Other farmers use modern machines. Then farmers sow seeds or plant seedlings. When the crops are ready, the farmers harvest them and take them to markets.
Some fruits, like melons, are grown in fields. Other fruits, like apples, cherries, or kiwi fruits, are grown on trees in orchards. Sometimes farmers harvest the fruits with machines, but some fruits, like peaches, are very delicate. Farmers have to pick them by hand. That’s very hard work!
i fruit originally came , but it became popular in New Zealand. Farmers there named the fruit after New Zealand’s national bird – the kiwi!
Plants need water to grow and produce crops. In some parts of the world it doesn’t rain much, so farmers use irrigation systems to water their plants. Rice plants need lots of water, so farmers grow them in wet fields called paddy fields. The paddy fields are often in flat areas near rivers. In some countries, like Vietnam, farmers build terraces of paddy fields on the sides of hills to grow as much rice as possible.
Livestock farmers raise animals, like cows and sheep, to produce food. These animals give us meat, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and butter. The animals often live in open pastures where they eat grass and other plants. Some farmers have to travel long distances with their animals to find green pastures.
Some farm animals, like chickens, are raised in closed yards. This keeps them together and protects them. Farmers sometimes build houses called coops where the chickens can sleep and lay their eggs.
Some fishermen catch fish, like trout, in lakes and rivers. Other fishermen work at sea where they catch saltwater fish like tuna or cod. They also catch seafood like prawns or squid. Some fishermen work far from the coast on deep-sea fishing boats. They often use very big nets. Deep-sea fishing boats also have freezers to keep the fish cold until the fishermen return to the port.
Some fish are raised on fish farms. The fish live in artificial ponds or in closed areas on the coast. This fishing industry is called aquaculture. Some types of shellfish, like oysters, are also raised this way.
Tsukiji Market in Tokyo in Japan is the largest fish market in the world. It sells about 2,000 metric tons of fish and seafood every day!
CHAPTER 3: Food Origins
Some of our favorite foods have a long history. Did you know that popcorn is thousands of years old? Do you know who invented potato chips, or where chocolate was discovered?
People started growing corn for food about 8,000 years ago in Central America. They used the corn in many ways. They ate it fresh and they used it to make bread and soups. Did you know that they also invented popcorn? In 1948 archaeologists found popcorn in a cave. It was about 5,500 years old!
Native Americans made popcorn by cooking the corn over a fire. People enjoyed eating the hot popcorn. They also used it to make decorations and popcorn necklaces!
The native people of Central America also invented chocolate about 2,000 years ago. They made a spicy drink from the seeds of the cacao tree. First they dried the cacao seeds and crushed them to make a paste.
Then they added chili peppers and water. The chocolate drink wasn’t sweet – it was bitter!
Spanish explorers learned about chocolate when they arrived in America, and it soon became a popular drink in Spain. Spanish people liked their chocolate hot, with sugar and cinnamon. Hot chocolate later became popular all over Europe, and chocolate factories started making chocolate candy, too. In 1867 a Swiss chocolate maker named Daniel Peter invented a chocolate candy made with milk. Now milk chocolate is very popular, and cacao trees are grown in many places.
About 2,000 years ago the Ancient Romans brought ice and snow from the mountains and mixed it with fruit and honey. About 1,500 years ago people in China made desserts with ice and milk. The soft ice cream that we eat today was probably invented in Europe about 400 years ago.
Fruit ices were popular in Europe. Then people started to add cream. They put the cream in a metal bowl with sugar. Then they froze it in a bucket of ice. This was hard work because they had to keep mixing the cream by hand. In 1843 an American woman named Nancy Johnson invented an ice cream machine. Seven years later the first ice cream factory opened in Baltimore in the USA.
In 1853 George Crum was a cook in a restaurant in Saratoga Springs in New York. One day, a customer said he didn’t like George’s French fries. He said they were too thick! So George played a joke on the customer. He made some French fries that were very thin, like paper. The customer loved them!
Soon all of George’s customers wanted thin French fries. George called them Saratoga chips. In 1860 George opened a new restaurant and his thin chips became famous all over the USA. Today potato chips are one of the most popular snacks in the world.
CHAPTER 4: Typical Dishes
Every country has typical dishes that are popular with local people. These dishes are often made in a traditional way, with special ingredients. What types of dishes are typical in your country?
Pasta is the most typical food in Italy. Italian pasta is made from wheat flour and comes in many different shapes. For example, spaghetti is long and straight, spirali pasta is a spiral shape, and stellini pasta is a star shape. What type of pasta do you prefer?
Pizza is another typical dish in Italy. Italian pizza is usually made with wheat flour, tomato, and mozzarella cheese. Some people also add meat, seafood, or vegetables. Most pizzas are round, but in Rome they also make special square pizzas!
Rice is a very important Korean food, and most Koreans eat some rice every day. They often eat rice with dishes of meat, seafood, and vegetables. Koreans also use rice to make soup, rice cakes, and a sweet dessert drink called sikhye.
Do you like spicy food? You should try some Korean kimchi. It’s a spicy dish made with cabbage, onions, garlic, chili peppers, and salt. Many people have their own special recipe. Most Koreans eat some kimchi every day. It’s a very healthy food because it has lots of vitamins.
Traditional kimchi is made in pottery jars. People put the jars underground to keep the kimchi at exactly the right temperature.
Mexican tortillas are a type of thin, flat bread. They are usually made with corn flour, but some people use wheat flour. First you cook them in a hot pan. Then you fill them with meat, cheese, beans, and vegetables. Mexican tortillas are soft, so you can fold them to keep the food inside. You can also eat them with your fingers!
Mole poblano is another typical dish in Mexico. It’s a thick sauce made with chili peppers, nuts, seeds, and spices. Chocolate is also a secret ingredient! Mexicans use mole poblano to make lots of dishes. The most popular dish is made with turkey. It’s a Mexican national dish.
Couscous is one of the most typical foods in Morocco.
It’s made from wheat. The couscous grains are small when they are dry. Then they get bigger when they are cooked with water. Moroccans often eat couscous with meat and vegetable dishes. They also use it to make cool summer salads or sweet dessert cakes.
Another typical food in Morocco is tajine It’s a hot dish made with vegetables and meat or seafood. People also add nuts and dried fruit like raisins. They cook the tajine very slowly in a tajine pot. When it’s ready, they serve it with couscous or fresh bread. It’s delicious!
CHAPTER 5: Cool Drinks
What do you like to drink when the weather is hot? Everybody needs to drink water, but there are lots of other cool drinks. People often drink fruit juice or soda, but in some countries they prefer other types of drink. Some of these drinks are quite unusual!
Lassi is a popular Indian drink. It’s made with yogurt, and it can be sweet or savory. Many people drink it in summer, but some people like to drink it all year long. To make sweet lassi, you mix some yogurt, sugar, and ice with a blender. You can add fresh fruit like mangos, bananas, or strawberries. To make savory lassi, you mix the yogurt with salt.
Some people also like to add pepper and other spices. Which type of lassi would you like to try?
Horchata is a traditional drink in some parts of Spain.
It looks like a vanilla milkshake, but it isn’t made with milk – it’s made with tiger nuts! They are pulses that grow underground.
To make horchata, you leave the tiger nuts in water for a day. Then you squeeze the juice out of them. You can add sugar, lemon, and cinnamon. Horchata is also the name of a drink in Mexico, but it tastes very different. It’s made with rice!
Cinnamon is a spice. It comes from the bark of cinnamon trees. Many people use cinnamon in sweet dishes, but it’s also good in savory dishes.
Gubdi is a special drink from Sudan. It’s made from the fruit of the baobab tree. Farmers like to drink it in the summer because it’s very refreshing. Baobab fruit is also called monkey’s bread! It’s very healthy because it contains lots of carbohydrates and proteins. It also has more vitamin C than oranges!
To make gubdi, you break open the baobab fruit and take out the dry pulp. Then you put the pulp in water and squeeze it to make a white juice. Some people also use baobab fruit to make ice cream and milkshakes.
Tamarind juice is a popular drink in Egypt, especially in summer. The juice is made from the seed pods of the tamarind tree. The pods are large and brown. People also just eat them fresh.
To make tamarind juice, you put the pods in water for two or three hours. Then you take out the pulp and cook it in hot water. After that you take out the seeds, Finally you add cold water, ice, and spices. Tamarind juice is sour, so most people also add sugar.
CHAPTER 6: Street Food
Many people like eating in the street. They can eat quickly and the food is usually cheap. There are lots of different street foods around the world. What are the most popular street foods in your country?
One of the most typical street foods in Brazil is pao de queijo. It’s a ball of warm bread made with tapioca flour and cheese. Some street vendors also sell barbecued chicken or spicy prawns. If you’re thirsty, try some acai. It’s a popular drink made from palm tree berries. For dessert you can have fresh fruit or you can try some sweet coconut pastries. If you want a snack later, you can have popcorn with sugar. It’s a popular snack all over Brazil.
Street food is very popular in Thailand. There are lots of food stalls and carts, and you can also see vendors on bicycles, motorcycles, or boats! Some of the most typical street foods are spicy Thai noodles and sticky rice with peanuts. If you like meat you can also have some satays. They are pieces of meat that people barbecue on sticks. If you like fish, why not try some fried fishcakes? You can watch the vendor fry them right in front of you. Later you can have some mango for dessert. It’s very sweet!
French fries are one of the most popular street foods in
Belgium. In Belgium they are called friet. You can buy
French fries from stalls or carts in many streets and public squares. Belgian people like to add sauces to their French fries, like mayonnaise, ketchup, or curry sauce. Some people like ingredients, like onions or meat.
Then you can buy a Belgian waffle for dessert. You can also put some ice cream on top, with chocolate, fruit, or cream. Yummy!
At breakfast time many Turkish people eat a special bread called simit. It’s a bread ring with sesame seeds on top. You can buy simit rings from street carts. For lunch, you can have a doner kebab. A doner kebab is thin pieces of meat that you can eat with flat bread. You can also add some salad.
Another popular street food is corn that’s cooked in water. You can buy it from street carts, and in the summer you can buy it at the beach, too. If you’re thirsty, why not try some visne juice? It’s a sweet drink that’s made from sour cherries.
What street food would you like to try?
CHAPTER 7: Special Desserts
Do you have a sweet tooth? There are lots of desserts that you can try from around the world. Do you like pastries and cakes, or do you prefer milkshakes and ice cream? What’s the best dessert from your country?
The United Kingdom
Custard is a traditional British dessert. It’s a creamy pudding made with eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla.
To make custard, you mix all the ingredients and then cook them very slowly. You can eat the custard warm or cold. Some British people like to put custard on other desserts like fruit pies.
Custard is also used to make fruit trifle. Trifle is a traditional British dessert made with cake, custard, fruit, and jelly. Jelly is fruit gelatine. Most people also put lots of cream on top. It’s a very rich dessert!
Alpokat is a special milkshake from Indonesia. It’s made with avocado! First you use a blender to mix the avocado pulp with milk. Then you pour it into a glass and add chocolate milk. It’s unusual, but it’s very good!
Durian fruit is a popular dessert in Indonesia. Durians are a spiky fruit with a very sweet, creamy pulp. They also have a very strong smell. Some people say durians smell terrible, but other people love them. If you want to try some durian you can eat it fresh or you can have some durian ice cream. You might like it!
In some parts of
Indonesia you can’t eat durian fruit on public transportation. Some people don’t like the strong smell!
Maple syrup is traditional in Canada. It’s made from the sap of maple trees. You can see a red maple leaf on Canada’s national flag. The maple sap is collected in early spring. People cut small holes in the sides of the trees and collect the sap in buckets. Then they cook the sap to take out the water and make syrup. If they continue cooking the sap, it turns into maple candy. A lot of Canadians put maple syrup on their pancakes. They also add it to cakes, cookies, and other desserts.
In Peru, people eat a traditional dessert called mazamorra morada. This dessert is dark purple because it’s made from purple corn! Peruvians cook the corn with sugar, spices, and fruit like green apples and pineapple. Then they mix it with dried fruits.
Another dessert in Peru is lucuma fruit. It’s a tropical fruit that is green on the outside and orange on the inside. Some people say lucuma fruit has a sweet, nutty flavor. They often use it to make desserts like ice cream, milkshakes, pastries, and cakes.
CHAPTER 8: Giving Thanks
People work hard for the food that we have and not everyone has enough food. There are many harvest festivals around the world when farmers and other people give thanks for the food that they have harvested. Are there any harvest festivals in your country?
The United States of America
In the USA, people celebrate a festival called Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of November. Families usually get together for a big holiday meal. The most typical foods are turkey with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Many people also have some cranberry sauce with their turkey. The most popular desserts are pumpkin pie or apple pie with ice cream. On Thanksgiving Day, many people also like to watch American football on television. It’s a tradition!
In Ghana, people celebrate the Homowo festival in late August or early September, at the beginning of the harvest season. Yams are one of the main crops in Ghana, so a good harvest is important. To celebrate the festival, people dig up fresh yams from the fields. They give the best yams to their ancestors to give thanks for the harvest. After that they have a big meal. They prepare lots of dishes with yams and other seasonal vegetables like corn and beans. During the festival, people wear bright clothes and there is lots of singing and dancing.
In September or October, Koreans celebrate a harvest festival called Chuseok. It’s also a day for people to remember their ancestors. In the morning, people go to the cemetery to visit their family tombs. They clean the tombs and they leave food and other gifts to show respect. Many Koreans travel long distances to be with their families on this special day.
The most traditional food for Chuseok is a rice cake called songpyeon. The cakes are usually filled with beans, but some people also use sesame seeds. People like to play traditional games and some women also do a special circle dance.
In India, many people celebrate Baisakhi. This festival is at the beginning of the harvest season in April. In the morning, people visit temples to give thanks for the harvest. Then they go home to prepare a family meal. Some popular festival foods are cold salads with lentils or potatoes, and hot curry dishes with vegetables or meat. Most people eat these dishes with rice and flat bread. For dessert they often eat sweet cakes made with sesame seeds and spices. In many parts of India there are also big street parades.
Be thankful for food! Millions of children around the world don’t have enough to eat. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works to help these children and their families.