Friday, September 11, 2015

Back to School: Meal Nights are Made Simple with Kitchen Table Passport {Review} #review #backtoschooldinner #kitchentablepassport

 
 
 
Our nights are packed full of activities. From the time the kids get home from school, we do homework, pack lunches for the next day, have snacks, do chores, and head to our evening outings. On Monday we have gymnastics and cross country, Tuesday is dance and cross country, Wednesday is gymnastics and soccer, and Thursday is cross country. Basketball and scouts will start soon too!
 
I may seem like a busy mom, but I enjoy it this way and it takes planning to get everyone where they need to be and also planning what we are going to eat each evening so we don't fall into a fast food rut. I make a meal plan each week and we follow it fairly easily, unless something random comes up.
 
 Two of my kids are great eaters and will try new things without too much push. I love seeing them try something different and find out they really like it. I also think it is important for them to be aware of other cultures and what they offer us as well, and a great way to introduce them, is by food.
Based in Austin, Texas, Kitchen Table Passport is trying to change the way people think about other cultures. Kitchen Table Passport was founded by Murray and Lisa, who have traveled and lived in various countries about the world. They were looking for a way to bring the experiences of other cultures into our homes, without leaving our actual house.
 
Kitchen Table Passport is a monthly subscription box that helps you travel and explore the world, from the comfort of your home. Lisa and Murray have found a way to share their experiences by featuring countries they have visited and highlight amazing parts of these cultures.
 
 HOW DOES KITCHEN TABLE PASSPORT WORK?
 Enjoying Kitchen Table Passport is simple with a variety of options to suit every family. To get started, one must first choose a subscription. These options include: Full Experience, 12 Month, and 6 Month.
Full Experience: This is a standard, month to month subscription that includes the Welcome, Taste Package, Discovery Cards, and Mementos, featuring a different country each month.
The Welcome Card
A 4 sided, full color, card that includes photos, intro to the country and why it is being featured, a description of the featured dish, mementos, and access to music from the country.
The Taste Package
A recipe and grocery list for an authentic dish from the featured country. The dish will take around an hour to prepare and cook and feed 4-6 people. There will also be a premeasured and premixed spice packet to complete the recipe.
The Discovery Cards
10 full color postcards that feature images, questions, and information to discuss about life and aspects of the featured country. This could include: location, population, fun history, cultural tradition, geography, arts, etc.
Mementos
2 or more locally sourced artifacts from the featured country, to help provide more insight to the country and culture.
 Cost: $24.95/month, billed on the first of the month
12 Month: Same as Full Experience, just paid by the year
Cost: $219.95 for year/works out to $18.33/month
6 Month: Same as Full Experience, just paid for 1/2 year
Cost: $119.95 for 6 months/works out to just $19.99/month
 
You can also order portions of the Full Experience
For $9.95/month, you can order Taste Only
For $19.95/month, you can order Taste + Discovery
For $19.95/month, you can order Taste + Mementos
For $19.95/month, you can order Discovery + Mementos
 
Kitchen Table Passport also offers Non-Subscription Options. These include a single box or spice package from the country of your choice.
 
We were given the opportunity to receive and review a Full Experience from Kitchen Table Passport. We were looking forward to learning about a country, its culture, and discover some brand new things.
 
Our Kitchen Table Passport package is here! 
It arrived in a neat little brown box clearly labeled with what it was.
My helper was ready to see what was inside.
 
We were going to Discover Tunisia!
Inside the box lid is a checklist of all the things that will be included in the box.
Contents: Welcome Card, Taste Pack, Mementos, Discovery Cards
Prepare: Pick a Date, Take the shipping list and gather ingredients
Discover: Use the info cards to learn and talk while preparing the dish, enjoy dinner, explore the mementos and discovery cards, ask questions, discuss 
 
Discover Tunisia
The top card has a beautiful photo of camels walking across the desert. This really helped the kids envision where Tunisia might be.
 
Inside our Discover Card, we found a welcome letter from Lisa and Murray. This is a neat feature that is personalized for each country, from the founders, based on their experience, which included Murray's favorite memory of haggling prices over a genuine Berber carpet.
There is also a photo and explanation of "Shakshouka", the Tunisian dish for the month. Our spice package would complete this meal using Harissa, the National condiment of Tunisia. It also included a funny tidbit/old wives tale about spices being how Tunisian women showed affection to their husbands by the amount of spice used. Such a neat little extra that Kitchen Table Passport includes.
The back side of the card shows photos and descriptions of the two mementos in the box for Tunisia, a survey QR code, and a Tunisian playlist QR code, along with all of Kitchen Table Passport's social media sites.
 
Next were the set of 10 Discovery Cards
On the front of each card is a very bright, colorful, photo of Tunisian culture and life. Each card also contains a question related to Tunisia that corresponds to the photo.
For example: The bottom card features an amphitheater, the question asks "Who do you think built this amazing amphitheater?" These front cards open the door for discussion, questions, and exploration on another level.
 
The back of each card contains more photos, questions, and facts about specific topics. These topics included: food and dining, women's rights, Tunisian industry, festivals and Tunisian life, languages, beliefs, location and geography, shopping, customs, daily life, history, and tourism.
S studying a photo of the Tunisian flag and what it might signify.
There is so much information on these cards, full of true facts that really help teach you about the Tunisian culture (something we knew nothing about).
 
Next in our box were the spices and mementos of Tunisia.
Next we found our bag of Herbs and Spices. This simple black bag held a very special mix of ingredients to create Harissa.
Harrisa contains cayenne pepper, caraway seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, smoked paprika, and salt, along with a few other ingredients. It has a very strong scent to it, I imagine it quickly spices up anything you put it into.
The front of the recipe card for Shakshouka
A shopping list to feed 4-6 people. Many of the items on this list were things I already had on hand-olive oil, brown sugar, parsley, cilantro, eggs and also things I had to grab easily at the store-garlic cloves, lemons, mint, peppers, onions, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and pita bread. You can also add in a protein, we always have chicken on hand. The recipe card walks you through what utensils and things you need to prepare this dish too.
 
The back of the recipe card has the directions to make Harissa using the spice packet, make the sauce by preparing veggies, and finished off with poached eggs.
It also gives suggestions on where else you could use Harissa. I think it would great with chicken, rice, and some zucchini, squash, peppers, and onions. It also corresponds with the Tunisian food card that talked about couscous, bread, stew, and dates. I will have to say that the Tunisian recipe was a bit adventurous for our family and was not a huge hit, I think it was more of the combination of everything, while being pretty to look at, was too unique for palates. I am proud of us for giving it a shot though.
 
The final part of our box were the Mementos
These mementos are (when available) handcrafted, locally sourced artifacts that are significant to Tunisia.
 
We were sent a copper plate and wooden spoon
1. A Copper Plate: These types of plates are common throughout Tunisia. People collect them and use them as decorations in their homes. They admire the different patterns, calligraphy, and sizes of them. This plate was hand made in Dar Chaarbane El Fehri, a 1,400 year old city in Northern Tunisia.
2. Handcrafted Olive Wood Spoon:  This spoon was specially made for Kitchen Table Passport. It is made of a dense olive wood, the resists odor and stains better than other woods and can last for years when properly cared for. It can be used to make Harissa too! The spoon was made by hand in Dar Chaarbane El Fehri, a 1,400 year old city in Northern Tunisia.

Meal time is such an important part of our life, and even though we are crazy busy, we eat most of our meals together. The Kitchen Table Passport allowed us to be cooking together, trying new things (something out of our normal comfort zone) and gave us the opportunity to learn about and discuss a different culture in a fun, easy way. Kitchen Table Passport is a great way to keep your family dinner exciting and different each month!

Want It? Buy It!
Explore the world from your kitchen with Kitchen Table Passport. They do the research, you choose what subscription works best, you can learn and eat new and exciting things all in your home. You can also follow Kitchen Table Passport on their social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and their very own Blog.
 
Thanks to everyone at Kitchen Table Passport for helping us discover and explore other countries! 



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