Just as with any new skill that you want to learn, learning to cook like a native of your new region is something that takes time. But you can make things easier on yourself by beginning sooner rather than later. By preparing for the transition to new foods and new ingredients being available to you, you will begin to feel more at home when you arrive, rather than feeling lost in relation to the foods that you’re eating.
To begin, you will want to pick up a native cookbook if there is one available to you. These can easily be found through your local bookstore or online retailer. Or, you can spend less money by researching recipes online under the ethnicity that you will be moving into. By taking a few of these recipes and adding them to your weekly rotation of meals, you will begin to introduce new tastes and cooking styles, getting them ready for the transition when you move.
This works very well when you’re moving your children along with you. Because children tend to enjoy familiarity, especially when it comes to stressful situations, starting to cook like a native will allow them to find some sort of sameness in their new home. You might also want to involve your child or children in the cooking process so that they feel like they are contributing.
Once you arrive in your new home, you will want to explore the local restaurants, though not the ones that favour tourists. Try to find restaurants where the locals actually eat. You can do this by walking around the local towns and looking in the windows or by simply staying off the main tourist areas. When you’re in these restaurants, try to ask questions about the foods, how to prepare them, and how to eat them. You can actually learn a lot about a culture through their preparation of food.
You might also want to find neighbours or new friends that might be willing to teach you things about the local cuisine. If you’re moving because of work, you might want to ask if you can help a new coworker prepare a meal one evening, or make a dinner of it. This will allow you to relate to your new group of acquaintances as well as help you learn about the cooking possibilities.
You may also be able to find a number of cooking classes that are offered in your current location that will allow you to learn about the basic spices and cooking tasks that are generally used. Test these lessons out on your own, and while you might not get a recipe right the first, second, or even seventh time, you’re still learning about your new home.