Last year my husband and I started a new tradition for our family. We felt it was important for our kids to experience the tastes and flavors of other cultures, so we began our Foreign Food Fridays Feast. Every week a different country is chosen. So far we have done 48. I search anywhere I can find authentic recipes: friends, internet, library, etc. Then I spend a number of hours in the kitchen preparing multiple dishes to represent the cuisine of the chosen nation for our celebration on Friday. It's been a wonderful educational opportunity for all of us. Though I'm not a chef, I love to cook and learn new cooking techniques and ways to use new ingredients. The kids have learned to enjoy the new dishes we have tried though they still leave the occasional onion or pepper "hidden" on the side of their plate. We have even added a few of the favorites to our regular weekly rotation. There is only one problem with our weekly world travels: the pile of dishes covering every square inch of my kitchen counters. Some nights I use almost every pan I have (which isn't all that many but they sure make a big pile). After spending a couple hours cooking the last thing I want to do is clean up. This is where my wonderful hubby steps in. He cleans every dish and every counter top until the kitchen sparkles again. He tells me to go sit down and enjoy the kids or a book while he happily cleans up all my messes. When he's finished we watch movies with the kids until half of us have fallen asleep.
Despite the benefits, I don't think I would continue our feasts if I had to clean up as well. Working together, we have made Friday nights the most special night of the week.