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Calling the Water Drum dinner menu

A family dinner menu that combines Haitian classics with New York favorites. This menu accompanies the children’s book Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding.

Table spread of various dishes including red beans and rice. Family dinner menu to accompany the children's book Calling the Water Drum.

This month’s Family Dinner Book Club is about kids in crisis. Our lead book is Calling the Water Drum by LaTisha Redding. Go check out Growing Book by Book for a full reading list, conversation starters, and family service project ideas. Then head over to Sunny Day Family for a family activity. Keep scrolling here for a full dinner menu that can be prepared with the help of your family.

Overhead view of a bagels and lox platter by

Calling the Water Drum is a book about a boy named Henry who travels to New York from Haiti on a boat with his parents. Henry’s parents don’t survive the journey, he loses his speech, and arrives to live with his uncle in New York. This month’s dinner menu is a combination of Henry’s Haitian roots along with some New York favorite foods.

Calling the Water Drum
Family Dinner Book Club

Red Beans and Coconut Rice with Shrimp
Bagels and Lox Platter
Crispy Roasted Green Beans
Buffalo Cauliflower

Red bean and rice topped with shrimp.

Red Beans and Coconut Rice, called Diri Kole in Haiti, is a comforting blend of coconut rice, red beans, and spices. In this recipe, we toss the shrimp with the same seasoning blend and sauté to serve atop the rice. You can omit the shrimp to make this a vegetarian meal. This is a great recipe for kids to practice kitchen skills. Older kids can help chop vegetables, and younger kids can measure the spices and help stir everything together in the pot.

Bagels and Lox platter with accompaniments.

Bagels and Lox is a spread created in New York, and is now an all-American favorite. Born and bred (bread? ha!) in America, but comprised of immigrated ingredients. Isn’t that the beauty of America? She’s full of so many different cultures and when we come together in harmony we create something deliciously beautiful to be loved for years to come. Get the family involved in crafting this platter by letting everyone choose a favorite bagel topping to be included.

Platter of crispy roasted green beans.

Crispy Roasted Green Beans are a tasty and different way to get some more greens on the table, and in the bellies of your family. Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out maximum flavor, and when green beans are roasted, they dramatically change in texture. Kids have fun snapping the fresh green bean in half, and then using their hands to toss together with the oil and salt.

Buffalo Cauliflower is another roasted vegetable, this time tossed with spicy buffalo sauce – which originates from Buffalo, New York. The linked recipe is for basic roasted cauliflower. After it finishes roasting, simply toss with your favorite buffalo sauce. Kids can help prep the cauliflower by breaking it into florets. You can use your hands to break off the leaves from the head of cauliflower, and then to break into florets.

Overhead shot of a family dinner menu consisting of red beans and rice, green beans, cauliflower, and bagels and lox.

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