AAPI Heritage Month is Here: Meet Rowena Scherer

Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) is celebrated annually in May to pay tribute to the current and historical contributions that generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to American society and culture. This month is an opportunity to honor the vast diaspora of people from East, South, and Southeast Asia, as well as the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.

In celebration of AAPI Heritage Month, we are excited to introduce Rowena Scherer, founder of eat2explore and author of our latest cookbook, A Taste of the World: Celebrating Global Flavors. Check out Publishing Assistant Brooke Shannon’s conversation with Scherer below. Stick around for a downloadable recipe from the book! 

Q: What inspired you to write A Taste of the World? 

I started eat2explore, a food-and-cultural experiential cooking kit, to bring cultural education alive through the exploration of world cuisines for kids and families. I grew up in Malaysia, and some of my fondest memories were of cooking with my family while learning and sharing stories. I designed these cooking kits to recreate that experience and broaden it, using the unique foodways of various cultures as a bridge to fun learning and great eating.

A Taste of the World came about because many of eat2explore's customers love our recipes and asked for a cookbook with all our recipes organized by country. The cookbook compiles all eat2explore's recipes.

Q: Describe how the book is organized. 

A Taste of the World is organized by continents and broken down into countries within each continent. The cookbook covers 20 countries, with 3 recipes per country, except for the United States, which has 6 recipes.

Each recipe features 4 to 6 clear steps of instructions accompanied by visuals for each step. Additionally, each recipe is assigned 1, 2, or 3 stars to indicate the skill level needed for each step. For every recipe, there's a task appropriate for children of any age who are cooking with you.

In many cases, the ingredients list offers alternative options that, if chosen, will easily accommodate gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan diets.



The cookbook is generously peppered with facts about the featured countries. For example, “Hangul is the Korean alphabet, created in the 15th century.” Was it important to you to show all readers—young and old—that there’s more to a cookbook than recipes? How do the storytelling elements of A Taste of the World impact the reading experience? 

This cookbook aims to unite families through the joy of culinary adventures, blending the discovery of global cultures and cuisines with fun learning. By introducing kids to foods from different cultures, I hope to encourage them to engage in conversations about cultural differences, from traditions and heritage to languages and histories. It's these curiosity-driven conversations that create real opportunities to explore the unique attributes of each of our world cultures.


With the cookbook spanning over 20 countries, how could a family use A Taste of the World to celebrate AAPI communities? 

We have a full segment on the Asian continent in the cookbook, covering five countries from North Asia to Southeast Asia to South Asia. Within these five countries, there are fifteen recipes to showcase the diversity in flavors and ingredients. So, a great way to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month is by trying out different Asian recipes from our cookbook every other day in May!


How do you hope young readers will interact with your cookbook? 

Parents should encourage their children to first pick a continent they want to explore and then explore the country’s offerings together. Once they select a country, they can check out the recipes and choose one they would love to try.

Next, they should check their pantry and fridge to gather all the ingredients they already have on hand. Afterward, they can head out to a grocery store together to get any other necessary ingredients needed to prepare the recipe. Then, they can divide up the steps and start cooking!

Which recipe from A Taste of the World reminds you most of your heritage? And which recipe do you and your family return to the most?

My family's favorite recipe, which also reminds me most of home, is “Singapore Soy Chicken Rice” on page 46. Chicken rice is a dish originating from Hainan province. It has been adapted and popularized in Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Growing up in my hometown Muar, Malaysia, my favorite lunch spot was a small chicken rice hawker stall. There, you could see freshly cooked chickens hung on hooks for display, and the aroma of fragrant chicken rice, cooked in chicken broth, filled the air. Within minutes of placing your order, a plate of warm chicken rice topped with nicely sliced soy-poached chicken breast and fresh cucumber would be presented to you! 

Cooking my own soy chicken rice always transports me back to that small hawker stall. It is simple to make yet incredibly delicious comfort food!



Meet the Author

Rowena Scherer grew up in Malaysia and her fondest memories are when she cooked in the kitchen with her family. Years later, after working on Wall Street and living all over the world, she decided she wanted to create the same lasting memories with her children. She attended the French Culinary Institute, began to source hard-to-find non-perishable ingredients that highlighted her cherished foods, and started eat2explore, an explorer box filled with authentic recipes, activities, and collectibles that offered a worldwide cultural education through the exploration of food. Rowena lives in New York City with her husband, Joshua, and their two children.