Tag Archives: noodles

Japanese Food for Kids

kidThere are so few children whose parents can honestly describe as willing to eat anything that I imagine these omnivore kids are something like the parenting version of the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot.

We’ve heard tell of them; some have even been caught on camera, but no one we know accurately fits that description.

Certainly the children in my family are – let’s just say “choosy” about what they will and won’t eat. Here’s a brief run down:

  • They will not eat anything that can be described by any stretch of the imagination as “spicy.” This is further confused by their over-reliance of “spicy” as an adjective. For example, ice cream has been described by one three-year old nephew as “spicy.” Go figure.
  • They will eat pizza pretty reliably, so long as there is nothing more interesting than pepperoni (see, a “spicy” loophole) and cheese on it. But they will complain bitterly and even refuse to eat if the pizza’s shape, size, sauce, spices, or cheese deviates in any way from that which they prefer.
  • If Mom worked all day on a special meal, you can guarantee that a wail will arise just as the family sits down with a demand for: macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, or peanut butter sandwiches because they just can’t possibly eat that. Ew.

Interestingly, I’ve had some of my greatest successes with getting kids to eat Japanese food. I promise to really sit and ponder this at some point in the future and give you my professional opinion for why this is so but in the meantime, take my experience for what it’s worth.

  • I know have a seven-year old son who routinely asks for, eats, and raves about simple sushi rolls that involve shrimp, avocado, crab, and vegetables.
  • A four-year old niece who will sing a song that she wrote and arranged herself about how much she loves edamame. Seriously. Give her a bowl of cooled edamame and a spoon and that child is occupied. Please note: I’ve gotten the shelled edamame as well as the kind in shells and she does equally well with it. But I prefer giving her the shelled version.
  • A four-year old nephew whose appetite for Japanese dumplings, also known as gyoza, is legendary. He can wolf down those little wonton packets of yumminess as efficiently as one of those competition eaters!

I also do well with noodles and rice. As long as the veggies and sauces aren’t too intimidating, I have a shot at success.

I’ve also found that the more enthusiastic I am about a food – and therefore am less inclined to share it – the more likely it is that I will be asked to share it. I don’t know if it’s Murphy’s Law or some arcane economic theory at play, but it almost never fails.

So keep eating the stuff you like and see if the kids in your life aren’t clamoring to pick up a spoon or a set of chopsticks of their own.

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So Tell Me About Peaches

Last night in the grocery store I was half-listening to the TV they had set up at the checkout. I was rushing to arrange everything on the belt just the way my mother had taught me (cold stuff together, heavy stuff together, chemicals for cleaning together, etc.) when I heard the fascinating fact that peaches originated in China.

As a devotee of New Jersey’s peach crop (it was the only food I can recall missing when I lived in Burkina Faso for two years), this was news to me. But it’s true (I┬áconfirmed it on Wikipedia).

The peach fact reminded me of a new show I caught on the Cooking Channel called Food(ography) hosted by Mo Rocca. I will say it here and now: I love Mo Rocca. And I love him even more after watching this show in which he talks about food in the context of culture.

The episode I caught was called “Noodlerama” and it talked about pasta and how different cultures have adapted it. The show airs Sundays at 9 p.m. and the only criticism I have of it – and this is minor and probably part of the charm of the show – is that I have a hard time believing Mo Rocca. Something in his sardonic delivery just makes me wonder if he’s making the whole thing up.

But if you – like me – enjoy getting a history lesson along with a tour of food and culture delivered in a way that will make you laugh out loud, then this might be the show for you.

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