Tag Archives: sushi

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.


Filed under Asia, Eat

Exploring Japanese Food

Most people immediately think of sushi when they think of Japanese restaurants, or even hibachi restaurants. If you’ve been there, tried that, consider choosing something new next time you’re in a Japanese restaurant.

I admit that one of my proudest moments as a mother and amateur chef was the day my son tried sushi for the first time. Still, I understand that sushi is not everyone’s idea of a good time. So if you’re eager to introduce your child to new foods, start with something simple.

For example, gyoza are delicious Japanese dumplings that are often served with raw, diced vegetables.

Noodles are usually a big hit with kids. If your children are adept at spaghetti, try them on soba noodles, which are made from buckwheat flour and served either in a soup or with a dipping sauce on the side. Be careful – the dipping sauce can be spicy.

Udon noodles are wheat-flour noodles that are usually served in a soup paired with tofu, shrimp, and vegetables.

Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong. Japanese food is thought to be among the healthiest in the world. Just watch out for the tempura.


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Filed under Eat, Holiday

I Double Dog Dare You

I can get a little kid to try almost any food without resorting to bribery or dares.

Tofu? Devoured it.

Sushi? Slurped it up.

Channa Masala? It’s our new Hakuna Matata.

I’ve gotten little kids – ages 3 to 6 – to try all of these things. If I’ve learned one thing from my experiences overseas it’s this: if you’re hungry enough, you’ll try anything.

Now before you imagine that I have cruelly deprived my child or other children from food in order to get them to try new things, you’re mistaken. I’m the first person to yell, “Let’s make popcorn,” when I babysit for friends’ or relatives’ children.

But on rare occasions, I also manage to convince these little kids to snap out of their chicken nugget ruts and try something new.

Of course, it may have had something to do with the presentation of the food!

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