Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fish Fry

Oh my god, my daughter is eating fish. She is four years old. I'm going to say that again: she is four years old and she eats fish. I am just about ready to go shout it from the mountaintops.

I do personally know a five-year-old who is a vegetarian and has been eating fish for years, so I realize that this is not considered a huge accomplishment or brilliant talent in every household. But in mine: yes.

Six months ago, I would have had to hold my children down and pry their mouths open to get them to even taste fish. They felt about it the way you or I would feel about "just a taste" of a worm saute. It was that repellant to them.

But in the last few weeks, as I've been mentioning, they've been coming out of their crazy food psychosis. I've pressed a taste on them here and there of this and that, including fish, and they've taken it. Now it's pretty standard, that they taste everything. This alone is a huge step forward.

So a couple weeks ago my daughter had a taste of fish... and wanted more, but it was all gone. Over the next few days it became an obsession. "I want more fish." "When can we have fish again?" "Are we having fish tonight?" "I love fish, and we NEVER have it." (Why would I think that just because it's about fish that it would be any different than it is about everything else?)

I finally got fish again, tilapia. I dredged it in flour, a big pinch of salt and paprika, and fried it in butter, the way my grandfather used to when we would go fly fishing at his house in North Carolina. (He actually kept a pan and hibachi grill in the shed down by his trout pond for quick meals.)

I served it as fish tacos, because my son loves tacos with cheese and guacamole. This way, everyone would be happy.

And everyone was. Except that I had to stop her from eating all the fish. Seriously. I made her stop eating fish. I made her stop eating fish. What golden words are these tumbling forth from my charmed finger tips?

Now all she wants is fish and she keeps chowing down.

My son, not so much. But I feel thrilled and satisfied. Our meals are so calm. Everyone eats something. It really works, just continuing to eat real food in front of your kids, breaking down the meals when you have to, pushing when you can, accepting when they won't. It works. It works. I'm going to go cry now.

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