Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Calder loves sushi. Nutritionally, this makes me very happy. It’s also nice that we’re often able to ditch the all-brown palette of most kid-friendly restaurant offerings (chicken fingers. chicken nuggets. grilled cheese. fish sticks. french fries. an item called the “magilla grrrrilla” which ostensibly is a grilled veggie patty, but which resembles nothing more than a flattened dog turd with hatch marks). Fiscally speaking, however, sushi is killing us. Much as any other 3.5 year old, Calder latches on to a food and then wants to have that food morning noon and night for the next month. I thought it was problematic when he went through a Parmiggiano Reggiano phase, but that was mere pennies compared to the wallet-emptying power of salmon sashimi and a spicy tuna roll. Once, under the guise of trying to bring a little culture to the toddler set, I told him that Japanese people ate fish and rice for breakfast (I may have been scarfing leftover fried rice directly from the fridge and wanted to give it a cultural slant....). Well, just call him Calder-san, because the little sakanaya thinks nothing of demanding his maguro while still pajama-clad. If we’re out driving around mid-day and I suggest that we should get some lunch, he’ll pipe up from the back seat “how about a little sushi, mom, wouldn’t you like that?” Dinner options have become limited…if I can’t bring the fish, he stomps around and then, with a dramatic flop on the couch, states “I’ll just have Cheerios then. I’m not hungry for anything else.”
One way I’ve found to ease the pain is to buy our sushi at Whole Foods — the selection isn’t spectacular, but the fish always tastes very fresh and when you subtract the restaurant extras such as edamame, miso, and those fabulous 20oz Sapporos, the cost savings is significant. We usually eat it right there in the store, squeezing little packets of soy sauce (“low sodium, mommy, not the salty kind that makes you crazy.”) into a communal dish and digging in. It’s a happy time, and I feel good about all those omega-3s the kid is getting.
The drawback to this plan, however, is that Whole Foods is no longer safe grocery shopping for me. No sooner do we enter the nirvana of the produce department then Calder is cajoling and pleading with me to just “look” at the sushi. If I dare to suggest pizza, or macaroni and cheese, you know, KID FOOD, I get not much more than a withering glance and the threat of a tantrum in the bulk foods aisle. This afternoon I was trying to turn a deaf ear to his majesty (we’re on day three of school vacation and it has done nothing but rain, so the ice is thin, very thin); I was perusing broccoli rabe and parsnips, when I dared mention what I thought was a shared appreciation for the beauty of the big purple eggplants. “Look Calder, look at how pretty the eggplants are, should we get one of these?” He threw his hands up in the air and hollered “AGAIN WITH THE EGGPLANT? BRING ME TO THE FISH!”
Current state: wallet light, belly full.