Friday, May 16, 2008

Hello sushi lover!

In our last neighborhood, we used to go to a little sushi restaurant several times a week. We got to know the incredibly hard working owners quite well. When we would walk in he would say, "Hellooooooo sushi lovers!" When I was pregnant with Reagan, he would point towards my belly and say, "Future sushi lover!" He would not be disappointed with Reagan today. Tonight was sushi night and Reagan got edamame, fried rice, and of course, sushi. I'm impressed with how well she has mastered eating these things.

First up, edamame. If you aren't familiar with edamame, it is soybeans that have been boiled in heavily salted water. You pick up the pod, stick it in your mouth, and with your teeth scrape out the beans and toss the pod. We used to shell the beans for Reagan and she would gobble them up faster than we could shell them. Now she can pop those beans out of the shell with her teeth just as fast as you or I could. She pounded almost an entire order of them tonight. Here she is working the edamame.

Warning: These photos were taken on a camera phone so the quality is pretty craptastic




Next is the sushi. In the US we tend to be incredibly overly cautious about consumption of fish in pregnant women and children. Yes, there are fish that should be avoided, but health benefit to the consumption of safely handled, low mercury level fish greatly outweighs the risks in my book. As in anything moderation is key. Tonight Reagan only had smoked salmon as her fish in her sushi. Contrary to popular belief, sushi doesn't mean "raw" it just means "with rice." Frankly, I have no problem giving her salmon even raw now that she is two. However, going the smoked salmon or selecting a fully cooked fish may be a better choice for some a little anxious to give raw fish.


If you are still thinking "Eeewww! No way would I eat sushi or give it to my kid", let's dissect further. Reagan had a "bagel roll." A bagel roll uses a filling of smoked salmon, avocado, and cream cheese. It is wrapped in seaweed (which is really an algae, but whatever) and then rice stuck around the outside of the seaweed. Other than the seaweed, is there really anything there you haven't eaten? And if you haven't tried the seaweed wrap, I promise it's not offensive. But most restaurants will let you substitute the seaweed for rice paper if you are a little gun shy. The rice paper is actually easier for kids to eat too since admittedly the seaweed wrap can get a little chewy.

There are other sushi roll options that actually use fully cooked fish that even the most timid (read: my mom) would enjoy. How about trying a super crunch roll that uses tempura shrimp and a yummy spicy mayo? (We won't give Reagan shellfish until three so this is off limits for her, but I'm certain any shrimp lover would enjoy it!) Just look for "maki rolls" on the menu and they will indicate which ones are cooked rolls.

Here is Reagan cramming a bagel roll in her mouth.



And I ask you, what sushi experience is complete without chopsticks? Reagan gets the "trainer" version that make it pretty simple to use. It is two chopsticks rubber banded together so she just has to pinch them to pick up food. I think she's mastered them pretty well. Here she is popping another bagel roll in her mouth.

For those of you who are already sushi lovers, I'm sure my sushi knowledge bored you to tears. But hopefully you enjoyed the pictures of Reagan anyway. For those of you who don't eat sushi, my sushi knowledge probably still bored you to tears. But I hope maybe I inspired you to at least give it a thought for you and your children. My goal is to never resort to the "kid chicken nugget" meal option because they won't eat anything else on the menu. I want the girls to have exposure to lots of different foods and cultures. Maybe one day they'll get the opportunity to visit Japan or another country and they'll be ready to experience all that the culture has to offer. Until then, I want them to appreciate the variety and difference in foods and cultures as something to be enjoyed and respected even while we are here in the good old US of A.

Mmmmm.....sushi.

65 comments:

Dawn said...

too cute. My alex would proli love it too. he loves pish(fish). Reagan is so cute eating with her chopsticks.

Cristie said...

I am totally craving sushi now.
Must...go...get...sushi!

MrsMoma said...

We LOVE sushi in our house!!! Yum! The pics are hilarious..she's chowing down. :)

American Girl in Japan said...

Precious precious! You knew I'd love this post didn't you? Doodle took to japanese food like a fish *hardy har* in water. To help her use hashi, you might try out these training chopsticks. Doodle used them for the first year or so, now she's a regular hashi user :) http://www.amazon.com/Pack-Combi-Successories-Training-Sticks/dp/B000GEKF78

The Denny Family said...

OMG that is so cute!!

Joanna said...

Bridget - If I brought Michael down to visit, do you think you could find a way to get him to try different foods? I'm now dying for sushi...but I don't have anyone to eat it with. Heck, I'd settle for Michael and my husband to eat chicken nuggets as long as I could have some sushi.

gLobeY said...

Xaelen LOVES sushi! We go out to sushi usually once a week to this great hole-in-the-wall place by our house. His favorite, by far, is the crunchy roll. Edemame, tofu and miso soup must accompany his crunchy roll for him to be totally happy. :) I think Xaelen & Reagan would get along blissfully!

Maria said...

Bridget-
Reagan is so cute. I love the one of her crammiing the roll in her mouth. Of only I looked so cute shoving food in my mouth!

Sandi said...

That is so stinkin' cute! We make "gringo" sushi at our house (no fish, rice paper, etc.) and I can sometimes get my kids to eat it. I do like the real stuff and it's such a treat to eat when I get a chance.

Deanna said...

Oh my gosh! I love it! And I now want to try sushi! I never thought I'd say that, but it sounds like there are so many different options! Yup, will be trying that...heard there's a good sushi place downtown. Thanks!

Mama Mia said...

CUTE..we are not sushi eaters, but B eats ALL kinds of fish...he LOVES it..we call it ALL fish sticks...the pics were great!

DesiDVM said...

A kid after my own heart! Jackson had sushi for the first time when he was maybe 9 months old and loved it - we were so relieved. He gets so excited on sushi night (every other week it's our payday treat). He starts going "shi-shi, shi-shi" when we get close to the restaurant.

Lindsay said...

Do we need to come over there and make you put down the WoW??? =)

We took JTC for sushi for the first time tonight. I think the only parts he ate were the edemame and some shrimp tempura. He was otherwise unimpressed.

Fullerton Family said...

Reagan is too cute w/ her chopsticks and sushi! What a cute little girl!

Janet said...

That's great that she loves so many different things and is eating well! We have trouble getting Kade to eat most things. And, for what it's worth, I enjoyed the education on sushi! I didn't know any of those things!

Pam said...

I love how you broke it down. Now I feel the need to let my kids enjoy sushi even though I'm not a sushi lover. Thank you for the tip on the rice wrapper.

Crystal said...

I miss sushi. cheated and had some when preggers, now i havent had any because i am broke..going to have to demand it soon.

Zoey's Mommy said...

I am in love with her! She is so adorable with her chopsticks! I have to admit, I've never had sushi, and just the thought of eating it makes my stomache turn. However, that's not to say that someday I won't eat it. Never say never I guess!

Sheri said...

I could use a few sushi lessons! I'm not squimish about trying it, but I absolutely don't want something totally raw, or really slimy!

Love the pics. . .

Debbie said...

Sushi is not easy to find here in southern Indiana, but I have no doubt Noah would chow down on it. He eats anything and everything, to the point that I wonder if he has no "off" switch. Maybe we'll have to venture to Indy for sushi one of these days.

Suzanne said...

Nope...not a lot of sushi out here on the Illinois Prairie, lots of pork, corn and soybeans growing in the fields. We grow soybeans but we do not eat them. I'll venture a guess that we grow a large percentage of the world's soybeans.....and we don't eat them.

My son ate everything as a child. Literally, he would eat anything we put in front of him including chubs (smoked fish) head and all. The butcher would be amazed when he would see the chubs in the grocery store and beg for me to buy them.

This same son took me to a sushi place and ordered, promising me I would love it. Out came this thing in the shape of a snake, covered in slimy Salmon skin. YUCK...YUCK...YUCK. Get me a steak quick. Not setting foot back in that slimy fish skin place.

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

EmBee said...

Bravo for you! My son is 18 and it doesn't matter WHERE we go out to eat, all he EVER orders is Chicken Nuggets, Strips or Pieces... Fortunately my daughter is a bit more adventurous but I doubt either of them will ever try sushi.

trashalou said...

At six and nine my two are heading back into the 'I don't eat anything that isn't bland and boring' phase but I figure so long as they keep trying things that are new I'll be happy. Living out in the middle of the hills we don't see alot of sushi!

Rhea said...

My kids go in and out of different phases. Luckily the 11 yr old is willing to try almost anything. Cute pictures of your daughter eating sushi! She looks like she knows how to use those chopsticks.

Judy Haley said...

thats awesome. she seems a more adventurous eater than most her age.

Cecily R said...

I just recently had my first sushi experience. She is already more cultured than I am.

And I still have to use the training chop sticks. I am such a utensil loser...

angie said...

Those "craptastic photos" are pretty great. They catch the essence......my kids love sushi, too.

Sunshine said...

I'm really impressed and the pics are great. She is really enjoying all that good stuff for her!

Thanks for explaining all of it, cuz I have no idea what I'm doing in the sushi department. It sounds sooooo good right now though and it's only 7:40 a.m.

Now if I could just figure out where to get sushi. :)

Saw you on SITS!

Cristin said...

I'd be pretty happy to get my (tube fed) kid to eat a chicken nugget! Sushi is just fantasy land!! Well Done!

Mama Dawg said...

I'm a huge sushi fan and tried to turn my daughter on to it with no results.

However, she LOVES, LOVES, LOVES edamame.

This past trip down to New Orleans, I finally got her to try some sushi at Mikimoto's and she actually liked it.

Too bad I can't get any here where I live.

I miss sushi.

Melanie said...

Wow I still can't use chopsticks well. That's amazing. And I have a new word, Craptastic. You are good.

Karen said...

Very cute with the chopsticks. She is doing better than I am.!! I'd starve if I had to rely on them to eat with. :-)

I think it's important to expose kids to a wide range of foods. I did that with mine and they did great.

Incidently, the school that my grandkids go to, back in NZ, has sushi on it's lunch menu.
http://www.russley.school.nz/our_school.htm

Click on 'Lunch Menu' then on 'Russley lunch menu order form'

Smoochiefrog said...

Good for her! She'll be a breeze to feed as she gets older.

Great job mom!

Neurotically Yours: said...

Cute pics! She is a pro....I can't use chopsticks to save my life.

Deb said...

Oh good job - now I want some sushi!!
I think it's great that you let her experience the different foods and I agree with the "chicken nugget meal" comment. that's all my BFF's kids want - all.the.time

lfamily5 said...

That is so great! We love sushi - but only 1 of our 3 kids likes it! Hopefully you will be able to be the sushi-loving family!
Visiting via SITS

Simply Stork said...

very impressive :o)

~simply~

Jill said...

I haven't had sushi in FOREVER! Sounds a lot yummier right now than the PB&J sandwich I have waiting for me

Merrie said...

You started your girls out right. I'm sorry now that we didn't go this route -- too often we're the nugget orderers. Still, we have gotten them to try other things, and they do have open minds to some things. They love cashew chicken, and my son loves brussel sprouts! That's something, right??

Marla said...

awesome! my son loves to eat just the salmon roe off the rolls.

scargosun said...

Rock on cultured Mom! I love to see kids in ethnic restaurants (I am not kidding) b/c I am glad their parents are exposing them to something outside the box. I LOVE me some sushi too!

Mrs. S said...

When I was about 6-7 months pregnant, I went out with some managers from work to a sushi place. I tried everything (and really liked most of it...not the caviar stuff though). Only later did I think "oh maybe I shouldn't have eaten that," but we both turned out just fine. Now if only I could get my hubby to try it.

Amanda said...

you go girl! that's so awesome that you are exposing her to such dynamic cuisine at her age! Your MO about not ever having to resort to the "chicken nugget meal" is EXACTLY how i feel, and I will do everything I can to make sure my kids are exposed early to all kinds of food.

Blarney said...

Love sushi! My kids loved it too until other kids & parents spoiled our fun. Only recently have they become adventurous again ... thankfully!

Swirl Girl said...

Good for you! My girls have been eating sushi and edamame since they had teeth.

They are amazing eaters because we had/have a rule. You eat what we eat or you don't eat.

Sherri said...

I am impressed!!! I think I might be able to handle the bagel roll. IS that really what they are called?

Crazy Daisy said...

Photos are so cute!

Talisman said...

My kids LOVE sushi! Good for her for digging on it! :)

Adiel said...

What a great story!

I wish so much that I liked sushi, or any seafood for that matter. Its so pretty, but I just don't care for the taste.

Also...
From the mouth of Jim Gaffigan:
"Do you know what can survive in salt water? Monsters!"

Kristin said...

Thanks for the break down of sushi! We love it here, but its a no go for the kids. I might try again with some of your tips ;)

Mama's Losin' It said...

YUM!!!

And those pictures are adorable! I love the one where she's using the chopsticks! Atta girl!!

WheresMyAngels said...

Everyone always thinks it is raw fish, I have to explain a million times that it doesn't always involve raw fish. Especially when I am eating it. I HATE the taste of raw fish. Oh thanks for the rubber band tip on chop sticks, my youngest hasn't mastered them yet but always tries too.

Vicki said...

Awesome! My favorite are California rolls because you get fake crab in there and I don't have to worry about raw/not raw, whatever. We'll have to try the edamame because Ashlyn loves beans.

I'm all for feeding your kids what you're eating. Don't substitute and they'll learn to love even "adult" food.

Mamasphere said...

My daughter started with just the rice, then rice plus the insides, and now she'll pop the whole thing in her mouth. It took a while, but now we have another sushi lover in the family!

Toni said...

I love any kind of sushi and sashimi, if only I could afford to eat it daily LOL. Now can your daughter come and teach my daughter a few things LOL

Hairline Fracture said...

That is awesome! I have yet to try sushi myself, but I'll keep your suggestions in mind. We do try to avoid ordering American food in ethnic restaurants.

Missy said...

So cool that you expose your kids to different cuisine! My 8 month old adores anything w/ curry or garlic powder or oregano...it's all about what you give them an opportunity to try.

MomMega said...

Good for you! I share your philosophy on food! My hubby and I are total foodies and wonder if our son will be the same way...

Angela said...

What a sophisticated palate your little girl has! Good for you all!

Karen said...

I think your two-year-old has a more refined palette than my husband does! Bravo!

Michelle said...

I'm impressed. I do have my wee ones try sushi every time we get it, but they've yet to buy into it. They do looooooove edamame though (and cooked salmon)... but they love their chicken nuggets, too (not ketchup though!). Kudos to you.

I will admit that I'm still stuck on her beautiful hair though. Little Miss has nothing on her, and I'm jealous.

Gina said...

amazing!!! she's going to be SUCH a good eater for you!!! yay!!!

Scary Mommy said...

I am so envious- my kids would never touch it! She's adorable!!!

Gina said...

No. Raw. Fish.
Really any fish is teetering dangerously close to the edge for me.

The Epps Family said...

These pix are soooo funny! My 5 year old son loves sushi, too! It's healthier than a lot of junk they can eat!