Sunday, June 22, 2014

Squid, Anyone?

Ren's hometown, like many towns in Japan, is near the sea. He grew up eating great seafood and has never been thrilled with the unidentifiable selection of frozen fish at our local Midwestern supermarket. One of his life goals is to make sure the kids grow up with an appreciation for decent fish--which is how we found ourselves in a fresh squid restaurant on the coast of northern Kyushu yesterday. 

When Japanese people say something is fresh, they tend to mean it. Squid isn't completely fresh unless you are sitting on a boat and looking at it swimming mere minutes before you are eating it. Truly fresh fish is still moving (from residual nerve reflexes) on the plate in front of you.

Let me pause here to say that I am not particularly a fan of fresh fish. I prefer my fish to be of the freezer-burned block variety. I don't actually want to be reminded of what my meat looked like before it became my dinner; its dinner-plate form should in no way resemble its swimming-in-the-ocean form. But that's just me, and we ARE trying to raise bicultural kids, so occasionally I need to defer to Ren on these things.

So, I agreed to go seemingly willingly to the famous squid restaurant Ren suggested on our way back from a museum jaunt. As you might imagine, fresh squid is NOT on  my Top Ten Favorite Foods list.

Ren's Fresh Squid course that included a VERY fresh squid.
The kids loved the restaurant because,


it was on a boat, with big fish-tank like windows all over the place. I mean, what's not to love? Of course, the kids couldn't eat 75% of the kids' lunch due to allergy restrictions. 

So, we ordered ika don-- rice with fresh squid on seaweed with a raw egg on top for them. My hope was that somehow the freshness of the squid combined with their penchant for liking foods most kids their age don't would be enough to get them through the ika don.

It wasn't. Instead, all three kids refused to eat. This might have been one of the times I would let them get by with eating a few bites of white rice, but Ren saw this as an essential learning opportunity. We weren't going to leave until a majority of the ika don had been consumed. So, of course, there were tears. Followed by bribery.

In the end, Sky earned five bonus snacks for eating 15 bites of his. Pink earned one. If I was in the running, I would've earned three snacks of my own for my valiant attempt to get Pink P to swallow her three bites. It took close to two hours. The extra snacks led to extra bad behavior which led to possibly the worst Shichi-go-san (7-5-3 click here for link) photo shoot on the history of the planet. (But that's another story, one I may never find the courage to tell...)

Maybe one day I will figure out how to balance three kids' need for structure with their need for a 100% strict diet and our desire to have them experience as much of their two cultures as possible. But, yesterday was not that day. I guess at least now they can brag to their friends about the barely dead squid with raw egg they ate that time in Japan, so there's that.


Kuri said...

Where in Kyushu? (This is Erin's friend, Christine, btw). I'm in Kitakyushu. :)

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