May 2, 2012

Tastes like Chicken

I consider our family to be somewhat adventurous eaters. We love international cuisine and we eat curry at least once a week. Cate even had her first taste of shrimp in her first year. I guess that leaves me somewhat ashamed to admit that yesterday was the first time Cate ate fish.

Yes, she is nearing 4. 

Yes, I know fish is full of omegas and great for brain development.

Yes, I know we *should* be eating fish twice a week.

I grew up in a house where fish came in battered sticks from a fella name Mr Highliner and was served with ketchup (let's be honest, most things I ate were accompanied by ketchup). Living in the burbs outside of Ottawa, we didn't have access to fresh fish. Of the few times I can remember my mom cooking it when when they were entertaining, all I can remember is the smell.

Mmmm Nemo

I guess I've always been like that - smells can really set me off. Recently I made a whole bunch of turkey burgers to freeze, but unfortunately the smell of the defrosted turkey turned me off so badly that they are still sitting in the bottom of the freezer...

While I struggle with the smell, I wouldn't say that I dislike fish. I still remember how much I enjoyed fresh mahi mahi in Hawaii, or the time I went to The Pelican on Bank Street with my old boss and had the most delicious tilapia. I guess a big part of it comes down to the reality that you cook what you know. I haven't the least idea of how to cook fish really well. To the same token, anyone who knows me well knows that I don't really eat meat on bones, and well, fish have a whole lot of tiny little bones!

Putting my quirks aside, while perusing the frozen section for new dinner ideas this week, I came across the fish section. For some reason, this time I stopped and the shame of depriving my kids (and myself) of these crucial omegas prompted me to take a good look. It would seem as though the frozen fish department has expanded to include some items that actually look appealing! On a whim, I picked up some tilapia with a multigrain coating.

This is what I bought - highly recommended.

My expectation for the kids was that Maddie might eat it, but odds are Cate would take one bite after much coaxing and the rest would sit untouched. When I picked the kids up from daycare and I told Cate we were having fish sticks for dinner. I said they taste exactly like chicken nuggets (her favourite, she could live off those things). Surprisingly, she said "ok, Mom. Let's have chicken fishies".

It took a good 40 mins from the time we got home until they were ready, so I had two famished little girls on my hands. The fillets came out looking quite good, if you ask me. I cut them up for the kids - small bites for Maddie and larger nugget sized bites for Cate - and of course, served Cate's up with a side of ketchup (some habits never die).

Much to my surprise, she devoured them and promptly asked for more! Maddie also ate all of hers and started dipping her pieces into Cate's ketchup (she really is her mother's daughter). In the end, Cate ate more than a whole fillet herself! 

I could not believe I had waited so long. Especially because hubby came home and started munching on the leftovers. What was I waiting for?

Today when I picked the girls up from daycare I told Cate what we were having for dinner and she got upset with me and said she wanted more chicken fishies! I had to promise that we could have them tomorrow night since dinner was already in the slow cooker. 

I'm not sure if fish will make it into our weekly rotation, but now that the kids (and hubby) seem to enjoy it, I'll be sure to keep it in the monthly mix.

I guess our house might start getting a little smelly...

Am I the only parent who has waited so long to introduce fish? Do your kids like it? Do YOU like it? How often does your family eat fish? Have any recipes to share? 


Danielle aubin (BĂ©land) said...

I love reading your blog! :)

I just started eating fish sticks last year- I know.. im 27. Ive created the idea that I dont "like" certain foods in my mind and never expended to try them.. not sure where it all started!

I didnt even eat goat cheese until I was 25... because I didnt like the name. Crazy.... its one of my fav cheeses now!

I should try this chicken fish sticks... :)

Kataroo said...

My girls haven't tried fish either because I can't stand it, I wish I liked it, because its so good for you. I feel double guilty because Ryan LOVES fish. He had fish every day when we went on a cruise he was so happy to get some.

I will have to try these out on the rest of the family...and I will have some of those nice soy nuggets you introduced to us...MAN I LOVE THOSE.

Sasha said...

Meena just tried her first fish - and she's nearly 4. She kinda liked it, which is high praise from a girl whose only other source of protein is peanut butter (you know how the books tell you to get your kids to help make food so that they'll eat it? Don't believe it - she used to eat hummus until she helped me make it and, I guess, realized it involved chickpeas. Or something.)

Anyhow, we went pretty hard-core with the first fish - one daddy caught and not only showed her the whole fish before cooking, but after as well. Head on. Eyes in. I'm surprised she touched it.