Happy Three Kings Day! Here is an oldie but goodie Ay, Mama! Enjoy!
Remember the old Calvin and Hobbes comic strip where Calvin refuses to eat his dinner until his mom tells him it is spider pie, then he digs in?
That is my life now.
You might remember my writing about Dylan being a picky eater. He won’t touch any kind of vegetable and was on a strict Mac N’Cheese and PB&J diet for as long as I could remember. He would flat-out refuse to so much as try anything else, and if you forced it into his mouth he would promptly spit it out.
Then I had a stroke of genius. One night, shortly before we left for Puerto Rico, I was desperately trying to come up with dinner ideas. I saw some frozen fish fillets in the freezer but knew that Dylan wouldn’t eat them if I told him what they were. Instead I asked, “Would you like to try some shark fillets today?”
His head snapped up. “Shark?”
“Yes, all we have are these shark fillets, but I guess if you don’t want to eat them, we can go to the store and buy something else.”
“No, I want to eat shark! I want shark!”
And you know what? He ate every last bite.
Ever since that day, his palate has expanded beyond my wildest expectations. The first day we arrived in PR, Bill bought some morcillas (blood sausages) to share with the family. Now, there are many Puerto Ricans – myself included – who won’t go anywhere near a blood sausage. The moment we told Dylan they were made with pig blood, he pounced on them. He had an entire plateful.
A few days later, my mom bought two whole red snappers to cook for a paella. When Dylan saw the fish, he insisted he wanted to eat one for dinner – head and all. In fact, he kept stating he wanted to eat its eyes! We tried to dissuade him, and offered him a variety of other options for dinner, but only the snapper would do. In the end, Bill had to fry it up for him. He gobbled it all up, but I drew the line at the eyes, so he didn’t end up eating those.
During the remainder of our trip he tried even more astonishing things. Some things we were honest about, like octopus, others we had to embellish. For example, we had to tell him calamari were squid eyes since they didn’t really resemble an actual squid. He loved them. He also loved shrimp and bacalaitos (cod fish fritters).
The gross food game worked so well, in fact, that we’ve used it to entice him to eat things we already know he likes but for some reason was refusing to eat at a particular moment. Thus, strawberry ice cream has become “Bloody Snorkler” ice cream (I never in a million years will forget the moment when I heard my mom tell Dylan “Aren’t you glad Abuelita bought you Bloody Snorkler?”) and a PB&J cut up in half became “Dirt and Blood Graves.”
Now, if we can only come up with some gross names for vegetable, we’ll be all set!
Filed under: Uncategorized