Several weeks ago, TM and I were in a local Vietnamese market and while browsing, saw packages of cooked, frozen clams for very little money. TM (who loves seafood in all forms) was instantly smitten by the little shells. As they weren't very expensive, I bought a pound and took them home where they sat in the freezer. Usually something like this would then be forgotten for months on end, except that a boy I know, when he is captured by an idea, is a wee bit preoccupied by it. In self-defense, I had to come up with a way to fix them. Thanks to my favorite Vietnamese cookbook, The Pleasures of the Vietnamese Table by Mai Pham, I found what I thought was a solution. It was a recipe for mussels in a lemongrass broth, but it said you could use clams as well.
The other thing that has been going on around here is a cooking bug that has infected several children. I have had numerous requests that each of them be allowed to cook dinner. (Shame, isn't it? You probably couldn't clock in seconds how fast I agreed to that.) So last night A. and TM took over the cooking duties. They did a great job and the clams worked out just fine. Nearly everyone loved them. A couple of children dutifully tried the clam on their plate and decided that it, perhaps, wasn't their favorite. We all decided that I need to buy clams again, and then perhaps get the slightly bigger bag.
This is one way to create adventurous eaters... to prepare new and different things and then try them. Not everyone may like them (but they are certainly NOT allowed to complain, just like any dinner), but the trying is to be praised. We also play up the whole fun and adventurous aspects of the whole endeavor. And there are always the times when a parent doesn't like the new food, but the children do. It's happened. It's also a great time to model trying and not liking a new food. Unless you are pushing your own taste buds, it's a little unfair to only make your children do it.
Of course, now TM has saved nearly every clam shell and wants to keep them. They have been sitting in a strainer all night and I think he will have a lot of scrubbing to do to clean them. I'm not even sure what to do with them after that so they won't smell. Any ideas?