As much as I like to cook, I don’t cook every night. And, despite the fact that I cook often, my husband doesn’t always want to eat what I served to the kids at 5PM. Enter: the delivery man. “Is that sushi for me?” Mingus asks when a man with a brown paper bag arrives at our door. “No.” [I cringe] “It is not.” I try to distract him. “Would you like some Manchego?” “How about a pear?” Although Mingus has outgrown allergies to wheat, eggs, tree nuts and peanuts, a new allergy recently appeared. FISH. It was a blow. We eat a lot of Salmon and we have a religious sort of faith in the importance of Omega 3 fatty acids – you know, the kind that are found in fish. Regardless, Mingus would like to eat sushi and – because I like to see him smile, my mission is: fish-free sushi.
I’ll make the ingredients appear: cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, mango and avocado. Add sushi rice (who knew it had so much sugar and salt?) and thinly sliced steak. The boys can have the pleasure of wrapping it all up.
Mingus recognizes the seaweed laid out on a cutting board and exclaims, “Oh, I want to make sushi!” Perfect. He sets right to work.
On a regular day I’d say that dip bowls are for the hoity-toity, but sprinkling fairy dust puts everyone in a good mood and I bring him a bowl anyway. Mingus dunks his hands in, relieved, and notices “It gets so slippery the rice can’t hang on.”
Knowing his bowl of water is nearby, he focuses on his sushi and tolerates the sticky rice long enough to lay it down. It helps to describe it as “glue”.
Mingus wants help laying down all the ingredients. He tastes each one along the way.
“The carrots are even better than regular carrots,” he notes.
“What makes them better?” (aren’t these the same carrots I’ve been feeding him all along?)
“Soy sauce!” (oh yes, salty salt liquid salt)
I wrap the roll up for him and cut it into bites. The trick with little kids is to make the rolls very very small. Mingus declares, “It’s terribly good.” And then gives me a very friendly eye-locked, “Arghh.”