I was very curious to hear how Jenny and Rob's first week of fish eating was going, and Jenny sent me this picture, early in the week, and I knew all was well:
It's a photo of their three-year-old daughter Miriam eating fish for the first time.
Jenny and Rob were suprised and delighted at how Miriam took to fish, even to the point of preferring it over French Toast Casserole when dinnertime came. So many terrific things happenned to them during this ambitious week, we put together a top ten list.
TOP TEN GREAT THINGS THAT HAPPENNED TO JENNY AND ROB LAST WEEK BECAUSE THEY'RE EATING FISH
10. "Miriam eating fish without prompting," said Jenny. Jenny and Rob were nervous that fish would become one of those classic dinnertime struggles with Miriam. But it didn't turn out that way at all!
9. "It's fun to tell people we're trying fish because they give us recipes to try," said Rob. The support of a community is a really good thing. "I've shared my experience on Facebook, and people are giving me tips and recipes. It's neat to have that kind of community," said Jenny.
8. Their neighbors said that when the month is done, they'll have them over for Maryland Steamed Crabs as a reward.
7. Rob's made a similar offer; his parents are avid fish-eaters, and recently returned to Maryland with a cooler full of fresh Carolina fish they intend to freeze. Next time they see Rob and the family, they've promised to share the goods. "They're excited that we're trying something new that they really love," said Rob.
6. Jenny's Caesar Salad dressing is the best she's ever made. She added anchovy paste to the dressing, and now it has that oomph. Rob gave it a high compliment, "My favorite Caesar is at Outback, with that strong, garlic flavor. This one tasted similar."
5. They ate their fish naked (er...the fish was naked, not Jenny and Rob). They chose Tilapia Tacos as their first fish dish (see recipe below). As you can tell from the photo, the fish isn't smothered with guacamole, cheese or salsa; it's right there, naked, under just a couple of grilled peppers and onions. "It's like learning to drink coffee," said Jenny. "If you can drink it black, cream and sugar makes it even better.
4. Rob visited his local fish monger for the first time. "When I was a kid, I remember going to the grocery store and looking at the lobster," recalls Rob. "It's a fun place to go." Miriam is also becoming interested in lobster; Jenny and Rob are contemplating that for their end-of-the-month family meal.
3. Tilapia is expensive; but a little goes a long way. Tilapia from the fishmonger cost Rob $8.99 per pound, but a pound of tilapia went a long way with this family. The first night, they enjoyed fish tacos, the next they had a pasta dish with vegetables and leftover tilapia. Rob enjoyed tilapia on a salad the next day, and there were plenty of pasta leftovers for another meal.
2. Rob's mom shared her recipe for shrimp and grits with Jenny. I'm hoping she might share it with us, too.
And the very best thing about the first week of fish eating for Jenny and Rob....
1. "Connecting to Rob's family; his parents and their roots. That felt good," said Jenny.
That's part of the fun of food after all, sharing it. Rob grew up fishing, but couldn't eat the stuff. This might be a wonderful way to gather round the table and enjoy a meal of crabs and shrimp together.
That is, unless Miriam takes it all for herself.