A Fish Called Stick.

Eating rice cakes is like chewing on a foam coffee cup, only less filling.”--Dave Barry

Watching my kids eat fish sticks made me sad. I would rather they have some fresh mafuti or lagua (parrot fish).

My four year old daughter asked, “What’s this crunchy stuff on the outside? Is the fish born this way?” I mumbled back, “Oh, no. That is breading, it isn’t natural.” I felt bad feeding fish sticks to my children. Bad mommy!—ran through my head.

Being in SoCal, I’ve been able to grill and fry mackerel for the kids on occasion. They typically love it! When we trek to IHOP for breakfast, my islander son always gets the Jr. Tilapia and broccoli.

Watching my kids eat this food that is morphed makes me think we should just go vegan or totally organic, but being Chamorro…makes that tough. I know, not impossible, but Spam is a top food from my motherland. (Spam is known as “ham” in my house—Ham’s evil, lazy step brother--who's allowed out of the pantry once in awhile). Jasmine rice is served several times a week and my daughter loves bread. If we were on Guam, I’m sure she would go nuts for potu and manha titiyas—I did at the Chamorro Cultural Fest last week (Thanks, Abel’s Island Food Products).

I’m happy to report (thanks to my mom’s Korean healthy diet) that my children love fruit. They just devoured a plate of Fuji apples and low fat cheddar. My daughter ate carrot sticks the other day because her Nina Kim prepared them and my son loves grilled onions, cilantro, mushrooms, eggplant and bell peppers.

Thinking of my mother and life growing up on Guam, I recall eating fried chicken (which she prepared from scratch) and I told her it was so delicious. She said, “This store chicken is not tasty at all. Wild chicken tastes better, more flavor.” My mother’s right. She lived organic before organic was crowned Prom Queen.

She wasn’t afraid of flavor. I have memories of her eating fruit bat stew (images of the fanihi's bared teeth swimming in coconut milk broth still haunt me). I remember my mom slurping on a boiled egg (balut) with a tiny, mostly formed baby chick peeking out. I’m not about to go ranch food crazy here, but my point is that my mom knew flavor. She craves fresh vegetables (often she complains of the outrageous prices on Guam for green onions)—won’t name the store, but there are only a few Korean markets on island.

I find some of the tastiest dishes have the simplest ingredients. Guacamole (avocado, cilantro, tomato, onion, lime) = magic. That tomato salad for bruschetta…who knew tomato, olive oil and garlic could be so crave worthy. Soft mozzarella on slices of tomato with fresh basil—forget about it. I didn’t try oatmeal until I married and moved to SoCal…tragic really.

What am I going on about? Just sharing an observation about food. How I want my children to enjoy true, rustic, tasty, healthy foods in their most true forms. I guess with aging, my concerns about what I put into my body surface. Work in progress…definitely.



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