As a mom I am always looking for healthy and quick meals for my family. I have to admit that it can be tough. We, as parents, have a lot to juggle and healthy meals can get lost in the circus of our busy lives. Last week, I noticed that spring was finally upon us and eating light was on my mind. The grill was ready to go, but the problem was that my 4-year-old wanted to “help,” and grilling is not the most kid-friendly of cooking techniques. I had to think quickly. It was 4:30 and dinner was nowhere in site.
My daughter Claire suggested sushi. I said, “no way, it is too expensive.” She said, “No, mommy lets make it.” “Uh oh,” said I. Then the excuses came rolling off my tongue, “no rice, no crab, no seaweed…um…. we are out of electricity to run the rice cooker.”
That is when I thought to myself”, “What are you thinking? Your child wants to be with you and make food, isn’t that what you do? Make it happen!”
I gave in and we started looking through the produce drawer to see if we could make this happen. We found a carrot, a cucumber, purple cabbage (Claire wasn’t so sure she was going to like this), and an avocado. We even had nori–seaweed wrappers–and some wasabi. We had the fixings for sushi after all!
I sheepishly plugged in the rice cooker, “Look honey, the electricity just came back on, boy are we lucky!”
I did not have authentic sushi rice but short grain white worked quite well. Claire washed all the veggies and I sliced them. We seasoned our rice with rice vinegar mixed with a little sugar. Claire had plenty of jobs to do and none of them involved going near the five hundred degree flame-throwing grill, thank goodness!
I happened to be lucky enough to have sushi molds in my pantry for just such an occasion (like these). Sushi making with kids is so much easier when you have the right equipment.
After a short and very fun rice-covered experience (don’t forget to dip your fingers in water before working with the rice or you’ll start to look like a Yeti) our dinner was ready. It took about 35 minutes and the sushi was beautiful. We all chowed down and Claire really liked the veggies with her rice. I have never seen her eat with so much excitement. She forgot to be worried about the purple cabbage because she was so proud of what she had created with her own hands. I was proud of her.
In the end, I learned that when kids have a hand in creating their own meals, they are much more likely to try something new. Plus they get a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes from a job well done.