*Amy shares her thoughts on having to eat fish and not complain in order to be a good example to her kids at the dinner table.
It wouldn’t be honest if I said I really liked fish. In fact, in all honesty, fish is probably one of my least favorite foods, and I don’t really like seafood either (although there are a few things I can choke down if necessary). This character flaw, as my sister so sweetly describes it, has caused trouble all of my life. In general most people like fish. Most of society loves fish – I can say that because, trust me, fish is always on a menu and sometimes seafood is the only thing on a menu.
Truly, I wish that I liked fish (and seafood). Tonight’s dinner would have been amazing if I did! Lee and Mom prepared another Well Fed Family feast: slow-cooked collard greens, fresh sweet corn on the cob, purple-cabbage vegetable slaw, cornbread …. and yes, you know where this is going … fried catfish. After going on last night about how wonderful the green beans smelled, I was a little nervous about tonight’s meal. I really didn’t want to smell the catfish frying; I don’t have any happy childhood memories tied into the smell of fish, trust me on this. Thankfully, the catfish did not smell fishy! In fact, it had a nice country-fried smell because Lee dredged it in Cajun seasoned sprouted corn flour and fried it in bacon grease. The catfish fillets looked beautiful, sizzling on the griddle all golden brown. And the cousins were salivating over them – they couldn’t wait to “have at ‘em!”
Cajun fried catfish fillets
We didn’t really have what one might call a “kid friendly meal,” yet our six children ate with gusto tonight. Some kids were not crazy about the collards or slaw. Some kids had never had catfish. Some kids discovered they liked a new food. Some kids confirmed they still didn’t like collards. Everybody tried everything, though, and everybody ate well. Including me. Since I’m being honest tonight, I need to say that things were not always this way for Well Fed Family and children. Years ago I had a child who lived almost exclusively on grilled cheese sandwiches, Nutri-Grain bars, fruit, canned green beans, American cheese slices, and bread. Yet tonight he ate eagerly. And I must confess that not too long ago I would have turned up my nose at the catfish and collards myself.
What happened that caused a picky eater to become adventurous and eager, and a life-long confirmed fish-hater (I’m not using that word lightly) to actually look optimistically at a catfish dinner? And actually eat it without choking? I believe the answer is Real Food. Real Food is what happened. Over a period of 11 years, we phased out the processed foods engineered to always look/taste/smell the same regardless of the season, location, and shelf-life. We gradually replaced that food with the real stuff that’s always different depending on the season and location, and never has a shelf-life. Over time, we re-trained our taste buds to enjoy new textures, colors, and flavors; I will take it a step further to say that our taste buds now expect to experience variation with every meal. It wasn’t something we intended to do, and there were battles along the way, but it is a very pleasant result that has even been good for me.
Tonight was memorable. Six children, some of whom used to be picky, ate adventurously and asked for more! And, yes, so did I. That’s just one of the things Real Food will do for ya.
Cajun catfish, sprouted cornbread with raw butter, sweet corn, collards, vegetable slaw
Note from Lee: the catfish fillets came from the Fish Market connected to the Auburn University School of Fisheries & Aquaculture. The market also sells tilapia and shrimp raised locally.
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