Wednesday, April 6, 2011

'All you ever cook are fish and pasta'

Potato chipsImage via Wikipedia
What's for dinner? Potato chips or mackerel in red-wine sauce?

My 13-year-old son came home around dinner time and lugged his book bag into his room.

While he was at the YMCA gym, I was shopping for fish to prepare for dinner. But when I went into his room to call him to the table, he was finishing off a large bag of potato chips.

"You're eating chips? What about dinner? I cooked mackerel (one of his favorites)."

"I don't want any," he said between bites of the chips. "All you ever cook are fish and pasta."

Even if that were true, he was the one who suggested more than 13 months ago that we stop eating meat and poultry, and he was the one who went back to being a carnivore when a hamburger was put in front of him on a flight several months after all of us took the pledge.

My wife also has returned to eating meat and poultry, but I've been happy eating only seafood, even as I cut down drastically on bread and pizza starting about six months ago to lose weight. I've shed 25 pounds.

I've added cheese to my diet, including the full-fat kind I used to avoid, pairing it with fruit or adding it to salads.

My son isn't being deprived of meat and poultry. This week, my wife prepared his favorite soup with chicken feet, and even added beef and ribs to it. I bought him uncured, preservative-free bacon from Trader Joe's.

Olives in olive oil.Image via Wikipedia

He raved about the macaroni with a sauce of olive oil, chicken broth, garlic and anchovies the first couple of times I made it, garnished with lots of fresh, wilted spinach and grated cheese, but now it's taken its place among the hated "pasta" dishes he avoids.

I bought organic ground beef at Costco in Hackensack for him, while stocking up on canned fish, vegetable stew, four-bean chili and other non-meat items for me, but once I took him to Smashburger, he refuses to eat a burger anyplace else.

I told my son that if he continued eating chips instead of the dinners I prepare, I won't return his PlayStation 3, which I hid because his school work suffered.

My wife didn't back me up. She said eating chips was no reason to deny him the video-game console. 

Fresh PastaImage via Wikipedia

I've had to be inventive without meat, poultry, bread and pizza as part of the dining equation, both at home and eating out. 

My breakfasts often are salads with the same ingredients I once stuffed into sandwiches -- smoked fish, sardines, cheese, tomato and so forth. 

This morning, I fried four quail eggs -- sunny side up -- from the Korean supermarket, and ate them with leftover baby bok choy, Korean stewed tofu  and a cooked cabbage-and-sweet-pepper dish my wife made. 

I just prepared a canned fish salad -- tuna, pink salmon, sardines and anchovies -- with Dijon mustard, lemon juice, cumin and other Middle Eastern spices, and diced celery and onion, and wonder if my son will have a sandwich of it for breakfast tomorrow.

I love pasta and rice, but can't eat them to my heart's content while cutting down on carbohydrates.

Eating out, there are several meatless Korean dishes I like and others that can be prepared without meat, and they always come with vegetable, fish and tofu side dishes that are perfect for me.

Everywhere else, I choose fish or shrimp for my entree, such as the fried whole tilapia I shared the other night with my wife at a Colombian restaurant.
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  1. You sound like a terrific father. It shows remarkable dedication, too, to become a father when you're around 50. Great job.

  2. Thanks. It's the most challenging thing I have ever done.


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