Photo credit: jefferyw on Flickr
There literally isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank my lucky stars for the invention of the internet. It saves my bacon all the time. In fact, it saved my bacon on Sunday night when I unexpectedly found myself searching for a tartar sauce recipe.
The situation was unexpected because I don’t like tartar sauce. I don’t like any kind of creamy dressing, actually. When I was a kid, the only kind of salad dressing in our house was Kraft Thousand Island. I’ve spoken to many of my peers, and they say the same thing. Apparently, Thousand Island was all the rage in the ’80s. My husband Jon still prefers Thousand Island above all others, but it was never my thing, even as a kid. I’ve always preferred a good vinaigrette. I have a thing for vinegar. As a child I used to drink it on the sly, in the same way my four-year-old son currently steals fingerfuls of butter when he thinks I’m not looking. I don’t do creamy, not even for ranch. It’s just not how I roll.
Getting back to my story, I had decided to make fish and chips for dinner, and we didn’t have any tartar sauce on hand. I do the grocery shopping, and since I don’t like tartar sauce it sometimes gets forgotten. I don’t refuse to buy it on principle or something, it just doesn’t cross my mind, in much the same way that it doesn’t cross my mind to buy liver. If we run out of tartar sauce and my husband forgets to put it on the list, it’s not going to make its way into my basket. Balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, that I remember. Sometimes I have to tell myself to stop buying it, in fact. Mmm, vinegar.
While the lack of tartar sauce was no skin off my teeth, for Jon the idea of eating fish and chips without a healthy dollop of the stuff is sort of sad. When we were discussing dinner he asked if we had any, and I said that I didn’t think so. He got all long in the face. Then it occurred to me that I’d heard something somewhere about being able to make your own tartar sauce pretty easily using mayo and relish. And so, I turned to my trusty friend the internet. It didn’t let me down. I found an easy tartar sauce recipe, and mixed up a batch. I tasted it, and found it overly creamy, but since I don’t like tartar sauce anyway I just shrugged.
I am happy to say that my husband did enjoy my tartar sauce. He gave compliments, and when I said that I didn’t like it he suggested I try some on my fish. Now, this is where I have to stop and ask why on earth people do this. I’m not singling out my husband here – the truth is I do this myself, on a regular basis, with my kids. Someone says they don’t like a food, and the first response they get in return is for me to wave that food in their face and suggest they try it. If my kid has never tried a food before, I’ll sometimes even go so far as to insist they take a few bites. And yet, even as I do it I know there is no way it’s going to work out. That kid who’s gagging at the sight of bok choi or peaches or whatever they’ve decided they don’t like today isn’t going to enjoy it when you literally shove it down their throat.
Apparently, the French have figured out how to overcome my children’s food objections. Their kids will eat anything. Probably even tartar sauce. They’re such show-offs, those kids. My own kids, on the other hand, have mastered the art of taking a microscopic bite just to show me. Then they make a gagging face and spit the food out while scraping their tongues to remove any lingering remnants. They especially love to do this in front of other people, just so that everyone knows what a stellar parent I really am. Also, how far I have fallen from my days as a new parent when I was all smug because my nine-month-old ate lentil soup. These days, I’m pretty sure the word ‘lentil’ would send my kids running for the hills.
Luckily, though, the dinner gods smiled on me this time. I made tartar sauce, and my husband liked it. My homemade gluten-free breading worked on the fish. My children ate their food with gusto. And once again, I was reminded that I am really very lucky to live in an age when I can turn to Google with all my questions. Sometimes, things just work out. I like those times. I just wish they happened a little more often.
How often does the internet save your bacon? And have you ever told someone you don’t like a food, only to be told you should try it? Do you do this to your kids, like I do to mine? I want to hear from you!