The Night I became a Food Terrorist

Tonight I tried a new tactic: I played with a fish recipe, knowing that Tad and I, and likely Julia, would love it. But, knowing my audience, I also cooked a steak for Harrison. Then, I did what any “Tiger Mom” with a picky eater would do; I held that steak hostage. You see, to get the perfectly cooked steak, as well as the luscious homemade French Fries that were also part of dinner tonight, Harrison and Julia each HAD to eat two bites of the fish.

Sounds like no big deal, right. Wrong! Once that dictate was issued, you would have thought that the world had reversed course and started turning the other way. Both children completely revolted. Julia, my normally foodie daughter, wanted nothing to do with the fish, though she did eat it all in two seconds. And, Harrison, my consistently picky, but never emotional eater, put on a show (complete with gags and coughs) worthy of an Oscar nomination. In fact, based on his protest and face during the required two bites, I am amazed that The Academy did not just slot him in as a last minute addition to the Best Actor category. I can just see it, Harrison hanging with Colin Firth and Jeff Bridges on the red carpet….but, I digress.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is that the kids said they hated the fish. I am not sure, particularly in the case of Julia, that that is true. I think they hated having the steak (and more importantly, French Fries) held hostage. I think I made a tactical error. I took mealtime, and, under the guise of getting them to try something new, turned it into a terrorist act- I held their beloved food hostage.

Take it from me, the fish was to die for- and not too spicy, or too anything. (Adults will love it!) And, because the fish was to die for, not to mentions super easy to whip up, I would repeat the entire evening (and I probably will!) I think that to grow my children’s palate, they have to experience new flavors. Perhaps they will have to do it again and again. Eventually, something will stick and they will like it. Or, I will die trying. In the meantime, as far as Harrison and Julia are concerned, I’m right up there with Osama Bin Laden and Amy Chua….

Baked Cod with Mustard Crumbs
Adapted from Sarah Leah Chase
Serves 4

6 T butter, melted
2 shallots, minced
½ c dry white wine
2 lbs cod fillets, cut into individual serving pieces
juice of one lemon
sea salt/pepper
1 cup panko, or other breadcrumbs
1 T Dijon mustard
3 T fresh parsley, minced
1. Preheat the oven to 400.
2. Pour 3 tablespoons of the melted butter into a baking dish large enough to hold the fish filets in a single layer. Sprinkle the shallots over the butter and pour in ¼ cup of the wine. Arrange the fish fillets on top, squeeze the lemon over each fillet and season with salt and pepper.
3. In a small bowl toss the panko with the remaining melted butter. Mix in the mustard and parsley. Pat the panko mixture evenly on top of the fish fillets. Drizzle the remaining ¼ cup of wine over the fish.
4. Bake until the fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, about 20 minutes. Serve at once.


  1. Suzanna
    Posted January 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This sounds delicious and I plan to try it asap. However, terrorist tactics do tend to backfire, don’t they? Your fish will probably live in infamy w/ the kids, as in “Remember when Mom…” 🙂

    • Posted January 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Yep… I think I tanked this recipe. Though their loss…it is really good!

  2. charity appell mcnabb
    Posted January 25, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The tactic I used with my once-picky-now-worldly eater was to require a bite of EVERYTHING I ever put on his plate. He never had to eat more than a bite of anything he didn’t like, but it had to be a real bite–and no substitutes for what he didn’t eat. Over time he’s learned to love curries and duck, lobster, smelly cheese and creme brulee. Yes, he even loves fish. It took a long time, but we haven’t battled for years because he has that all important, Tiger-Kid “out”.

  3. Martha
    Posted January 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    There is hope: My girls are past the picky eating stage and at 14 and 17 they cleaned their plates tonight. Loved it in fact!

    • Posted January 26, 2011 at 8:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

      So glad to hear! Know I’ll get there with my guys…but, in the meantime, thrilled that your team loved the fish! Take care!

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