Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Eating Sea Monkeys...and Liking It!

We're not big meat eaters in our home. I grew up with meat and potatoes whereas He-Man was raised on beans and rice. Somehow, in the past decade we've managed to gravitate to eating green-food, eggs, beans and grains and lots of potatoes and pasta. While we haven't completely eliminated meat from our diet, it's generally not the center of our meal.

Naturally, we're healthier for it too. We love salads and roasted potatoes. We eat quinoa and several other of the more obscure grains and we love sandwiches stuffed to the max with veggies. Luckily, we tend to like the same kinds of foods even if that means those foods are prepared a little differently for each person.

That is, except for one thing.

Sea food.

I LOVE seafood. Give me sushi or sashimi that has barely stopped squirming and I'm a happy girl. Throw a little bit of rice and a generous blob of wasabi on a bed of seaweed and I'm so giddy, I'd even pretend to be dignified by eating it with chopsticks.

I'd eat it in one form or another everyday if I could.

But I can't.

Because with the exception of an occasional willingness to eat salmon (and that's only with some members), my family won't touch anything that lived within close proximity to the ocean; Not even with a sterilized and glitter covered ten-foot pole that could then be used as the awesomest magical wand EVER.

No one dislikes it more than He-Man. It's like his kryptonite. He gags. He dry heaves. He gasps and plugs his nose whenever he's near seafood in any form.

About 7 years ago, he took me to Red Lobster for my birthday. My birthday twin, Lindsay, and I were feted by our husbands with lobster and shrimp and a whole lotta cheddar biscuits.

It was glorious. And with as much as He-Man loathes fish, I knew he really, really loved me.

I guess I was having the 7 year itch because for months, I was craving Red Lobster again. Out of respect for my husband, I decided to wait until he was out of town to treat myself and our girls to a date at a restaurant and in the meantime, attempt to change their impressionable little minds about seafood.

The following pretty much sums up the experience:

(As we pull up to a parking spot) Bunny: "Mom. I forgot my shoes and socks."

Mom: "Well, usually you leave another pair in the car. Wanna check under the seat?" (Before remembering I had just cleaned out the car the day before)

Bunny: "Nope"

Mom: "Okay. I'll carry you in. Sunshine, will you please carry Ruby?"

(walk through the front doors)

(Squeals in unison, lots of voices) "Oh Momma, look how cute these Lobsters are! Oh look! One is looking at me! Oh, how silly they are...they must have been honking each others' noses so they put rubber bands on their hands!"

(Sunshine stops dead in her tracks and the color fades from her face as she whispers, away from the others): "Mom. These lobsters are going to be eaten, aren't they?"

Hostess: "Please follow me. I'll show you to your seat"

(Sunshine shoots deadly dagger looks towards the chefs in the kitchen)

Bunny: "Momma! They gave us 4 crayons to color on the menu. I'll have macaroni and cheese."

Mom: "Well, actually Honey, we're going to try something new today."

Bunny: "Okay. But what?"

Mom: "Something called Garlic Shrimp Scampi".

Bunny: "Ewwww. That's gross, Mom."

Lulu: "Yeah. I don't like Shimp Garlic...blah!" (sticks out her tongue)

(The tugging at the other side of my shirt becomes increasingly more desperate)

Sunshine (eyes filled with tears): Red Lobster is so cruel! Look at these cute cartoon lobsters, (pointing to the menu) and all Red Lobster wants to do is eat them!" (tear trickles down her face)

Mom: "How about this: Let's start with salad and some yummy cheddar biscuits."

Sunshine: "No way! They probably have helpless ground-up baby seahorses in them." (wiping the tears from her eyes)

Mom: "Would it make you feel better if I promised not to order the Lobster?"

(Sunshine nods as fresh tears begin)

(Salad comes out and it's time to order)

Mom (over enthusiastically): "Alright girls, how about we have some shrimp?"

Bunny: "No Way!"

Lulu: (vigorous head shake)

Sunshine (with a look of great indignation): "Momma. I'm not eating shrimp. They're the sea's monkeys and I do not eat monkeys."

(At this point I realize there's not much I'm going to get away with and, after placing my word of honor on not eating a bottom-dwelling Cretaceous scavenger, I made an executive decision: french fries all around, steamed veggies, fruit bowls and Garlic Shrimp and Snow Crab Legs for everyone to share.)

As we waited for our meal, the girls ate their weight in cheddar biscuits as Ruby created a fairly impressive pile of pulverized biscuit crumbs beneath her chair all while we discussied the inappropriate uses for the little sugar packets at the center of the table.

Just as the girls were getting antsy, our angel of seafood mercy (or horsewoman of the apocalypse, depending on who you ask) brought over our tray.

(Glorious exclamations of praise and enjoyment over the french fries, fruit and steamed veggies. Then totally disgust as she presents the shrimp offering. But nothing will compare with the next dish...)

Imagine the sound of the theme from 'JAWS' as it approached its latest lunch...

The angel/horsewoman draws closer, dish in hand, resting on her shoulder...she approaches and lays before us seemingly endless legs...with no body! And...and...they're frozen, as if in mid-stroll! And all that is left as a consolation prize is a bowl of butter and a lemon wedge!

(The hysterical wailing begins anew)

"Why? Oh Why, did they have to die?!"

Mom: "Excuse me, would you please bring dessert out right away?!"

Peace was restored once again after I allowed them to eat dessert first. And as they sat, reveling in their death-by-chocolate-cake and ice cream, they would occasionally glance in my direction with a mixture of horror and curiosity while watching me open the crab legs with the cracking tool.

It made me feel totally barbaric.

Eventually, everyone got their fill of french fries, ice cream and steamed veggies AND only one of us felt it necessary to stick several fries into her facial orifices. There were no more uncontrollable sobs or fits of rage toward Sea Monkey eaters...just an eventual end to meal.

As we passed the pool where that night's dinner sat, I saw Sunshine fight back tears and swallow, really hard. When we walked out the door, she breathed a huge sigh of relief and exclaimed, "Phew! Let's never go there again!"

Bunny: "Yeah, Mom! Sunshine's right!"

Lulu: "Yeah! Never, ever, anymore!"

Well, there you have it. Apparently, I will continue to be the sole Sea Monkey killer in our family while the rest of them become the future heads of PETA.


The Woolner Family said...

Don't be shy... it was you who had the french fries in your facial orifices, yes? Cheer up, in another 7 years I'm sure they won't mind so much :)

nanadover said...

hhmmm....this sounds very familiar.. Kinda like some of my adult kids!
As for me...give me Sea Monkeys anytime!...and let them eat fries and ice cream!

Dedra said...

I love this post so much! If you don't mind I'd like to share it or link to it on my blog...

Abby said...

Oh, I'm sorry! This is so funny and the picture you've painted brings it to life. I can see each of your girls and their horror.

I remember hating seafood as a kid. Eric hated seafood when we met, but I've converted him. :) We learned that one of the issues is SMELL. If it smells fishy, it's not fresh. I wish I could take you out to lunch. I love seafood and I LOVE sushi. I just found out we have a sushi place close by that gets rave reviews. I can't wait to introduce Eric to real sushi, not just the California Roll sushi, but the honest-to-goodness-here's-your-raw-salmon sushi. So good!

Maybe you should buy different types of seafood every once in awhile and prepare it for yourself for lunch and drool over it. After awhile, the masses are bound to get curious! That's my plan lately with anything the girls think they don't like. I'll get enough for me to have some for lunch and do that repeatedly until they show interest. I'm really hoping it works!

The McBride Family said...

Oh my gosh HILARIOUS!!!! I'm soooo sorry though b/c I am a HUGE seafood lover!!! We went to Red Lobster for the first time a few weeks ago and our experience was a little different. Alexis ran over towards the lobsters and yelled about how we were going to eat you. Then started cracking up. And while Ryan was happy with mac and cheese. Alexis shared her shrimp with her and they were both in heaven! They also loved a sampling of daddy's lobster. I'm not too far from you and we have a Red Lobster here so come visit and you can go with me and my family!!!! :)

Nonna Beach said...

He-Man's dislike of seafood are my exact feelings on the subject too. I detest it all so let's make a can eat all the seafood that was my portion in this life and we'll both be very happy !!!

BTW, if you see lobsters in a clean tank, ready to be bought, cooked and eaten, it's because they are being STARVED so the water remains crystal clear ( no poop in sight ) I can hear the poor things screaming, even through the tank and water, "FEED US !"

moultriefam said...

That is hilarious! I love the way you write.

Anonymous said...

I looove seafood too. Get youself to Portland and it's Red Lobster for you and me and my girls will watch your girls. My treat!

Rosa said...

ROFLMBO. I've been craving Red Lobster since before CHRISTMAS....when I was still sick as a dog. Hop on over and I'll SO treat you. :D

Fortunately, my family is a bit more adventurous. They aren't as huge of fans as I am, but they're definitely game. LOL The only reason we don't take the kiddos to places like that is because they'd eat us broke. :p

Daya said...

Oh man I wish I had been there!! I hate to say this but I would have been watching you guys the entire time and fighting back giggle fits!! I bet the other people in the restaurant had no clue it would be dinner and a show! I miss you guys!!

Erin said...

Sometimes I'm so glad I only have boys! Boys would just look at the tank and say "Cool! I want to eat that one!" and then chow down. It makes for a hilarious story tho!! And I bet you don't have nearly as many jokes at your house that include the words "fart" and "poop" so I guess it all evens out. ;)

Kelley said...

I'll come to Red Lobster with you the next time you get the itch. I actually went and got a HUGE plate of sushi tonight. Yum! Last time we went to this particular restaurant, I also had the king crab legs and frog legs. Jon requested that I not get them this time, though, because he said I reminded him of a cave woman. A very happy one! :)

Mary Ann said...

This is too funny!
It's kinda the opposite here. Everyone loves all the little crustaceans in our household, except me. I do all sorts of fish, but that is it!

Heather said...

This was such a hilarious post. I could just see Sunshine's face fighting back tears. :)

Hug her for me, will you? And don't tell her that I like lobster.