Mussels with green curry paste, rice noodles & apple juice (page 218)
Practical Playtime / Jobs For The Kids
My Cooking With Kids Recipe Diary
Jake 5 years, James 2 years 5 months
This didn’t really work first go, but Jake and I had a lovely time in the kitchen. He loves mussels, he loves their rhythm as they spill from colander to pan, and he loves watching them open. He loves the interaction of eating them. I was late with this lunch, too late for James. But I’ve kept some for him to try tonight. I’m pretty sure he’s not tried mussels before. In the end James tried some of the potato and also some of the broth. He wouldn’t touch the mussels though.
Two weeks later
We didn’t eat this on the second test. My mussels weren’t very fresh, or they were, but I left them in a plastic bag and most of them died. Jake came in to add the curry paste to them and to taste the two different examples of the broth I had made. This gave me the idea of finishing with kids. If at the end of your meals, you get the kids to help you finish it off, either at the table or in the kitchen, then they may well be happier to eat it.
It comes back to seasoning again, in a different way, for a different reason. Adding the herbs, adding lemon juice, grating nutmeg, putting food on the plates, getting the table ready. James already enjoys this, even more than eating at the moment. Jake was so chuffed to be asked. So although the test was a nightmare in terms of the recipe, I got a massive lift from this test.
Another two weeks on
James watched the mussels open with Jake in the kitchen and he ate them. It was lovely, the day before Jake's birthday and we were a big family gathering with my mum and Jess’s mum. James tried to crunch on the shells first. Lovely boy. I showed him the tongs trick with the shell and he ate the mussels. This is a big deal. At the moment he won’t eat ham, or cherry tomatoes that he practically lived on just over a year ago but he will eat mussels in Thai curry!! Tomorrow I'm cooking all day for Jake’s party food.
A month later
The final version. I had both boys with me in the kitchen and we had a lovely time. Jake helped me take the beards out of the mussels and he loved that they were called beards. Now that he has started school our practical playtime in the kitchen feels more precious than ever. I got James to carry his bowlful to the table and Jake dished up his own. I held the handle and he scooped the mussels out being careful not to burn himself on the hot pan. James ate the five mussels I gave him, then had two from me and two from Jess. I had put in the full amount of curry paste, which Jake found too spicy.