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Tears of panic rolled down her cheeks.  I could see the anxiety, as well as the tears welling up inside.
“PLEEAASE, Dad.  Please let me have it!”
“No, you can’t have that.  I will not let you have dairy.”

Really?  I thought I had all my bases covered!  I checked in the with instructors beforehand – no eggs, no nuts, no sesame seeds.  Dairy was a safe food.  At least I prepared scrumptious sushi for the kiddos!

“There is plenty of food for you.”
” NO!!!!  I don’t like that!”
The panic and fear had subsided at this point, particularly after my offer of a few dried apricots to appease the tears.

“I prepared some sushi rolls for you.  Have you ever had sushi before?  No fish.  It has everything you like,” I coaxed.
“I don’t like sushi!  I don’t like that!!”
“Do you like rice?” I smiled?
She nods her head yes, cheeks still wet with tears.
“Do you like cucumber?”
Another positive nod.
“What about sweet peppers?”
Yes, again.
“Okay.  That’s all that is inside the roll.  Make me a deal.  TRY IT.  Just take one bite.  You are allowed not to like it.  I promise.  Just take one taste, and if you don’t enjoy it – we’ll take care of the rest.  What do you think?”
“Okay,” she says, begrudgingly and very hesitantly.

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This reaction is a bit surprising to me – as all the other kiddos are eagerly gobbling up their own snacks, requesting seconds and thirds.  I’ve prepared this identical snack for children before.  They love it!
Not this little one…
Her father accompanies her – sneaking out to purchase his own “special” snack from the coffee bar – offering to buy his second grade daughter whatever she desires from the store too (while she’s participating in a class field trip).  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at her attitude.

I watch her take one bite –
I can see the pleasure she’s taking in this bite.  She really is enjoying the sushi.
“What do you think?”  I ask.  “Do you like it?”
Oh wait – she remembers she’s already decided that she’s not going to like it.  I see her swallow – look for the second bite.  She wants it – she really does.
“NO!  I don’t like it!  I want my dad to buy me a snack!”

“Well, that’s okay,” I reply.  “I’m SO PROUD of you!  You tried something brand new.  We don’t have to like everything we taste.  We all have preferences.  The important thing is to try something new.  Great job!”  
I give her a high five and a great big smile.  She deserves it – I think.

We don’t have to like it.  The important thing is that we try something new.  Take a chance.
These sushi rolls are so easy!  Simply cook the rice, stir in some Mirin and cool.  Thinly slice your preferred veggies and/fruit, build your sushi art and roll.  No bamboo mat required.  Maybe a little extra water fingered along the edges to seal the deal – but that’s it!

Super Simple Sushi (Kid Friendly – usually)

2 c. cooked short grain brown rice
1 Tbs. Mirin
1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
(In the past I’ve used avocado, carrot and mango with tremendous success!  Be creative.)
4-6 toasted nori sheets, for sushi

As the rice finishes cooking, stir in the Mirin and remove from heat to cool.  Prepare veggies.  Just as the rice looses heat (it should be a tiny bit warm), spread a thin layer over one side of one nori sheet, leaving about a 1/2 – inch border along the top edge.  Line the bottom edge with a few fixings.  Roll from bottom to top.  The warmth of the rice will help to seal the roll.  If the nori needs a little help sticking, wet one finger and gently dab the “seal” to “glue” the loose edge to the roll.  Allow to sit for 30 seconds.  Using a sharp knife, cut your roll into the desired width rolls.  Repeat.


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