Monday, August 23, 2010

Sushi and Ginger Ice Cream

A water fountain, paper walls that slide open and closed, and a table full of brightly-colored food in the shape of a caterpillar...suddenly, mealtime has taken on a new form of adventure. For a child unfamiliar with Japanese food, the first visit to a Japanese restaurant is full of do's and don'ts. Do sit still at the table so as not to upset the cast iron kettle of steaming hot vegetable ramen. Don't place the chopsticks up your nose. Do try a little of each new food. Don't make a face and plug your nose in front of the server. Do observe the interesting dishes ordered by each member of the dining party. Don't point out that any of it looks like something you found in the park. Do try a taste of mom's ginger ice cream. Don't eat all of mom's ginger ice cream while she's talking with grandma.

While the little boy in the Japanese restaurant gobbled up his second bowl of ramen noodles--realizing with great pleasure that he had finally found a food he liked after gagging on a bite of sushi which he was forbidden to spit out--I smiled at the simple joy of watching discovery. Discovery that, although new and unfamiliar things can seem formidable, often pleasant surprises await us... red bean ice cream is actually delicious.

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