My son and I went to the Strip District today. I know what you're thinking. That's a place his Dad should take him when he's 18, not his Mom when he's 4. But the Strip is just the local term for our outdoor market/warehouse district. I love to go shopping there, and so does my son. That's because his reward is to go look at the live fish and lobsters at the fish market. I think he thinks it's a pet store, or "free zoo" as our friend coined it. Unfortunately for these aquatic creatures, they are going home with someone to be enjoyed in a completely different way than their pet store cousins.
Normally, my husband and son to the fish market while I shop somewhere else. I just can't stand the thought of all those poor fish swimming around, not knowing that they should put on their best "gimp fish" act so they don't end up on a dinner plate. Unfortunately for me, my husband wasn't with us today.
My son is old enough now that it is hard to put one over on him. I tried to stand with my back to the tank and nod and say "uh huh" when he was pointing to different fish. He wasn't falling for it and wanted me to look. He managed to get my attention by grabbing the claw thing that they use to pick lobsters out of the water. "Can we grab one?", he asked innocently. "Um, no." I know carnivores won't understand, but I just can't look something in the eye and consciously choose to end it's life. "I'll have that one", as if I'm choosing a new sweater.
We went to the strip because several of my girlfriends came over for dinner tonight, including the one from Taiwan. She helped us make several dishes, including one with lotus seeds. I don't even really know what they are. Even though she showed me around the asian grocery store the last time we cooked, I still felt like a fish out of water shopping there today. (Pardon the pun).
She says they have a saying in Taiwan. "We eat everything with four legs but the table, and everything that flies but the airplane". The saying makes me laugh, but I don't think I would last very long over there. That being said, she has introduced me to some very good vegetarian dishes.
I grew up in a house where Italian food was considered ethnic, so it's nice to be shown how to cook some things I'm not familiar with. My son had his first mung bean pancake today at the strip and loved it. So did I. Maybe we can work on those next time. Until then, I think I'll wait to visit the fish market again until my husband is with us. We'll just have to make do at the free zoo. That way I won't be depressed when my son asks to take something home with him.