You never really know whether you will like something unless you try it (which I tell my kids whenever I serve something new and they resist without actually trying it).
You also never really know what kids will eat unless you make it available to them.
Case in point: I was making netli for the first time, which is dried anchovies that are cooked with onion, tomato, and spices. I still need to work out some kinks with this dish, so I’ll post the recipe another time.
According to my father-in-law’s recipe, before cooking the netli, I needed to dry them out and then behead them. He recommends setting them out on a baking sheet or in a large bowl in the sun for an hour or so; I was concerned about birds and bugs in my backyard, so I spread them on a baking sheet, placed it in the oven, and then set the oven to 200F. Once it had heated to 150F, I turned off the oven and let the netli dry in the warm oven for a couple of hours.
When I took the netli out of the oven, they were nice and crispy. I tried one and it was a crunchy, salty snack! I wondered if the kids would like them. Mind you, I did not grow up eating anchovies. My only memory of them is that they were something we did not want on pizza. I think the first time I tried them was at a half-Korean, half-Japanese friend’s house; I thought little dried fish was a weird snack.
Fast forward 20 years, and now I’m cooking with netli and serving them to my family. Who would’ve thought?
I’m always trying to get more fish into my kids. We don’t eat a lot of fish (frankly, cooking fresh fish intimidates me), so the thought that they might actually like the netli was appealing. Anchovies are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium (the bones are still intact), and vitamin A, and are an excellent food for healthy kids and parents (read more here).
Before I offered it to the kids, I thought about how I would present it. Dried fish? Netli? Anchovies? Fish chips!
I took a couple of “fish chips” to H, who was watching a bit of TV, and asked her to try it.
“Yum!” she said. “Can I have more?”
Didn’t quite expect that reaction. I thought I might get a nose-wrinkle, a shaking head, or a “no, thanks, Mom.” But a request for more? Most certainly, my darling!
And then A chimed in that she wanted to try. I ended up giving them a bowl of fish chips to share, which I refilled once and then had to cut them off so I would have some left for my dish!
My husband (B), amused by the fact that they were eating the netli “raw,” texted his dad (A).
B: “Kids eating dried netli raw and loving it.”
A: “They have my blood line and that’s why.”
Love that. They most certainly have his bloodline, and I love that they enjoy their fish chips.