Raising an open-minded eater, a real omnivore, is important to me. Since M started to eat solids I tried to make his eating experience as adventurous as I could, and soon, around 13 months he started to love eating goat cheese omelettes, salmon with capers, olives, even raw red onions.

Around 24 months, like all toddlers, he obviously entered the phase where he was not so open anymore, although he still had some windows of accepting new foods that were strange to him. Slowly, with his help, I’ve been trying to reconstruct his open-mindedness in eating. One of my worst nightmares would be him turning into one of those people who don’t like sushi “just because”, or the kind of person that eats only at a McDonald’s while travelling to France, or China -yes, there is McDonald’s in China-, or the kind of people who won’t change “their way” of eating even if their lives depend on it. I can not imagine having a son that grows up “blind” to one of the realms of aesthetics: taste. Without an openness to “taste” experiences, I imagine life to be bland and, well, small. And I certainly don’t want that for M.

Anyway, this morning, after asking him what did he feel like having for breakfast -I usually don’t ask him, but decided to let him choose since his Christmas break vacations from Kindergarden started- and listening to his response: “Clams!!!” I froze with surprise and doubts about his election. I was thinking something like scrambled eggs with asparagus, or beet pancakes. But I immediately realized those doubts and judgements about his election were based on my fixed ideas and preconceptions of how breakfast should be like. After all, he didn’t say m&m’s, or ice cream, and I did happen to have a pound of frozen clams. And why should I be surprised if this was coming from the same little guy that once, at 2 yrs old, woke up at 5.00 am asking for a spinach salad with lemon and olive oil. I also realized that if I want to raise an open-minded eater, I have to be more adventurous and open myself.

So this morning, I became proudly aware of how open my almost 4 yr old is getting to be when it comes to eating. Now he’s even giving me lessons. And today, we had clams for breakfast.

Steamed Clams

serves 2

1 lb clams in shells

7-8 garlic cloves, chopped in slivers

1/2 cup of chicken stock (or white wine)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped ( or parsley)

Scrub clams to remove any sand. In a pot, heat oil over medium heat, add garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add cilantro, I usually use parsley, but this morning I only had cilantro. Use whichever you prefer, or have. Toss the herbs for a few seconds and add the clams, pouring the chicken stock, or wine, almost immediately. Cook until all shells open. Discard the ones that don’t. Serve and enjoy!

If you are serving them to a toddler, a big bowl to toss the empty shells is a must, they find this super fun!