I’ve said it to my kids and you’ve said it to yours. And maybe not even yours, just to any small person with whom you happen to be dining at the moment….”C’mon, just one bite. Try it. You might like it.” And then the total adult clincher, which you hope to seal the deal with….”You won’t know until you do…”.
See, we have a policy in our home…you don’t have to like it, just try one bite of it. That’s all. We ask nothing more. Thankfully, this strategy has resulted in our kids liking some pretty unusual things, such as (Indian) Lassi, gooseberries and vichysoisse. Total score.
I got a taste of my own medicine last week in Sedona. One afternoon, we saddled over (yes, we saddled….or skedaddled. Whichever you prefer. They both sound cowboyish) to the Cowboy Club. Great ol’ restaurant in town which has quite the little history attached to it, too. A bazillion years ago when studios were still making cowboy movies, they filmed many of them in Sedona on and around the Red Rocks. After the day’s filming, the actors and actresses would then chill out at the Cowboy Club. John Wayne and Elvis were among the notables. These days, there’s a big bronze horse out front, a long bar inside and a lovely patio out front to watch the world go by when you eat. AND, some of the crazy things they offer are vintage Southwest. Desert Southwest. My husband and I both had fishbowl-sized Prickly Pear margaritas (who would have guessed they’d be pink?) which was delish although very sweet. Think it was a bit girlie for the man, although he slugged it down. And then came the appetizers. This Arizona trip was about taking our kids to a new place….seeing a new culture and part of the country. So, naturally, the appetizer we chose (and they agreed to get) was sort of a pu-pu platter of the Southwest. Bison skewers, Cactus fries and….Rattlesnake meatballs. Bison and Cactus I’m fine with. But Rattlesnake? I totally have an Indiana Jones complex: I hate snakes. Always have, always will. I have actually run clear out of a friend’s house because my daughter came down their stairs with their snake around her neck. As I said, I don’t do snakes.
App’s arrive. Oh my. Snake meatballs. Waitress says they taste like turkey. Really? That animal is not even in the same family as a snake. Feet, feathers, beak. Nothing resembling a long, slithery snake. Doubt is heavy on this side of the table.
And then my oldest daughter, who is already digging into one, says the magic words…”C’mon Mom, just try it. You might like it. That’s what you always tell us.”.
Daughter: She shoots. She scores.
Yes, I tried them. I tried to envision them as little turkeys. Not snakes. Unfortunately, I’ve seen enough of those survival shows where they gruesomely eat a snake ’cause that’s all there is around…*shiver*. Wretching was mighty close to the surface during that portion of the meal, I can tell you that.
Funny thing. They did taste like turkey. But did I go back for a second meatball?
No. But I tried it.
End of story.
*Here’s a good recipe that’s a little more universally enjoyed….Golden Northern Cornbread with Jalapenos. Still has the Southwestern kick, but doesn’t include any odd animals. Yee-ha! Courtesy of The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook.
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 cup all -purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup whole milk (I use 2% so as not to kill us all. Result is a bit less rich)
2 Tb. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 stemmed and seeded and minced small jalepeno chili
Preheat oven to 425. Grease a 9-inch baking pan. Stir cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl to combine. Make well in center of dry ingredients.
Crack eggs into well and stir gently with wooden spoon. Add buttermilk and milk, then quickly stir wet into dry ingredients, stirring until almost combined. Add cooled butter and jalepeno and quickly and gently combine all.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until top is golden brown and lightly cracked and edges have pulled away from the sides of pan. About 25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool slightly. Serve with butter and/or maple syrup.