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August 5, 2009

When can your baby start eating sushi?

BabyLila.jpgThe PR person for RA Sushi suggested a post on when it's OK for babies to eat sushi. Actually she first suggested it to Charm City Mom Kate, but I stole it from her.

This “post” or article would definitely require some research, but If you’re interested I have some sources at RA who would be happy to comment on the subject, and maybe some physicians at Saint Agnes Hospital who could comment.

The last thing we need here is expert opinion. Much better for readers to tell us their real-life experiences of feeding raw fish to their babies. ...

Haha. Just kidding.

I presume all you moms out there know raw and undercooked meat isn't safe for your baby, so raw fish is probably less safe. Don't give them raw oysters either. (Although the picture that brings to mind of plopping a raw oyster down on the high chair tray where you usually put Cheerios and watching Baby deal with it is pretty funny.)

Use a little common sense here, folks.

And why go to pediatricians and nutritionists for the answer when you can Google it?

Actually, the Web page I just linked to seems pretty sensible, although I would be wary of feeding even my five-year-old raw fish. I'd just stick to vegetarian sushi and maybe a California roll (which contains cooked seafood) until -- oh, I don't know -- the kid is in college.

(Photo of Baby Lila courtesy of Bridget Forney)

 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 7:13 AM | | Comments (45)
        

Comments

I started my kid on California rolls. At age 3 or 4 he was pretty adventurous but I didn't want him to eat raw fish yet so we stuck with the "cooked" rolls. Now at 17 he loves the raw tuna rolls. When did he start having them? I don't know. He just eased into it some time over the years.

This really should be a Kate post

Oh, come on. You know it's funny. And you know my policy: Never cede territory you can grab to any other blogger. (Ask Z.) EL

I agree with Owlie. Unless we are being served baby carpaccio, this belongs on the mommie blog.

Then again, "on topic" around here seems to mean "contains vowels."

The first time I had sushi, I was 13 or so, had no idea what it was, just that it was incredible and I wanted more. My mother knew what it was, and it made her ill to watch me eating it. She had to leave the room.

I was the only Anglo eating (this was a Tae Kwon Do dojo grand opening), so I ended up surrounded by 10-15 Korean grandmothers, who kept filling my plate, smiling at me and patting me. They spoke no English, I speak no Korean, so even though I'd been raised that a lady barely ate in public, I'd also been raised to respect my elders, so I ate. And ate. Until they were full.

It was the only polite thing to do. And I've loved sushi and sashimi ever since.

Hmmm, a crab post yesterday and a child dining post today. Is it Sweeps Week?

I want to know when it's safe for my baby to start eating raw honey and nectar.

When is it safe for my baby to comment on posts about sushi and crabs on D@L?

once we took a "sushi adverse" co-worker out for a sushi lunch. he had never had sushi before. i told him the pickled ginger was ham so he took a big bite. i thought he was going to puke.

I think the fact that this question is even being asked, may be a sign of the apocolypse.

What a s/trange and wonderful week. I got three hours of sleep, saw this post and went back to bed. I just woke up laughing. This pound for pound has the funniest comments ever. (and not one on topic)

Lissa, I didn't have sushi until I was into my 20's. I didn't eat fish for a pretty long time, so I always assumed there wasn't anything for me. I have since learned the loving ways of the avocado roll (and, of course, lots of other veggie rolls).

First time I tried it, I grabbed a HUGE gob of wasabi and popped it into my mouth. Whoops. My eyes watered instantly, my whole head seized up on me, and I could only hear a fluttering sound in my ears.

I was hooked.

sean, I can see where the wasabi would have made a bit of an impression on you. Never mind that it was horseradish and not real wasabi.

I only eat pretty animals (fish are ugly)

I only date pretty mommies who eat fish. Don't forget, no fatties.

When do babies in Japan start eating sushi? Honestly (and I'm a mom), it used to be "safe" to give your baby whatever you felt like he could handle. I'll bet a bunch of you ate food before 6 months, peanut butter and strawberries before 1 year, cow's milk before 1 year, honey, and even verboten stuff like cereal mixed with formula from a bottle with a great big hole in the nipple. And you lived to tell about it. My kid did. And he ate sushi when he was about 2, and 6 years later he's still eating it.

Not that it matters "sushi" is rice rolled up in seaweed with vegetables and/or meat in the middle of it. Sashimi is actually the "raw fish". I let my kids eat sushi all the time usually they just eat the rice though lol.

I demanded a raw oyster at the Baltimore City Fair at three, loved it, and have been happily eating them ever since. Then again, telling a three year old "You're not going to like this." pretty much means they'll eat it to prove you wrong.

Please don't seek answers from a "nutritionist" either. Although there are a few licensed nutritionists in the area, most of those who use this term are unlicensed, which means they're likely in violation of the law.
Seek food and nutrition advice from a registered dietitian. There's a big difference between a licensed professional and someone who took a few weekend courses or completed a whole 10-week program (wow, 10 weeks! can you imagine the rigor of that program?)

In another time I would be rippinf through this topic, but whatever, I'm getting a haircut and going to sit in the sun and eat grapes.

Before I leave:

1) babies eat sushi in Japan and Korea and Japan has a much lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. Americans are stupid about food safety and focus on the wrong things. My Korean friends use squid for teething babies.

Infant mortality rate per 1000 live births
Japan 2.8
S. Korea 4.3
U.S. 6.4

Woosh.

2) Sushi always involves fish traditionally. You can stretch the word to mean sushi-style thing with only vegetables. I covered this before in my exploration of the Japanese etymology of the word.

Here is a repost of a comment from January 28, 2008, back when I was less saucy and more Jerky.

Actually, the original kanji for sushi 鮨 is composed of two radicals that signify fish + delicious. Easy math.

I tend to use "sushi" (すし) as a shorthand to refer to sashimi, nigirzushi, temaki, chirashizushi, inarizushi, tataki, makizushi, etc. Sushi does not refer to the rice (shari), e.g., inarizushi has no rice. Take away the rice from the nigirizushi and you have sashimi. Not an entirely different dish in my opinion.

[And now I go wander]

Oh Lissa, it's so much more than horseradish - it's horseradish with green dye!

Point, sean. Can't forget the subtle impact of dye on foodstuffs.

I think food was safer when I was a kid, too. Raw pork wasn't safe and we knew that (it can be now), but we used to beg Grandma to let us lick the beaters when she made cookies, and we lived. Now I won't eat even small amounts of raw egg unless I know exactly where that egg came from and have talked with the farmer. Repeatedly.

Yeah, restrictions on kids have gotten insane, but some of those restrictions are due to lack of restrictions on food producing companies becoming insane.

Sushi baby,
How do ya' feel?
Enjoyin' your first tasty roll of raw eel?
Sushi Baby,
Tell me mano a mano,
Is the tuna good enough to tuna piano?
Sushi Baby,
If what's your on your plate appears out of kilter,
It's cause it's uncooked unlike your gefilte.
Sushi Baby, there in your stroller,
You may just grow up to be a California Roller...
pursuing a true Sushi Baby hobby,
Dishing up dishes that go with Wasabi...
Then turning pro and gaining renown..
As you tell friends "Shashimi next time you're in town."

Whoa. Did you write that, Michael A. Gray? EL


My baby loves sushi.

Would that I could feed her some sashimi tonight, but alas she is away this fortnight in a strange place in the hinterlands. Soon, soon we will be together and I will gently pick up a thin slice of hamachi with my chopsticks and place it on her tongue. I will sigh as it disappears between her red lips. I will smile discretely as I know that desire has turned to satisfaction as the delicate flavors melt on her tongue. Who knows what sensual delights the eve will hold. Perhaps even the scandalously pleasurable mirugai ...

I would be thrilled if my kids ate sushi. :) I would give them just about anything after one year. like others have said, I'm sure kids in Japan are eating raw fish as toddlers, but maybe they don't. I really have no idea. My kids seem to have it worked out quite well what they are and are not willing to try.

Our 4-year old daughter adores raw tuna rolls and salmon rolls. I was eating them one day and she asked to try them; I thought she'd hate it, but to our surprise she asked for more. It probably is in part due to reading "Yoko" by Rosemary Wells. Now I feel guilty that I'm exposing her to food risks - though we only have it 1-2 times a month, it's become a daddy/daughter thing since my wife doesn't like sushi. Am I a bad parent?

No worries, all .... I actually sent this to EL. How did I know the discussion here would be completely different from one on my blog? Just a lucky guess, I suppose...

" ... I'd also been raised to respect my elders, so I ate. And ate. Until they were full."

Lissa ... loved the phrasing!

My take on the original question: When they can afford to buy ahi tuna and decent salmon on their own dime!

Nate, no, you are not a bad parent, IMHO.

We went to Japan when one son was 16 and the younger one was 9. At that point younger son would not eat sushi, but he discovered the joys of sushi not long after that trip--and has been kicking himself ever since for only eating rice at the great sushi restaurant we found in the Tokyo fish market district.

Another sushi kid story. My niece was 2 when a big earthquake hit her area and there was a massive power outage. My ex-b-in-law took her to a sushi restaurant where they both helped eat all the sushi they could hold before it all went bad.

Kate, you know we have more fun over here.

From ages 4-6, my kids loved sushi, from ages 7-9, they hated it and unfortunately they now love it again. Its a very expensive habit; they can knock back $150 worth in about 15 minutes. Be careful what you wish for. I didn't have it til my mid twenties and I love it.

Yes Kate, do send more discussion topics over this way. We have the added bonus of several childless commenters who are only too happy to weigh in on parenting issues.

Off leash children don't tip.

That never stopped me from weighing in on Kate's blog. Having been a child I think I am qualified to opine on some issues.

Having been a child ...

Been?

;-P

Unfortunately, children abhor a vacuum.

Found this -- it is about the now common custom of eschewing raw fish during pregnancy, but it applies (mostly) to this topic. It's kind of what OMG was saying...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/opinion/15shaw.html

I had sushi once, but didn't care for it. I'm not much for seafood like RayRay.

But I did the same thing sean did, take a big ol' glop of wasabi and ate it. My sinuses loved it, I think.

I had a tuna roll just recently at a Chamber of Commerce thing I got talked into going to. It was good, but had a real fishy aftertaste. I fixed that with a couple of Stella Artois.

Yes, EL, I gotta' confess I thunk up that doggerel that appeared earlier. I hope they won't take away my poetic license.

Impressive. EL

Unfortunately, children abhor a vacuum.

The also abhor dusting, washing and ironing.

Michael A Gray - you are infinitely better than some dead poets, and nobody has suspended their licenses.

...nobody has suspended their licenses

Perhaps, but I hear there are birth certificates proving they were born in Kenya.

Mr. Gray, you've been holding out on us.

children abhor a vacuum.

So do cats.

I LIVED IN JAPAN FOR ALMOST 5 YEARS. I WAS IN THE MILITARY AND WAS TAKEN TO TOKYO ON MORNING #1, WHERE 'BY ACCIDENT' I WAS INTRODUCED TO SUSHI/SASHIMI ...'GOOD LORD A'MIGHTY!' A COUPLE BEERS AND A LOAD OF JAPANESE BUYING ME RAW FISH...WITH AND WASABI... JUST TO WATCH THE GAIJIN DEVOUR THEIR BELOVED AND TIME HONORED DELICACY.
MY SON WAS BORN IN JAPAN... ATE SUSHI AT 1 YR...AND IS NOW 38, A TRI -ATHLETE AND THE FATHER OF A 3YR OLD WHO DEVOURS SASHIMI.
AT THE AGE OF 60 I NOW HAVE A 2 YR OLD DAUGHTER(CAREFUL!) AND SHE ALSO IS A SASHIMI EATER...MOSTLY AHI... (NO WASABI).
I WILL SAY THAT NO ONE SHOULD EAT FRESH SALMON RAW... IF IT HAS NOT BE FROZEN...AS THERE ARE WORMS THAT WILL CAUSE DIGESTIVE TRACT PROBLEMS.
OTHER THAN SALMON AND OF COURSE PUFFERFISH...THE WHOLE DIET IS EXCELLENT NUTRITIONALLY.
CANT GET BETTER FOR YOU...AND YOUR CHILDREN! 3 GENERATIONS IN MY FAMILY SAY SO MOST HEARTEDLY(AND AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED...EXPENSIVELY!)!
Z
PS...I DONT EAT UNI...
IF GOD WANTED ME TO EAT SOMETHING THAT TASTED LIKE A TIDEPOOL... HE WOULD HAVE HAD ME LIKE IT...AND UNI IS THE ONLY SUSHI DISH I WILL NOT EAT(AFTER ATTEMPTING FOR 20+ YRS)

Hey Zoiberg,
We aren't deaf, please use your inside voice here.

Amberjack is well known to have worms in it, and it is a favorite down here.

Myself, I don't like sushi, had a tuna roll recently and it was tasty until I got to the very nasty fishy aftertaste.

children abhor a vacuum.

So do cats.

My cat, RIP, loved to be vacuumed. He would just sit there and let you vacuum him...with the upholstery attachment not the upright. Sometimes his tail would get sucked up, which he didn't care for, but he would always come back for more.

Lenny, thanks for the suggestion, but we don't need helpful pics to convey images. Peace.

I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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