Octopus Lovers

Vesna Jaksic Lowe on Raising My Daughter to Be an Octopus Lover:

I pour some stew in a bowl for my daughter. She is eighteen months old and has never tasted it before. I have no idea what to expect. She tries the potatoes and eggplant first, cringes, and spits them out. Then she starts downing the octopus tentacles with both hands. The thick, dark sauce drips down her white tank top with a picture of a ladybug, the pink swim diaper, and her bare, chunky legs. I have a hard time chopping the limbs and filling her dish fast enough.

“Hoba! Hoba!” she screeches with excitement, using the short word for ‘hobotnica,’ or octopus in Croatian.

My family friend says, “She’s Croatian alright.”

I smile at my daughter and pat her back with pride, but also feel a tinge of sadness. We are only here for vacation – we live in New York, an ocean away from my hometown and my friends’ octopus catches.

A very good essay on raising a child in a foreign land and culture. My culinary instincts regarding seafood very much aren’t hers, but I do hope she succeeds in raising a child who feels comfortable with her Croatian heritage.

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