Tonight's Tapas Dinner.

My two teenaged sons arrived recently from a week in an island marine preserve camp down south. When I asked them where they wanted to have dinner tonight, they opted for an evening of tapas at one of our usual Spanish haunts.

So, as I aim to please, we went to the restaurant of good friend/chef/PhD in Oenology Juan Carlos de Terry and had an array of tapas:

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota

Flamed Chorizos (tragically, they were all out of Morcilla, much to my second son’s dismay)

Crispy Bacalao with Aïoli

Angulas Picantes (spicy elvers), Gambas al Ajillo, Warm Bread. The little one still gets apprehensive when the chorizos are flamed, so he sticks close to my wife.

My youngest enjoying his Croquetas de Tres Quesos

Calamares, and rosado, naturalmente, for all except the youngest…

…which my teenagers always enjoy (so we cannot order only one bottle).

For dessert, the teenagers had a couple of orders of Chocolate Marquis which they dove into so fast I couldn’t take decent pictures of them. There was another dish that also got mangled before I could photograph it, but I can’t remember what it was.

My youngest certainly enjoyed his Picatostes con Chocolate (Croutons with Chocolate)

I just love it that my children know how to eat well.

What’s the phrase… “the apple seldom falls far from the tree”?

It would surprise me if your kids didn’t enjoy eating well, Noel! From comments you’ve made from time to time, I get the sense that your father was influential in developing your taste for fine food and wine… no doubt you’re planting the same seed with your kids.

Although our kids often express a preference for simple, kid-friendly dishes, I’m glad that we continue to expose them to more sophisticated fare. Eventually I hope the lessons will sink in.

Hi, Steve.

Yes, you are right of course. My father and mother (who was a very good cook and baker before she got sick) did have a big influence on my eating - all of us siblings, actually. Like most all children, I suppose, we had to be encouraged to try new things but eventually learned to try everything at least once.

I remember a couple of years ago, my youngest told me his classmates thought it was “so gross” that he liked eating snails. Didn’t bother him though. My kids don’t flinch at boudin noir (the teenagers actually look for it), any type of liver (of course duck and goose are favoites), ris de veau, veal kidneys, frogs’ legs, octopus, tartare, etc.

I’ve never made them try more exotic stuff like insects though, but, since even I shy away from that, I’ll leave it up to them to explore that or not.

My two older ones weren’t always so open to trying things though. We started teaching them at around 5 years of age to prepare them for travel (start taking our children travelling when they are 6 years old, anything before that is a waste since they will neither appreciate nor remember the trips). My youngest is 5 years younger than the 2nd son, so he was the easiest to teach since he grew up seeing his siblings eating many different things.