Looking back, I realize how lucky I was to have a mother who cooked dinner for us almost 7 nights a week. Not only did she make almost everything from scratch, but dinner was always a time where my family got to catch up and spend uninterrupted time together. Budgets were tight for us, so we rarely went out to dinner, but when we did, you could be sure that I would order a shrimp cocktail if it was on the menu. I always felt very special and “adult” getting to order something that looked so fancy. I loved dipping the little shrimp into the sweet and spicy cocktail sauce and having my dad show me how to pinch the tail to get out the last, sweet bite of meat. The apple apparently doesn’t fall far from the tree, because Kenya is a shrimp-eating machine.
With the availability of good quality frozen shrimp at markets like Trader Joe’s, shrimp cocktail can be a very affordable luxury that you can enjoy at home with your family. Kenya really gets into making the homemade cocktail sauce with me. There’s nothing wrong with bottled cocktail sauce, but I find few things more delightful than the taste of fresh horseradish. As I grate the horseradish, Kenya squeezes the ketchup into a bowl and mixes the ingredients together — he takes such pleasure dipping the shrimp into a sauce he made himself. And I get a kick out of showing him how to pinch the tail to get that last, sweet piece of meat. When I look back at my own childhood, it’s really the little, special moments like these that make it all worth it.
- 1 pound medium or large shrimp (I buy frozen shrimp and defrost them before cooking)
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Horseradish Root, peeled and grated OR 1 Tbsp Jarred Horseradish
- 1/2 Cup Ketchup (I like using Krazy Ketchup because it’s made from all good stuff)