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Old 05-25-2010, 09:30 PM   #1  
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Default Beyond the kids' menu

I saw this article in the New York Times:

Darn right! Every restaurant that has a kids' menu has the same darn stuff! Hamburgers, pizza, chicken fingers, mac 'n' cheese (some places for variety might have pb&j)! When I was a kid and we Went Out to Eat, we went to what in Minneapolis in the 1960s passed for a really fancy 'rant, i.e., the family-owned steakhouse/cocktail bar. (One of them in our end of town is still in business and Prof. x eats there every now and then; although now that we have more foodie places downtown, Prof. x's daughter prefers those when she visits here, the steakhouse might seem a bit day-clah-say.) You know what my favorite dish was? Rock lobster tail! There was no kids' menu (the one concession to kids was an alcohol-free Shirley Temple/kiddy cocktail); I don't know if they even had hamburgers. (Now even fancy restaurants often have fancy hamburgers made with Kobe or Wagyu beef and topped with artisan cheese and high-end condiments!) Just steak, prime rib, seafood and maybe surf-n-turf. We only stopped at family 'rants if we were on vacation (which meant "in the car driving to Florida"). At home, I ate what my mom fixed: if she made quasi-junk, we all ate quasi-junk; if she made dinner, we ate dinner. Until I took a job that had me working odd hours, we ate together. (And I still ended up fat, go figure.)

Why don't restaurants (any restaurants; I think the New York Times tends to assume that everyone is the carriage trade, not the blue-collar folks) have at least a little more imagination? Offer kid-sized portions of the regular menu stuff; many restaurants have a senior menu, which is smaller portions of the regular fare (and great for dieters!)

Last edited by ANOther; 05-26-2010 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 05-26-2010, 04:52 AM   #2  
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Wow! Great article! I agree with all of it. I live in a small town in the midwest and this has been my rant for a while now. My family loves to eat out on occasion, and it makes me so mad when the only options for the kids are burgers, nuggets, m&c etc. How do people expect their children to grow up with better eating habits than our generation if this is the crap our children are fed?????
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:37 AM   #3  
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I loved this article! I am also dismayed at what we feed children - kid's menus all seem to have really high fat, high sodium, and often highly processed foods on them. I don't have kids yet, but my mom always fed us whatever she was eating - and we always had to try it. We didn't have to like it, but we had to try it.
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Old 05-26-2010, 09:52 AM   #4  
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I just order for my kid off the regular menu and take leftovers home.

Otherwise you are right -- they are doomed to mac n cheese, chicken fingers & fries, pizza, etc.

The thing is, I don't think it matters if the place has a kid's menu like that.

The child will eat a broad palette of foods if offered one at home. I get pissed sometimes that since starting school my kid wants to "fit in" more with peers and has narrowed her choices to conform but my spouse keeps telling me not to sweat it. She's still a lot wider in scope than expected and she'll come back to it when she's older.

So I keep trying to offer variety and grit my teeth when the 6 yr old goes all food faddy on me because someone at school has some novelty in the lunchbox and she wants it too. Ugh.

It is something I look forward to -- summer break, no more lunchboxes to make, and a chance to rebuild more variety and interesting lunches before we have to go back to the lunchbox thing.


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Old 05-28-2010, 08:00 PM   #5  
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Couldn't agree more, it amazes me that the kids don't say " I don't want to eat out againnnnnnnnnnnn" considering it is always the same 3 cruddy meals.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:03 AM   #6  
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Dunno if you have them around you but Dixie Cafe and Cracker Barrel both have real food on the kids menu. I also tend to ask for the sr menu for the kids. Or ask for the lunch menu at dinner time. Most places will happily give you the smaller lunch portion at the lower price for kids. Some restaurants will even sell you half orders if you ask. We don't eat out much but when we do I just suck it up and pay the higher prices. Kids meals all have the same items because they are CHEAP. People are cheap and think a "nice meal" is wasted on the kids. They would rather have the pizza,chicken nuggets,ect anyway. If you want the kids to have real food you have be be prepared to pay real food prices.
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