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    KathyH's Avatar
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    What's a children menu?

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    I was wondering where the concept of children menu came from. I first time came across it in the US. In most of Asia or Eastern Europe or Africa that concept doesn't exist. Why wouldn't children be offered liver for example? Why kids are not offered the same food as adults? I find it strange. Children menus are usually nutritionally poor. Why is this allowed and seen by most as normal?

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    Forgotmylastusername's Avatar
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    Because no kid wants to eat liver? Kids meals are usually smaller and much more basic to cater to them. It would generally be considered a waste spending a $30 on a gourmet meal they probably won't enjoy. When I was a kid, eating out was a treat and adult meals didn't interest me, all I wanted was chicken nuggets with fries and sauce. I was always being encouraged to choose something more exotic but I guess i just had pretty bland taste buds like most kids. That being said kids can still choose the adult meals if they want.

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    Rasputina's Avatar
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    It came about because people coddle and foster picky eating habits in children, and if the kids are sedated, then the parents are happy, right? "Children's Menus" in restaurants invariably offer some "smaller portions" of mac n' cheese, chicken nuggets/fingers, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches, personal pizzas- basically any variation of wheat and cheese. Oh, and they usually get a "prize toy," so they can make it out of the house and through the meal in public without throwing a tantrum.

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    I loved liver as a kid. Not all children demand bland foods--we train their palates that way because we think they only eat bland things. I like the method my mother used of having us take small tastes of foods regularly and not preparing special "kid food" separately from what adults ate, and I think this is why I am more adventurous with food than many people my age. I'm astonished at the number of people I've met who prepare two separate meals, one for the adults and one for children, and then are basically short-order cooks when their kids demand something else.

    I can understand smaller portions for children, but the chicken fingers or grilled cheese with fries is the ubiquitous kids' menu, and it's awful.
    “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

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    KathyH's Avatar
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    Why doesn't a kid want to eat liver? Why can't they enjoy it? In other parts of the world there is no concept of chicken nuggets with fries and sauce. One thing is cooked for the whole family. I wonder if having this concept of kid's menu that usually has presumed "foods" that kids like a bad idea in terms of their understanding what food is as well as their palate is shaped based on the junk food served on kid's menu.

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    I don't understand why kids shouldn't like interesting foods. Obviously, many kids don't...

    As a small child, I loved the sharpest cheddars and odd things like liver sausage.

    Over time, I was taught that I should enjoy orange mac and cheese from a box and Wonder Bread. All that did was make me fat and it took me half my life to realize that the sharp cheddar and liver sausage was what I should be eating.

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    Hell, yes, it is a bad idea. Just for the record, I have 4 of my own, and this American has never allowed mine to eat from the kid's menu. I don't allow the servers to bring it to the table. If it is a part of the adult menu, then they luck out and get to SEE it, but they don't get to ORDER from it.

    Hrmph. I hate the things. Kids should be trained in the love of good food just like they are trained in the love of good books - from the very first.

    My personally-experienced favorite and worst example of all time: entire extended family is on the Disney cruise ship together. Disney has theme restaurants on the ship for dinner (as well as pre-scheduled seating times and shifts so all passengers can experience all 3 theme restaurants before the cruise is over), and all the restaurants have enough selection that you could actually eat well - lots of meat, fish, potatoes, roasted veg, fruit, poultry, tons of stuff. Sister-in-law (whom I otherwise love) lets her 3 kids eat hot dogs and hamburgers and chicken nuggets and HFCS applesauce and sugary soda... FOR THE ENTIRE CRUISE. I nearly caused a horrific scene at the table when I steadfastly refused to serve that crap on an expensive cruise the in-laws had paid for, to my kids. They ordered from the adult menu, and today they are wonderful eating companions at restaurants. And the niece/nephews still eat the same crap.

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    Well done Crabbcakes !

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    Amen to this! We've never ordered off of the kid's menus, mainly because we have been GFCF for the past 5+ years (kids are 6 and 7)...those menus only OFFER gluten and dairy options! It is unbelievable. And once kids are trained to know that's what they can get---then then whine and beg and demand it. I'll order something creative off of the reg. menu for my kids---chicken, fish fillet with some veggies, etc. It's nice that this is the way they have ALWAYS eaten, because they accept it!

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    Yeah, it's because many parents think that's what kids eat. I don't recall ever seeing a kids menu as a child, although we rarely went out to dinner unless we were on vacation. One vacation I clearly remember eating (more like inhaling) stuffed crab in S. Carolina. Another time some liver dish in a Chinese restaurant. We grew up eating what we were served or not eating, so we never expected special kids meals.

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