Though I don't have any children of my own, I have plenty of nephews, nieces, cousins and friends with children. So I have seen my fair share of children's menus at restaurants, and they usually seem to be rather bland. They often only have a handful of options, and many of the same ones from restaurant to restaurant. Mac 'n cheese, chicken fingers, french fries, burgers, grilled cheese and similar such items.
But are children really that picky that they need such basic menus? Why couldn't they eat items off the regular menu, albeit in a smaller portion? And if they are so picky, why is that so? Are parents raising their children to be so picky?
I was a picky child in numerous ways, but I used to dine at the former Ship on Route 1 in Lynnfield, my meal of choice was the Alaskan King Crab Legs. It was not on the children's menu so I had to order the adult portion, but I did an admirable job of eating them each time. I also have a young niece, in pre-school, who loves lobster. If a child is going to a restaurant where seafood is prominent, shouldn't the children's menu reflect that as well? Why shouldn't there be fried clams, broiled scallops or clam chowder on that menu rather than chicken fingers and mac n' cheese?
A few restaurants get it, and treat children as if they had the taste of smaller adults. AKA Bistro in Lincoln has an intriguing children's menu that includes escargot, frog's legs, Hawaiian Poke, and Cod fillet. The menu does have Mac n' Cheese and a Burger, but it does not seem as if it is being dumbed down for children.
We should be teaching our children from an early age about good food. We should be broadening their palates, and not catering to blandness. Restaurants need to take part in this, and stop treating children as if they have little taste.
Are your children very picky, or have their palates been broadened?