A Word On Food: Children’s Menus

My wife, Janet and I have both been fully vaccinated, for which we are very grateful. We look forward to the months ahead and everyone that wants them gets them. Still we are precautious when we go to a place and make sure that it is safely operated. Recently we joined our son, Justin, daughter in law Lourdes and our Granddaughter Audrey for tapas at a sunny late afternoon venue. Audrey is 8 now. I’m not bragging, but … she is precocious. She dazzles me. But like many children her age going out for a meal can be a challenge for both the child and the parents. The grandparents get to watch from the grand stands! Lourdes looked at the large menu and fielded ideas with Justin that would appeal to both of them from a nutritional aspect for their daughter and for what Audrey would also, hopefully be receptive too. When Lourdes’s gaze fell on what is called, “The Children’s Menu” her pretty eyes zoomed in on the offerings. She rolled them up to Heaven saying. “Why do they have these lousy choices for our children?” 

I, for one don’t know when all of this business began with the paltry offerings that seemingly always feature chicken fingers and many carbs. These menus are meant to pacify both generations I suppose but the cost is staggering culturally. I promise not to go on a rant here … but the stakes are high. If we don’t share many of the same foods with our children and grandchildren the shared memories of our various food cultures cannot grow or even exist. It is true that children have different taste buds than adults. I’m not one to insist that a child has … say, liver and onions just because I enjoy them. But the chasm can be narrowed with not a tremendous amount of effort in a good restaurant. And by good I don’t mean expensive or fancy. A good diner has a menu large enough to find foods kids love. 

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Now it’s time to hit the ‘Listen on WLRN’ button at the top to hear the remainder of my show. ‘A Word On Food’ airs on WLRN every Saturday around 8:30 a.m. at 91.3 and also 91.5 on the radio. I want to thank so many of you who tell me in person how much you are enjoying the show! Please check out my Instagram photos and my new IG TV cooking videos @normanvanaken 

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