Etiquette Hell

Hostesses With The Mostest => Entertaining and Hospitality => Topic started by: Rohanna on August 09, 2013, 12:02:13 AM

Title: Children's Menus
Post by: Rohanna on August 09, 2013, 12:02:13 AM
I saw this, and I thought people might be interested in the history of "children's menus". It's a lot older a concept than many ehellions think, and rather interesting to see where some of the ideas came from!

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food/2013/08/children_s_menu_history_how_prohibition_and_emmett_holt_gave_rise_to_kid.html
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Redwing on August 09, 2013, 08:50:52 AM
I read the article via a link from mentalfloss.com.  Pretty interesting and I had thought about posting it here as well. 

All my kids are grown, but my daughter constantly complains about the poor choices available for my granddaughter.  When mine were little, I seem to remember giving them parts of my and my husband's food.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Hmmmmm on August 09, 2013, 09:45:00 AM
I'm tired of parents complaining about the poor choices on the kids menu. If they don't like those options, order from then adult menu. There always appetizer options or side dishes. Or split your entree with them and augment with additional sides or apps.

But most parents want to only pay under $5-7 for a kids meal and there are few meal options that a restaurant can offer at that rate. And when many try to put a more unique or healthy option on the menu, it is seldom ordered and they end up throwing out the ingredients.

Growing up, I remember many restaurants were ok with us requesting a smaller portion of a standard meal and they'd discount the cost some. Or they would let us order a main ala carte instead the full meal with salad and sides.We never ordered from a kids menu. my mom wouldn't even let them be given to us because she assumed the food was of lower quality and this was in the '70s.

I used this same approach with my own kids most of the time. Sure, there were times that the kids wanted chicken tenders and fries and they were welcome to have them occasionally. But if instead they wanted halibut in lemon sauce with broccoli, I wasn't going to expect the restaurant to only charge me $7 for the meal.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Thipu1 on August 09, 2013, 09:47:16 AM
When I was a child in the 1950s, there were children's menus but the were usually just smaller portions of the meals my parents ate. 

The meals often had names from nursery rhymes or fairy tales. 

Little Bo Peep included a lamb chop, mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Little Boy Blue was usually a slice of roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy and corn.

Henny Penny would be a portion of roast chicken with the ever-present mashed potato and a vegetable. 

Pinnochio was likely to be the most exotic thing on a kid's menu.  This would be spaghetti and meatballs with a small salad on the side. 

In the summer we would spend a week on Cape Cod.  Although fried clams in most Howard Johnson restaurants were similar to deep-fried rubber bands, on the Cape they were the real thing with bellies intact.  No one thought anything odd about a 7 year-old ordering the fried clams. 




Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Roe on August 09, 2013, 10:29:32 AM
Children menus have the worst options.

That's why my kids have almost always ordered from the regular menu.  Of course, my children have always been open to eating all types of food.  My 10 y/o has been eating sushi for awhile.

Aside from the bland food options of children's menu, the options are often unhealthy.  My youngest often prefers a grilled chicken salad to a burger. 

Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Sharnita on August 09, 2013, 10:46:19 AM
The kids' menus at Disney are pretty decent.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Venus193 on August 09, 2013, 11:28:00 AM
I need to check the comments I left there.  Thanks for the reminder.

Children's menus should only be smaller portions of the adult ones.  Of course given the current size of restaurant portions I think a parent sharing with a child covers their needs.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: shhh its me on August 09, 2013, 01:47:12 PM
I need to check the comments I left there.  Thanks for the reminder.

Children's menus should only be smaller portions of the adult ones.  Of course given the current size of restaurant portions I think a parent sharing with a child covers their needs.

I don't think parents want a whole new menu but there are many dishes that can be sized down way way down. That or appetizer combined with a vegetable and the rice side could be a meal.  A steak house may not have a 3 oz steak but if they serve steak bites as an appetizer a small portion of those with the vegetable of the day and small side.  Ordering a la cart and appetizers doesn't work that well because it still an absurd  amount of food for a young child and possibly will cost more then the adult meals.   
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Venus193 on August 09, 2013, 02:27:21 PM
Since portions are so large these days I don't see why more parents don't just share their food and pay a "plate charge" to do this if the restaurant would require that.  Much more cost-effective and far less wasteful.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Roe on August 09, 2013, 02:52:59 PM
The kids' menus at Disney are pretty decent.

Yeah. Depending on the restaurant, you can get a smaller sized adult meal for the child.  The Japanese restaurant in Epcot is one of our faves for this reason. 

My son has asked me to upgrade him to an adult plan 'cause he doesn't particularly like chicken nuggets and cheesesburgers. (common options even at Disney)  So next time we visit, I will definitely be paying to upgrade his options.

Sharing meals can be tricky, at least it has been for us.  One, my son doesn't like to feel like he's an afterthought. He wants his own meal.  Secondly, even when you ask for an extra plate, they often forget to bring one out with the meal and while you wait, the meal gets cold.  Third, there have been times when my son wants more and after we share it, it's gone.  So sharing for us hasn't worked out as well as just ordering him his own adult meal.  Leftovers are great too!  He gets to enjoy the meal for lunch the next day.  :)
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Margo on August 09, 2013, 03:22:58 PM
I can't find t now, but I saw a saw a photo pop up in my twitter feed recently, of a children's menu where one option was "the bandit option - we provide plate and cutlery and you steal food from your parents plates"

(menu was in English with prices in euros so I'm guessing it was maybe from Ireland)

It seemed like a nice idea!
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: amylouky on August 09, 2013, 03:40:07 PM
Excerpt from Emmett Holt's book. So.. this is basically feeding your kid cow blood, right?
Eww.

Quote
Beef Juice.—One pound of rare round steak, cut thick, slightly broiled, and the juice pressed out by a lemon-squeezer, or, better, a meat-press. From two to four ounces of juice can generally be obtained. This, seasoned with salt, may be given cold, or warmed by placing the cup which holds it in warm water. It should not be heated sufficiently to coagulate the albumin which is in solution, and which then appears as flakes of meat floating in the fluid.

Beef Juice by the Cold Process.—One pound of finely chopped round steak, six ounces of cold water, a pinch of salt; place in a covered jar and stand on ice or in a cold place, five or six hours or overnight. It is well to shake occasionally. This is now strained and all the juice squeezed out by placing the meat in coarse muslin and twisting it very hard. It is then seasoned and fed like the above.

Beef juice so made is not quite as palatable as that prepared from broiled steak, but it is even more nutritious, and is more economical, as fully twice as much juice, can be obtained from a given quantity of meat. Beef juice prepared in either of these ways is greatly to be preferred to the beef extracts sold.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Venus193 on August 09, 2013, 03:50:40 PM
I can't find t now, but I saw a saw a photo pop up in my twitter feed recently, of a children's menu where one option was "the bandit option - we provide plate and cutlery and you steal food from your parents plates"

(menu was in English with prices in euros so I'm guessing it was maybe from Ireland)

It seemed like a nice idea!

I guess so... if you want to undo all your previous etiquette lessons.   :-\
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Layla Miller on August 09, 2013, 03:55:07 PM
Since portions are so large these days I don't see why more parents don't just share their food and pay a "plate charge" to do this if the restaurant would require that.  Much more cost-effective and far less wasteful.

This would be awesome.  Restaurant portions almost anywhere are usually too big for me, so I have no idea what we'll do for DD when she's old enough for her own full meal.  On the bright side, I've had a peek at one of the local restaurant's kid's menus and at least some of the items are simply smaller versions of the adult items.  So we might have at least one place in town where we won't be burying her in food!

I've been to one restaurant in recent memory that allowed for smaller or even half-sized orders of things.  I really wish I could have taken that place with us when we moved.  ;D
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Yvaine on August 09, 2013, 04:00:04 PM
I can't find t now, but I saw a saw a photo pop up in my twitter feed recently, of a children's menu where one option was "the bandit option - we provide plate and cutlery and you steal food from your parents plates"

(menu was in English with prices in euros so I'm guessing it was maybe from Ireland)

It seemed like a nice idea!

I guess so... if you want to undo all your previous etiquette lessons.   :-\

How? I'm pretty sure the "bandit" wording was just funny copy for the menu, and that nobody'd actually order that unless they were actually OK with sharing their food with their kid...ergo the kid's not really "stealing," just sharing.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: jpcher on August 09, 2013, 04:29:11 PM
I can't find t now, but I saw a saw a photo pop up in my twitter feed recently, of a children's menu where one option was "the bandit option - we provide plate and cutlery and you steal food from your parents plates"

(menu was in English with prices in euros so I'm guessing it was maybe from Ireland)

It seemed like a nice idea!

I guess so... if you want to undo all your previous etiquette lessons.   :-\

How? I'm pretty sure the "bandit" wording was just funny copy for the menu, and that nobody'd actually order that unless they were actually OK with sharing their food with their kid...ergo the kid's not really "stealing," just sharing.

I saw that photo, too, and giggled at it. I thought it was a great idea . . . several posters mentioned asking for an extra plate so the child can share off of your entree.

edited: If I recall, the menu was somewhat pirate-themed and the other dishes on the children's menu also had fun-themed names to them.I was wrong about the theme. Here's a link to the photo I saw, although when I saw the photo it didn't have the text attached. I'm curious about the last line of the text "Unfortunately, with the exchange rate, 0 Euros is still $15.99."

http://www.happyplace.com/25554/kids-menu-offers-bandit-plate-for-kids-to-steal-parents-food-onto


So, I do see Venus193's point about the wording. Not quite etiquette-correct, but still cute, in my book./end edit.


Oh, and the price for ordering this "dish" was 0 euros.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Yvaine on August 09, 2013, 04:41:56 PM
Probably also a tongue-in-cheek way of saying they know some people are already doing this, and they don't need to lie about it or anything; the restaurant is ok with it.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Deetee on August 09, 2013, 04:50:24 PM
I can't find t now, but I saw a saw a photo pop up in my twitter feed recently, of a children's menu where one option was "the bandit option - we provide plate and cutlery and you steal food from your parents plates"

(menu was in English with prices in euros so I'm guessing it was maybe from Ireland)

It seemed like a nice idea!

I guess so... if you want to undo all your previous etiquette lessons.   :-\

How? I'm pretty sure the "bandit" wording was just funny copy for the menu, and that nobody'd actually order that unless they were actually OK with sharing their food with their kid...ergo the kid's not really "stealing," just sharing.


I agree. It's just a neat way of saying they'll provide cutlery and plate for the kid and are happy to do so. I think it's great. I feel a bit odd asking for extra and often end up serving my kid off a saucer with a coffee spoon or some such.

Despite that, am I the only one who like kids menus? As far as I'm concerned my kid has to eat what's in front of her at home (or at friends) but at a restaurant she can pick, like I pick. As she always chooses mac and cheese I'm happy it's a cheap option so many places. She's happy and I'm happy.

Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: MOM21SON on August 09, 2013, 05:17:55 PM
I have a friend who makes all of her kids order off the kids menu for cost reasons.  The youngest is 15! :o
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Yvaine on August 09, 2013, 05:20:05 PM
I have a friend who makes all of her kids order off the kids menu for cost reasons.  The youngest is 15! :o
[/quote

Ah yes, this is familiar from my childhood. Right down to "Slouch in your seat so you look shorter."
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: blarg314 on August 09, 2013, 08:08:11 PM

Despite that, am I the only one who like kids menus? As far as I'm concerned my kid has to eat what's in front of her at home (or at friends) but at a restaurant she can pick, like I pick. As she always chooses mac and cheese I'm happy it's a cheap option so many places. She's happy and I'm happy.

My problem as a child was that I didn't want the food that was on the kids' menu. I wanted the same sort of food the adults were eating, but I couldn't eat an entire main course. I usually ordered appetizers, but that is usually a very limited selection of what the restaurant offered.

Sharing from the parents' plate works with very young children. By the time a kid is eight or so, they're probably eating enough that scraps of what other people are eating isn't enough, and, if they like food, probaebly want to have some say in what they eat, rather than a random assortment of what other people chose.

I *still* have problems eating a full main course at many American restaurants.  The concept of a multi-course restaurant meal (appetizer, main course, dessert) is an abstract one to me, because I can't eat that much at one sitting.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on August 09, 2013, 08:53:17 PM
My oldest is 12 so he's right at that cutoff age where he could order from the kid's menu but he doesn't really like the options and it's definitely not enough food for him.  So we give him the choice of whether or not he wants to, depending on his appetite at the moment. 

Heck, the child is a bottomless pit at the moment, so he probably could finish off an entree at your typical American restaurant and still want dessert.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: *inviteseller on August 10, 2013, 12:12:53 AM
There is a local restaurant chain here..nice family dining, that has revamped the kids menu from the boring old chicken fingers/mac & cheese to an ala cart of small entrees with pick your own sides.  They have from pancakes, to fish, slider burgers, pork cutlets, and the sides are great too.  You can get fries, but also offer salads, jello, veggies, fruit.  It is nice because my 7 yr old is unbelievably picky and in most places, she may like one thing on the plate but not the other 2 options and they act like substituting is going to be the hardest thing ever, so for her to be able to pick 3 different things I know she will eat is a godsend!  My older DD never went with the kids menu because she has always had a great appetite and is an adventurous eater.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: nayberry on August 11, 2013, 05:41:27 AM
a friend of mine has two children, one who is very picky and the younger who eats anything,  for example when they were 11 months they were trying to steal our shellfish and were quite happy with eating curry.

the older child does now eat a lot more as they know their sibling will nab it if they dont!
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on August 11, 2013, 06:55:49 AM
I know when I was a kid I was freely given whatever my parents were eating.  I wasn't a picky eater, either.  Though at restaurants I did like ordering from the kid's menu.  I remember going to Disney World when I was 13 and when the waittress in the hotel's restaurant asked me my age, I did tell her and my dad laughed and commended me for being so honest and admitted he'd hoped to pass me off for 12.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Hmmmmm on August 11, 2013, 05:32:01 PM

Despite that, am I the only one who like kids menus? As far as I'm concerned my kid has to eat what's in front of her at home (or at friends) but at a restaurant she can pick, like I pick. As she always chooses mac and cheese I'm happy it's a cheap option so many places. She's happy and I'm happy.

My problem as a child was that I didn't want the food that was on the kids' menu. I wanted the same sort of food the adults were eating, but I couldn't eat an entire main course. I usually ordered appetizers, but that is usually a very limited selection of what the restaurant offered.

Sharing from the parents' plate works with very young children. By the time a kid is eight or so, they're probably eating enough that scraps of what other people are eating isn't enough, and, if they like food, probaebly want to have some say in what they eat, rather than a random assortment of what other people chose.

I *still* have problems eating a full main course at many American restaurants.  The concept of a multi-course restaurant meal (appetizer, main course, dessert) is an abstract one to me, because I can't eat that much at one sitting.

While I know most kids menus say for under 12, I've know very few 9 and up still ordering a kids menu entree or eating from their parents plates. And when my kids and I split an entree when they were little, they probably more often chose the entree than I did. Honestly, I was perfectly happy with the 2 of them and their dad ordering entree and I shared some of theirs as that way I got more variety.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Katana_Geldar on August 11, 2013, 05:41:33 PM
Some restaurants I've seen have age limits on the kids menu...presumably because adults are ordering off them.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: hyzenthlay on August 11, 2013, 06:35:09 PM
My problem is that my kids prefer plain food. Until they were about 10 the kid's menu was the only way we could really find anything for them to eat, unless we asked for a meal to be served without any sauce, sides, or toppings. And if we did that my FIL was paying too much for a very plain meal.

(We didn't tend to take the kids to eat because they didn't enjoy sitting that long, and because we didn't see the point in taking them out to eat what I could make at home.)

But I think it's a silly to gripe about kid's menus these days. Order from the adult menu if you want to, no one's gonna come by and wave a child rearing handbook at you.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: thunderroad on August 11, 2013, 08:05:51 PM
My problem is that my kids prefer plain food. Until they were about 10 the kid's menu was the only way we could really find anything for them to eat, unless we asked for a meal to be served without any sauce, sides, or toppings. And if we did that my FIL was paying too much for a very plain meal.

(We didn't tend to take the kids to eat because they didn't enjoy sitting that long, and because we didn't see the point in taking them out to eat what I could make at home.)

But I think it's a silly to gripe about kid's menus these days. Order from the adult menu if you want to, no one's gonna come by and wave a child rearing handbook at you.

I agree with this.  When my son was young, it wasn't so much that he was a picky eater that he liked plain food, so we often relied on children's menus.  Those who find the child menu confining have the rest of the menu to choose from. 

As for the child who liked plain food, he grew up to be a chef with an adventurous palate, so it all worked out well in the end!
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Dazi on August 11, 2013, 09:13:10 PM
I honestly don't recall ever ordering off a kid's menu when I was a child...except for the one place that had those giant roasted turkey legs, but I got strange looks when I requested a salad or vegetable instead of french fries that went with it. I was a strange child in that I did notcare for typical kid's menu fare and had a special dislike of McD's.  I most often ordered of the app or adult menu and had leftovers.  Sometimes, I would split a meal and dessert with a relative, usually GM or my mother...my brother was our own personal hoover and would eat every last morsel of even adult meals by the time he was 8 or so.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Sharnita on August 12, 2013, 06:00:53 AM
At Cracker Barrel there is no age limit for the kids menu and the items ate smaller versions of the adult size so I have ordered off the kids' menu a few times.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Thipu1 on August 12, 2013, 09:10:36 AM
Maybe it's a fluke of the neighborhood but children here seem to be very sophisticated about food. In sushi places, it's not unusual to see 7 or 8 year-olds tucking into an order of chirashi after a Little League game.   

Recently, a quite famous chef opened a restaurant a few blocks away. We haven't eaten there because the menu is odd Asian fusion...pretzel dough pot stickers, anyone?

Still, the place is always packed and there are many of the diners are children. 

A few weeks ago we were out during the brunch hour and saw a family with a girl of about 5 entering the place.  She was skipping merrily along and chanting the name of the restaurant.  Apparently, it was one of her favorite places to eat.

     
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: *inviteseller on August 12, 2013, 10:09:55 AM
My older DD is the adventurous one and will eat anything so the kids menu was very boring for her.  It did bother me once when she about 6 and she was ordering from the regular menu and our waitress said "are you sure honey?  Maybe you should be ordering from the kids menu."  I just looked at her and said "that would be my issue as I am paying for the food, now please just take her order."  Yeah, her tip was not all that great.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Deetee on August 13, 2013, 11:49:54 AM
I posted earlier saying that I liked the kids menu because I know that I can get a cheap meal that she likes at a restaurant. I didn't put it in the original post because I didn't think it was required, but the fact that she likes mac and cheese doesn't mean she doesn't like other food or is picky, picky. She eats sushi and mexican and italian and curry and lots of fruit and veggies etc.. because that's what we eat. We went for a 2 hour 12 dish dinner of reasonably authentic Chinese food and she cheerfully ate 11/12 dishes and tried the 12th. But she would have been as happy with mac and cheese.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Rohanna on August 13, 2013, 11:52:36 AM
My older DD is the adventurous one and will eat anything so the kids menu was very boring for her.  It did bother me once when she about 6 and she was ordering from the regular menu and our waitress said "are you sure honey?  Maybe you should be ordering from the kids menu."  I just looked at her and said "that would be my issue as I am paying for the food, now please just take her order."  Yeah, her tip was not all that great.

In fairness maybe the waitress was covering herself from a complaint and a demand to have the items removed from the bill if she didn't like it. As log as it was said politely it wouldn't bother me- restaurants often do/try to dock staff checks for discounts and voids so I wouldn't necessarily blame her for clarifying. The Indian place we go to always verifies that new customers know about spice levels in some dishes- that doesn't mean they don't want people to order them.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: dawbs on August 13, 2013, 12:29:17 PM
I posted earlier saying that I liked the kids menu because I know that I can get a cheap meal that she likes at a restaurant. I didn't put it in the original post because I didn't think it was required, but the fact that she likes mac and cheese doesn't mean she doesn't like other food or is picky, picky. She eats sushi and mexican and italian and curry and lots of fruit and veggies etc.. because that's what we eat. We went for a 2 hour 12 dish dinner of reasonably authentic Chinese food and she cheerfully ate 11/12 dishes and tried the 12th. But she would have been as happy with mac and cheese.

We're not this fortunate (yet) but I like having crappy kids menu food as an option. 

In part because I'm not keen on dropping $15 on food for my child to not eat (I'm annoyed enough at the $4 mac n cheese she didn't eat :P)  and in part because food is a battle zone in our house (and because of under-weight and nutrition issues, one where "she'll eat if she's hungry enough" isn't an option our pediatrician supports)--I can fight the battle to keep my child quiet and well behaved and eating/tolerating/ignoring familiar food, but if we add ONE more battle to that--like the one of trying to get her to eat something that's unfamiliar or whatever, that's setting us up for failure.
I'll be thrilled to order my kid something that isn't nuggets or mac n cheese from the kid's menu someday, but for today, I'm thrilled that "do you want nuggets or mac n cheese" is a viable option.
Title: Re: Children's Menus
Post by: Hmmmmm on August 13, 2013, 12:47:39 PM
I posted earlier saying that I liked the kids menu because I know that I can get a cheap meal that she likes at a restaurant. I didn't put it in the original post because I didn't think it was required, but the fact that she likes mac and cheese doesn't mean she doesn't like other food or is picky, picky. She eats sushi and mexican and italian and curry and lots of fruit and veggies etc.. because that's what we eat. We went for a 2 hour 12 dish dinner of reasonably authentic Chinese food and she cheerfully ate 11/12 dishes and tried the 12th. But she would have been as happy with mac and cheese.

We're not this fortunate (yet) but I like having crappy kids menu food as an option. 

In part because I'm not keen on dropping $15 on food for my child to not eat (I'm annoyed enough at the $4 mac n cheese she didn't eat :P)  and in part because food is a battle zone in our house (and because of under-weight and nutrition issues, one where "she'll eat if she's hungry enough" isn't an option our pediatrician supports)--I can fight the battle to keep my child quiet and well behaved and eating/tolerating/ignoring familiar food, but if we add ONE more battle to that--like the one of trying to get her to eat something that's unfamiliar or whatever, that's setting us up for failure.
I'll be thrilled to order my kid something that isn't nuggets or mac n cheese from the kid's menu someday, but for today, I'm thrilled that "do you want nuggets or mac n cheese" is a viable option.

Dawbs explains it perfectly Kids menus are what they are because they feel a need of dining families. An inexpensive option of foods most kids will like. And if the kids decide they don't want to eat it even after ordering, your not wasting a ton of money.

And that's why I'm irritated at parents complaining about the condition of most kid's menus. These parents have the option of ordering from a much more diverse adult menu for their kids. If you don't like the kid's menu at a restaurant go to a different one or order from the adult menu.