Saturday, June 7, 2008

in the beginning

Ok, first of all, I'm not categorically against kids menus. Used properly I think they encourage reasonable portions and can make restaurant eating fun for kids. I've seen some great ones, but it seems all too often we find hamburgers, chicken nuggets and other "kid foods" on the menus of otherwise good restaurants. And only hamburgers, chicken nuggets and kid foods.

Also, I'm not categorically against pizza, hamburgers, and chicken nuggets (although I do hate that name - "nuggets" somehow sounds scatological to me). Like any food there are good versions and very, very bad versions of all of the above. But while these foods make an occasional guest star appearance in my diet, they are just a few amid a cast of hundreds of other foods I enjoy. I pretty sure that the ability to enjoy this wide variety of foods was not one of the revelations of puberty (come to think of it - I'm not sure there were any revelations of puberty). As I kid I ate bell peppers from my grandmother's garden like apples. I think kids can eat and enjoy a wide variety of food. Why can't kids eat Thai? What do Thai kids eat? Are they all wasting away, turning their noses up at delicious noodle dishes and hoping a hotdog comes along?

And to be clear, I'm not only going to discuss good restaurants to bring kids along to, or even talk only about food for kids. I read a number of excellent food blogs but none of them speak to where I am in life. I'd love to try some places where it would not be appropriate to bring my kids along - no matter how well behaved or how developed their little palates are, there are some places we just can't take them. But honestly, we only get a few kid-free meals out a year so there are only so many restaurants like that I need to know about. Wonderful food reviewers will sometimes label establishments as family friendly and we arrive to the same cold stares from staff we'd get if we brought our pet macaque along (we don't have a pet macaque and, honestly, there is no need to resort to hyperbole to describe how distasteful some wait staff find serving children).

Besides, we honestly trend toward the more casual, funky end of things anyway. There is a sublime New York pizza joint in San Diego that I dream about (they have a sign that says "the white cheese is ricotta - not goat cheese. We don't serve goat cheese.") and would choose a thousand times over any given 3 star French continental cuisine restaurant. So even after our kids are more easily babysat this is probably the kind of place we'll go.

My husband, Basil, and I have been thinking a lot about local food lately too and we always try to eat organic as much as possible. There's a lot more to think about on that topic than it seemed when we first started (how much do we want that pint of strawberries? are we sure they don't grow any bananas in Maryland? Ever?)

So I'll be talking about all those things, discussing restaurants, cookbooks, recipes, farmers markets, farms, local food producers... whatever I come across that gets me thinking about food. Gustatory life after kids - strike that - Gustatory life with kids.


Publius said...


Like your point about Thai kids waiting around for a hot dog. Given how their tastes are likely cultured from an early age, here 's how that hot dog might look.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rosemary- Thank you for connecting to my blog "The Garden Apartment." My husband and I often talk about how we will continue to eat locally produced foods once we start to have a family. I look forward to being inspired by you!
Best, Tiffany