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Giving little kids expensive food -- am I off base?

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I'm really and truly all for exposing kids to all sorts of tastes. But I also have to confess that I'm almost frantically frugal sometimes. That doesn't equate to cheap: I don't mind spending big bucks when it's going to be worth it.

But I simply can't stand it to lay out good money for food that won't be eaten. (Or appreciated, for that matter. I have a few friends who are just fine with Cracker Barrel cheddar, and I don't condescend at all, because I like that kind of cheese sometimes too -- but I'm also not going to break out the $40/pound artisan stuff on them, because they don't care about it.)

But several times recently, people in my sphere have served very young kids (under six) adult-sized portions of very spendy foods, some of them supplied by yours truly. We're talking lamb, lobster, caviar, even real truffles. In some cases, the kids ate them. More often, they either picked at them, or completely refused to sample them.

Confession: I don't have kids, and don't really like them that much. I realize this colors my perception.

But especially for someone who really has to think hard about whether that asparagus that looks so good could possibly be worth $6 a pound, this is a big-time issue for me.

What kind of monster am I?

  1. I'm with you on the not really liking kids thing - but I'd rather see a child have the chance to try something than see an adult not eat expensive (or indeed any) food I'd made and see it go to waste.

    1. When I have kids over, I make sure to have things like chicken fingers or quesadillas available, then if they want to try something more sophisticated they can. But they usually don't.

      5 Replies
      1. re: coll

        I just want to point out that this is a very slippery slope. I don't know when or why Americans decided that it is critical to condition children to believe that they can't, won't or don't eat the normal foods served at a gathering but it does put pressure on children who eat normal food to take kid food - particularly if, like me, you have encountered hosts who do not want children to eat the grown up food because they haven't prepared enough for that. I have taught my son that when we are guests he needs to choose the Kid Food because I've seen people go bananas if someone's child takes a shrimp.

        1. re: Kater

          The company my dad worked for used to have company dinners. Sometimes it would be adults only at a restaurant but, occasionally, they would have a family dinner. We went one time. It was at a park and they had a cookout with steaks for the adults and hot dogs for the kids. My parents were livid! I hated hot dogs. They fed us separately from the adults and there was nothing else to eat besides chips and other junk food. Like you, I don't understand the need to condition kids to eat what be considered "kid food". I'm glad we don't go any place with our children where people expect that. Even at home, I don't give them much of a new food until we see if they like it. I hate food waste!

        2. re: coll

          "When I have kids over, I make sure to have things like chicken fingers or quesadillas available, then if they want to try something more sophisticated they can. But they usually don't."

          Of course they don't, when there are chicken fingers and quesadillas on hand. Even my houndy kids will pass up things they would otherwise eat if there's "kid food" to be had.

          1. re: mamaciita

            a blanket statement like that cannot really be true. my kid would jump over a thousand trays of mac and cheese for a piece of salmon.....

            1. re: thew

              I agree with thew. I wouldn't exactly say my daughter has sophisticated food tastes, but she loves roasted garlic and olives and is relatively interested in bland, starchy "kid foods."

        3. I think it's important to expose children to new ideas, food, travel. And it's impossible to measure the long term impact of this exposure. I know children who would prefer sturgeon to chicken fingers. Exposure and waste need not be part of the same experience. Also there is a social skill developed in learning and trying. Laying out money for food that won't be eaten is quite different from serving a child something cheaper because they are only children. (I don't always love them that much either.)

          1. Full-disclosure: I have kids. I don't believe in having a "kids' menu" when I have a dinner party. But neither do I believe in waste. So I try to have some things (plain pasta perhaps?) around that even a really picky kid will eat. But I do expect that they will be offered, and hopefully try, anything that's on the table. That's the way we are with our kids. But I don't think it's inappropriate to cut some "sample sizes" that might be offered first, before a full serving is offered. And parents really ought to be cognizant of perhaps giving them a little off their plate as a trial before taking a full size piece for the kid.

            1. You never know what kids might like. Interestingly enough, I really can't stand lamb now, but when I was really young I loved it and looked forward to the nights when my mom served it. I never got an adult portion, but I never got served something different because I was thought to be too young to appreciate it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: queencru

                Same here. I was a late in life child so my parents and siblings were older than average and it was in general an adult atmosphere and I was expected to adapt and not the other way around. I remember going to my Dad's Ship Reunion and the following night my parents, brother and me going for a fancy dinner and me wanting "monster fish" (Lobster) like my brother had. They ordered me a lobster tail (I was 5) and I fell in love.

              2. I started my kids on "spendy foods" when they were in elementary school so that's around six but they didnt get adult portions.

                Are you saying that you supplied (and paid) for the food that you have a problem with the kids eating (or not, for that matter) ? If so, that's a little odd to even serve that kind of food if you know that kids are going to be "exposed" to it and you would prefer that they not. I can understand the adult portion thing but if that's the problem, and these people were your guests, then they are obviously people you know, who also must know how you feel about your expensive food.

                If you prepared it & got paid to do it, then it's no longer your food regardless if you don't agree on how the parents chose to serve it.

                Seriously not being nasty here, but I think you'd look at it different if an adult didn't eat everything on their plate & tossed it but the fact that you don't like kids is an issue for you, whether they are eating or anything else. It really amazes me when people say this as YOU were a child once. Not saying you need to like them but you were a kid once and imagine if someone kind of treated you differently because you were a kid...

                As a side note, I know someone who told me that they don't like old people..I had to remind them that one day, they were going to be old and that I hoped for their sake, they didn't have someone taking care of them that couldn't stand old people...

                14 Replies
                1. re: Cherylptw

                  Everyone used to treat kids differently, when I was growing up. No harm in it, eventually you grew up to be an adult, ready or not.

                  1. re: coll

                    I'm talking about the difference between someone actually liking children & not liking them...Just because you don't don't like them, you shouldn't treat them any different from anyone else, that's what I'm talking about. What are you talking about?

                    1. re: Cherylptw

                      I love kids, but when I offer them chicken fingers vs caviar, they always go for the fingers. Obviously I love them, because I create a special menu just for them.

                      1. re: coll

                        I was not implying you don't like kids; I was referring to the OP's post which is why I was a little confused by your comment..

                        1. re: Cherylptw

                          Coll was making the point that, just b/c we all were children at some point doesn't mean that we have to like them, once we're not children anymore.

                          I started disliking younger kids once I was an older kid. Now that I am an adult, I still don't like kids and prefer the company of adults.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            I suspect what you don't like is poorly behaved kids, not all kids. And poorly behaved kids are caused, primarily, by adults. That said, I also have a problem with adults giving (my) expensive food to children who are not likely to a[ppreciate it. Likewise, it also infuriates me when adults allow children to double dip/put back eaten food/touch food they don't intend to eat, expensive or otherwise. It's obnoxious and disgusting.

                            1. re: southernitalian

                              Let's put it this way: I don't like poorly behaved kids, and kids in general don't particularly interest me, regardless of their behavior.

                              1. re: linguafood

                                I am actually amazed and entranced when I see a well behaved child, it's like spotting Tinkerbelle the fairy.

                            2. re: linguafood

                              You're right, you don't have to like them but you can treat them like you treat anyone else. Otherwise what does it say about you to discriminate against a child who has done nothing to you? It says you have issues and it's not just about not wanting them to eat your food.

                              Also, if the OP was providing the said food by way of coming out the pocket for it and didn't indicate to the parents that he didn't want them to have it then don't rant about it later here...go to the parents and speak to them but I'll bet they'll be puzzled as to why it's coming out now after the fact....don't be passive aggressive, now that's my point

                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                I never said I discriminated against kids. I just don't tend to hang out with them.

                                And to get back OT, I probably would NOT offer them super-expensive food without clarifying beforehand whether they will actually eat it or not. Same goes for adults.

                          2. re: coll

                            You could not pay my kid to eat a chicken finger, and he loves caviar.

                            1. re: coll

                              <when I offer them chicken fingers vs caviar, they always go for the fingers.>

                              You've clearly never been around my 7 year old. As far as she's concerned, anything that comes from a fish, eggs included, is the best food one can consume. I'd rather she have caviar than I have it because I know she will appreciate it more than I.

                              1. re: rockycat

                                When my father complains that we're conditioning Lulu to like too much "expensive" food, my husband simply explains that he's trying to make sure she doesn't date frat boy types when she gets older. My dad gets this puzzled look and then says "oh. ok." My husband is kidding (mostly).

                                We've always gone by the rule that what we have on our plates is what our daughter (now 3) has on hers. And guess what? She eats almost everything.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  What an odd tangent this whole discussion has taken. My kids will, usually decline chicken fingers, but will have them on occassion just as my spouse will go to Wendy's for a burger on occassion. Food is not religion and should not be bound by unchanging rules.

                                  We have the great good fortune of having kids who are very well behaved in and out of the house. We also have the benefit of watching how our kids react to less expensive/fancy/from scratch/high quality foods because all of them head to the other parents (two each) on a regular basis.

                                  We hear what they have to say of the other houses. When one child, who loves her other parent dearly, complains about the food and "grey meat" (overdone steaks) at the other parent's houses or calls when on vacation begging for fresh spinach when she gets home, you know your kids have benefited from a proper diet. This is an extended study that, in our limited sampling, shows the benefit of proper education of young taste buds.

                                  Our kids understand food and this understanding comes from years of eduction. Start early and persist and you will have kids who understand food. Start them off wrong and you may fail.

                                  One other experiment was my SO's time with two Spam raised (I kid you not...SPAM) nieces while their parents holidayed for two weeks. Ignoring the warning from mom that the kids will not eat veggies and will prefer Spam, my SO had them eating and loving spinach, fresh oysters, cheese curds, apple crisps....these kids simply knew no better. All she did was show them how good food could be.

                                  If you love your kids feed them like you do. Good food need not be expensive but it needs to be fresh and often homemade. If you believe in investing in your children in general, an investment in diet must be part of that investment. IMHO

                      2. Not a monster at all, just picky about where you spend your money. I just don't see why it is such a problem. Personally, I like exposing my kids to stuff - but I am the one making the decision, knowing some may be tossed (or, more likely, I may eat it!). If you are out to dinner & the parents order an adult plate for their kid & pay for it, I don't see why you should care. If friends are hosting a dinner, they can serve their kids whatever they want. If you are hosting a dinner and it really bothers you, save the "good stuff" for adults-only parties.

                        1. i like kids, but i don't want to see them waste (expensive) food that their doting mom or dad piles on their plates. parents should give the child a taste first, before plating -- and be realistic in the amount plated. i think this is respectful of the host.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: alkapal

                            I agree with giving them a taste before giving a big serving of something they might not eat. With that said, when I was a child, my parents allowed us to order whatever we wanted off a restaurant menu and never denied us any food they ate. We took a friend out for my birthday once to a steak restaurant....I think we were around 10-11 and she was shocked that my parents said she could order a steak instead of a burger. Her parents always made her get the kids burger and fries. I've always allowed my children to order what they want. My daughter (16) is very adventurous and will eat sushi with me. My son (10) isn't as adventurous although he will try new things occasionally. He's wanting to try sushi the next time we go.

                          2. All of my kids were brought up eating like adults and sharing our food. (rant on) If you don’t do this then you get picky kids who only eat crap imho. (rant over)

                            Two of my three kids loved lamb one didn’t he loved shrimp and lobster.
                            Blue cheese all of my kids love it.
                            When my oldest was 12 he shocked a maitre d’ by telling him which caviar was the Osetra and which was the Sevruga.

                            Kids will have as much of a refined palate as you challenge them to have and the more foods you expose them to the less picky they will be and more knowledgeable.

                            Many years ago we hosted a relative at our house who’s oldest daughter (10 years old) would only eat Chicken fingers, mashed potatoes or mac and cheese for dinner – THAT was it. To make matters worse their youngest daughter would only eat PB&J on white bread with the crust cut off.

                            By the end of the week the oldest one decided Lamb was the best thing she had ever eaten, asparagus was really good and she really liked Mexican food, especially chicken fajita’s, real tacos and flan and discovered salad was good to eat.

                            The youngest didn’t care for lamb but liked Indian and steak. She also discovered barley which she thought was incredible and trees (broccoli) were out of this world. She actually ate 9 full stalks of broccoli, along with my youngest son who calls them trees, out of the garden while she was there. We also found them on the last day eating the green crayons (beans) out of the garden but she was embarrassed to tell us she liked them.

                            Their mother never wanted to fight with them and force them to try new things; luckily these kids weren’t 100% obstinate but did try the new food with the guarantee from me that they could spit it out if they didn’t like it.

                            As far as your questions go, havens no, give the child a very small portion if they have never tried that item. I don’t mind any child trying something that I serve but like you it should be a small portion, especially if it’s a buffet style event where they can come back and load up on the lobster if they like it.

                            Adults that over-load the kids plate are being stupid and rude to you and a kind word might bring that to their attention.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: RetiredChef

                              "All of my kids were brought up eating like adults and sharing our food. (rant on) If you don’t do this then you get picky kids who only eat crap imho. (rant over)"

                              And yet sharing your food with your kids does not guarantee you don't get a picky eater. It's great that it worked that way for you, and it's worked that way with one of mine, but the other is as picky as he can be despite the many many many efforts I made to try to ensure a different outcome.

                              To the OP, I do think you're off base if you're getting upset when you have a dinner party and all your guests eat the expensive food (including the smaller diners).

                              Whether not you're off base to get upset when people serve and then don't eat the expensive food... well, ask yourself if you get upset when adults leave your expensive food on their plates? If so, then sure, get upset at the kids too. At least you're being consistent!

                            2. I think you might actually want to consider whether you have similar issues with adults, given your statement that you don't bring out the good stuff for those who you think are fine with Cracker Barrel cheddar. If it were me, I'd give them a chance to taste, and see what they think., and then give more if appropriate. (and I do mean tasteL loading a young child's plate with an adult size portion is wrong, regardless of whether it is mac and cheese or lobster). If you are providing the food, you can serve it, rather than complain about the overly large portions someone else doles out. If you aren't providing the food, I guess your only option is to say to the child, 'can I have that lobster if you aren't going to eat it?;

                              I recently shared some very high quality cheese with a friend who didn't think he liked cheese. His reaction: 'well, I thought cheese was something that was an ok snack now and then but not special, but this is absolutely delicious. Where did you get it?'

                              Exposure is important. My 20 month old granddaughter is already well on the road to being a Chowhound, because she is offered a variety of foods, in small portions as is appropriate to her age, and it isn't assumed that she will only eat plain pasta, or chicken fingers (yech!) or whatever is 'kid-like'. This weekend I saw her happily eat scallops, a bit of grilled octopus dipped in Mexican salsa (we were at a Mexican seafood place and she got into the dipping idea) and a lot of salad....

                              14 Replies
                              1. re: susancinsf

                                Bingo!

                                I don't like kids generally (or at all for that matter), but regardless of whether it is a toddler or an adult, I think it's important that everyone has a chance to try all foodstuffs -- from the cheap to the expensive, from the mundane to the exotic, from the tasty to the no-so-tasty.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  I agree completely. If the kids were adults and simply some other group the OP didn't like, I doubt he'd think twice about offering that group an inferior product when they were among a larger group. The reality is that kids will be invited to some gatherings and shouldn't be treated like second-class citizens. They usually have no choice as to whether they attend. If someone happens to bring an expensive item to a potluck to which children have been invited, I don't think he has a right to exclude them. You wouldn't take an item to a potluck and declare "No one wearing sneakers may try this dish" so why should it be any different with children?

                                  1. re: queencru

                                    Not sure I'd call them "second-class citizens," but c'mon. A 5-year-old has nothing in common, apart from DNA, with an adult. They have no judgment or rationality, regardless of their verbal acuity. Is it ageism to deny a second-grader a driver's license? Is denying them a $18 taste of food a human-rights crime? Gimme a break.

                                    Kids aren't magic, nor are they wise. Life isn't a Robin Williams movie.

                                    In fact, children are scientifically demonstrably the polar opposite from wise. And despite what they may or may not like, little ones don't have a developed palate in any sense of the word. Many of them refuse to eat anything but chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese. Are these our new food savants?

                                    I appreciate all the feedback, but I think I'm more convinced than ever in my original beliefs.

                                    1. re: dmd_kc

                                      I'm going to have to agree with dmd_kc here: These accusations of prejudice when it comes to children is an overblown language that undermines the actual work of people looking to protect civil rights, human rights and human rights of the child. The hyperbole does no one any good.

                                      Plus, I do think there should be some more nuanced thinking around the original question. For those who talk about a range of foods offered to children, not all of you are discussing luxury items that come at considerable cost. If someone were to offer me caviar-- as some have-- I would find myself very touched and appreciative. A five-year old might also be appreciative of the taste (although the self-congratulation around those with or cultivating broader palates is a bit wearying) but would have no sense of the other significance involved in the exchange, and to that end, if s/he were just as happy with the lump roe or buttered toast points, why is it a crime to keep the good stuff for those who can appreciate the food gift in all its dimensions-- including that of the context of the gift?

                                      1. re: dmd_kc

                                        The portrait you draw of five year old children is astounding!

                                        1. re: dmd_kc

                                          Oh. come on, give me a break. Children will eat what you expose them to. My 5 year old son in face loves his salad with blue cheese dressing. Your wrong about them developing a palate. Give them good tasty food and they will eat that over greasy fried chicken fingers any day. We seem, as a society to have very low expectations when it comes to children and food. God forbid, if Johnny east a artichoke or caviar or what ever is "expensive". In the next breath I hear parents lementing that their children won't eat vegatables or fruit. Kids will eat what's put on their plate.

                                          Did you know that it takes something like ten try's before a child will like a food? Ask any parent. some day's their child will gobble down cabbage until it's coming out of their ears. Next day cabbage is " yuckie". It's only through constant exposue that kids learn to like different things and develope their palate.

                                          Childen eat only mac and cheese and chicken fingers because that's their only choice sometimes. My kids hate going to functions, they hate the kids buffet and want to eat the adult food. They know what's better and tasty.

                                          Not fond of kids fine, Not willing to spend the dime to expose all of your guests to good food, including the kids, fine. Unwilling to look at the wasted caviar as a chance to expose a guest to a new food, fine. Don't serve it.

                                          1. re: kidschef

                                            "Children will eat what you expose them to... Kids will eat what's put on their plate."

                                            This is not true for all children. It's nice that you've had that experience. But it's not a blanket truth.

                                            1. re: kidschef

                                              I think it's true that exposing kids to lots of foods makes it more likely that they will eat a variety of foods, but it's not a guarantee.

                                              My own daughter will eat just about anything; she eats what we eat, and is happy to try new foods. Loves fruit and vegetables, etc. But I know parents of kids the same age who have essentially the same attitude towards food that we do (give it to kids and expect them to eat it, and they probably will), and whose children have become exceptionally picky eaters. It's mysterious to my why this should be, but I've seen it, and I don't think it's due to parents underestimating the children's palates.

                                              1. re: jlafler

                                                I am with jlafler on this...you just can't discount the physiological/genetics reasons that we have a preference for some foods and not others. It isn't solely based on how and what foods parents choose to expose their children. It gets annoying when so many parents pat themselves on the back as if they are somehow superior because they have children with "refined" palates...and the parents of picky eaters have somehow failed in their parenting. You can't give all the blame or credit to parents. Yeah, parenting matters...but it isn't the only factor for determining what your kids will eat. How do you explain families with on adventurous child and one picky child? And plenty of them exist.

                                                1. re: iluvtennis

                                                  It's not that complicated. There are good strategies that tend to produce children who eat a wide and varied diet. There are lesser strategies that don't work as well. Some children are interested in trying new foods or intrinsically complain so even if your strategy is lousy you may get a good eater or two out of a brood of kids.

                                                  That said, I agree that parenting is not the only factor. It's just the only one we can control!

                                                  1. re: Kater

                                                    "Parenting is not the only factor. It's just the only one we can control!"

                                                    Very well put.

                                            2. re: dmd_kc

                                              I like some of your slightly tongue in cheek response, though I have to respond that of course kids can develop palates, and much better ones than many adults! I've seen it with own eyes, honest! If you want to tier your guests and serve them different food, then just do it. There are plenty of people who agree with you. But I don't think you've got science on y our side, at least not in any absolute sense.

                                              And waste is waste, no matter what your shoe size. Bad all the way around.

                                              1. re: Cachetes

                                                "And waste is waste, no matter what your shoe size. Bad all the way around."

                                                This is an important point. All the worries of food being wasted or people not appreciating the food can be true for adults. I've seen plenty of adults take a lot of something they don't like and wind up throwing most of it away.

                                              2. re: dmd_kc

                                                "Little ones don't have a developed palate in any sense of the word. Many of them refuse to eat anything but chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese."

                                                A self-fulfilling prophecy if I ever saw one.

                                        2. I find your perception to food, relating to price misplaced. Any beef cut may priced at, say, $3.99 per pound, but there are many different cuts to choose from. Even more expensive tenderloin, rib eye or strip will go on sale at this price....Lobster this year has been very cheap by past standards.....and cheaper than shrimp. Price is all relative, as everything goes on sale and can be enjoyed at a reasonable price point. My opinion is you simply need to shop better. Asparagus @ $6.00 per pound is outrageous....but at my local market it can be had for under $3.00 per pound any day of the week not on sale. Lobster may be $15.00 per pound at Whole Foods, but it may be only $4-5 at another supermarket.

                                          I grew up in a restaurant family and only knew three cuts of beef growing up.......Filet Mignon, New York Strip Sirloin and Flank Steak. I ate the first two, but never the latter. It wasn't till I was into my 30's before I learned to enjoy cheaper cuts of meat.....and that's only because I learned about the low and slow methods for roasting meats. Well done and Pot Roast were never part of my diet.

                                          I grew up in a restaurant family. When I was a small child, my father fed me lobster. I fed my son lobster as soon as he was able to chew. I expect my son to do the same, but if doesn't I will be there to feed the tyke lobster myself, hopefully. Kid should not be deprived of food simply based on cost. You feed them what you can.

                                          1. I remember reading an article in the NYTimes a little while ago about what top NYC chefs fed their kids. The overall message coming from the chefs was that if you want kids to develop a palate for an array of tastes and flavors, you have to serve them an array of high quality goods. Why would a parent dumb down food for their kids, just b/c the kid might whine a little once in a while for mac 'n cheese? Most kids can and do develop a palate for good food at a young age, if they are exposed.

                                            Some kids are born picky, some are turned picky by parents who cave quickly to the tiniest whimper, and others are never picky. If you are a parent with a kid who isn't too innately picky , I can't understand why you would serve them anything other than what the adults are eating? (The only exemption to this is when we go to a friend's house and they've prepared something just for the kids - in that situation, he eats what the host intended for him. At restaurants, where kids menus tend to be atrocious, we almost always order off of the adult menu for our son and bring leftovers home.)

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Cachetes

                                              I think it goes both ways. If the only things you expose your children to are hot dogs and mac & cheese, that's all they'll expect and want.

                                              We always exposed our kids to all kinds of food. That didn't always make a difference, at least at the time.

                                              My daughter at 18 months only wanted to eat the root veggies from the soup.

                                              On the other hand, my son was a very picky eater. At 3 he wouldn't eat pizza because the cheese touched the tomato sauce which touched the sausage and the crust. Seriously. He refused to eat anything green and at age 8 he threw up when I insisted that he eat a green bean.

                                              As adults, my kids have very sophisticated palates. My son is a chef. Go figure.

                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                I agree; it doesn't always make a difference. I find people who somehow feel their children are more refined or more exposed or just plain better because they eat caviar and sushi and kale quite insufferable. We've exposed our children to everything we eat, but we force nothing. I have one who prefers chicken fingers and pizza, and another who prefers fish and spinach (and won't touch pizza) They've both been exposed to the same things. And, as my son has gotten older, he has begun to expand his palate. Kids are kids. They have their own preferences that sometimes we can't make heads or tails of. It is no predictor of how they will eat as adults.

                                            2. When I am paying for it, I will serve my children pretty much anything that I am serving myself. If other people are paying the bill or providing the food I am more likely to order them or serve them less expensive foods that will still make them happy. It is just my way of being courteous to the host. I certainly would never allow my son to order the twin lobster though, even if I am paying!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                If I had had children, that would've been my policy. Our god-son was exposed to spendy foods all his life. I'll never forget how he ordered calimari and raw oysters when he was 5 at the yacht club. He has become a great cook and appreciater of good food and drink, and a delight to be with (he's 28 now).

                                                1. re: bayoucook

                                                  Last crawfish season I saw some very young kids eating crawfish, holding their own, not having mommy peel it, and really putting it away. When I was a kid, my favorite food was fish, not Mrs. Paul's, but red snapper or speckled trout, and watching my grandmother fry it up helped get me interested in cooking. I think I've been able to replicate her recipe, skin on of course. Of course, I did eat the fish sticks when I wasn't served the good stuff.

                                              2. you're not a monster. and i have kids... i'm a little shocked that your friends are serving their kids lobster, caviar and truffles that YOU ARE PROVIDING. i don't think those are foods that you have your kid "try" when they are provided by someone else. you want your kid to sample the world's delicacies? that's great, do it on your own dime. same goes for the adults too. if i am going to serve fine foods, i better not see it going to waste. otherwise, i wouldn't serve it again the next time said person showed up.

                                                as for my son (2 years old), we definitely take him out to some nice restaurants. when possible, we try to order dishes that he will also be able to try, so he's had access to some fine food. not sure what i'll do as he gets older. i doubt i'll order him an expensive entree just for him. but maybe, i'll add an appetizer or something to what i'd normally order and let him sample a little of everything. benefit for me? i get to try one more dish than i'd normally be able to.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                  For our kids it varied as they got older. At first they ate samples off our plate. Then we'd order an appetizer for them, or find something both kids liked and split an entree. Eventually (when they got to be 10 or 12), yes, they get their own entree. You grow into it. Sort of like having to pay full-fare at the movie theatre eventually :)

                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                    haha. yeah, just like with airfare. we finally have to start buying him a seat because he refuses to sit on our lap. paying for that 3rd seat really gives me heartache when that final total pops up.

                                                2. I should clarify:

                                                  I am talking about adults serving their children adult-sized portions of things they've never tried before. And in the cases I'm talking about, these were holiday potluck-ish gatherings, with close friends or family members.

                                                  My opinion is that if it's your kids and you're the one who bought and made the food, by all means serve a big helping to your li'l dumplins. But, sheesh, when I've sprung for a special $140 tin of caviar, I think I have every right to be a little perturbed when an adult at the party thinks it'd be cute to give the 5-year-old her own blini full. (It was, of course, sampled, then spit out on top of the untasted caviar so that even her parents wouldn't finish it.)

                                                  And fourunder, in the Midwest, $6 asparagus during the winter isn't rare. I was trying to convey that my budget doesn't allow me to get just anything that looks good at the market. I always try to shop local and seasonal, obviously. But there are many times I want to try a recipe and decide to hold off because its ingredients cost more than I feel comfortable with at that time.

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: dmd_kc

                                                    that's terrible... if i were invited to a party where the host was serving caviar, there is no way i would feel entitled to give my young child any of it. i mean, i'd feel incredibly special if i were treated to it, but i certainly would not feel it was right in any way to let my kid "try" it.

                                                    1. re: dmd_kc

                                                      hard to relate, because I wouldn't serve $140 tin of caviar at a potluck-ish gathering for family/close friends (actually, I wouldn't serve it all, but that's another story), particularly if my budget was tight enough that I had to think about $6 a pound asparagus. That said, since you did, are you sure the parent in question really understood the cost of the caviar? If so, and they were really close friends or family, I would have stopped and said, 'whoa: that stuff is way to pricy to give more than a taste to junior: if she likes it she can have more' (which probably guarentees that the child in question, if she/he overhears,will decide he or she does like it :-) )

                                                      Seriously, you don't like kids that much to begin with, and then you invite them to parties where you serve food that is really beyond your budget? I'd say next time be more frugal in your menu planning for all, kids and adults.

                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                        I was a guest, and the hosts would be pouring expensive champagne for those who wanted it. That was about half the group; the rest wanted Asti Spumante. The idea was that those who wanted to partake could celebrate New Years with something special. It was my first time having fresh local paddlefish caviar, in fact.

                                                        Looking back, I maybe shouldn't have splurged with this diverse gathering. This was a very mixed group, where four of us totally got a real thrill from it, but the others reacted with a "Gross -- fish eggs."

                                                        The mom served her kid probably a good half- to two-third-ounce spoonful of the caviar, out of a four-ounce tin. It was too big a serving for the context, regardless of who was eating it.

                                                        To further my Grinch cred, I'll also confess that I don't believe kids belong at most dinner parties -- or ANY cocktail parties, period.

                                                        1. re: dmd_kc

                                                          You're example is interesting. If a host were offering a choice of good Champagne or Asti Spumante I would never accept the good Champagne because obviously the host is not prepared or willing to serve it to all of her guests. I would drink a glass of iced water. I think it takes a special sort of nerve to grab the good stuff when a host offers a 'tiered' menu!

                                                          1. re: Kater

                                                            No no no -- there are people in this group who find dry champagne distasteful. They would not have enjoyed it, so the host had both, and plenty.

                                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                                              Let's not be silly.

                                                              Were the host simply trying to offer an alternative to the dry Champagne she would have served one of many terrific demi sec style wines, like Veuve Clicquot Demi Sec.

                                                          2. re: dmd_kc

                                                            "It was too big a serving for the context, regardless of who was eating it"

                                                            ==================
                                                            It really has nothing to do w/ the kid. The kid did not serve him/her self. Just another too self-involved adult oblivious of the context. That is your true complaint; not that kids should not be served "adult" food.

                                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                                              Yes, I think perhaps you shouldn't have splurged. Reading between the lines, it sounds like you may also have issues with the idea of caviar being washed down with Asti Spumante. If not, why the heck did you bring up the champagne choices? It seems irrelevant to your original post to me. (I am going to assume that the child in question did not drink any of the expensive champagne).

                                                              1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                >To further my Grinch cred, I'll also confess that I don't believe kids belong at most dinner parties -- or ANY cocktail parties, period.<

                                                                Totally agreed. Also agree with the poster who said it was the adult who gave the kid the huge spoonful of caviar who was to blame, not the kid.

                                                            2. re: dmd_kc

                                                              Just curious -- did they have any idea how expensive the caviar was? For most people, I'd guess it would be surprising to fathom a $25 tin of caviar, let alone $140. Wasting food by taking horribly large portions - especially when it's more than one's share -- is certainly inconsiderate, but I wonder if they didn't realize just how high the stakes were in this instance?

                                                              1. re: MiriamWoodstock

                                                                I had to laugh -- and agree with you.

                                                                Many people don't eat caviar at all -- and few regularly. It's fascinating what people think about it's price.

                                                                A dear, dear friend of mine was over many years ago for New Year's Eve. Now, this woman has a lot of money, but came from humble beginnings. She just hasn't a clue how much things *cost.*

                                                                We were putting together things in the kitchen to set out for the party. She asked how much the tin of caviar was. I said "about four." She said "you got that much for $4! Wow -- those little jars of Romanoff stuff in the supermarket are $6. What a bargain!

                                                                I said "Pat, have some of this" and gave her some caviar on a toast point. Her response was that the caviar was very, very delicious. I asked her if she has caviar often, and she replied that she's only had it at parties, and at a restaurant or three.

                                                                She picked up the spoon and was making herself another canape when I told her the caviar was $400 -- not $4. The look on her face was precious. "Oh, I see," she said. The poor woman kept refusing the caviar the whole night, after that, so guilty she felt about eating such expensive food. She had to be forced (with the aid of lots of Champagne).

                                                            3. Interesting topic. I think that the perception that "if you want kids to develop a palate for an array of tastes and flavors, you have to serve them an array of high quality goods" is pure BS. Case in point: my family, which consists of 5 siblings. We were very poor when we first came to this country. Canned goods were a daily staple in our diets. We frequented fast-food chians regularly. Yet, my siblings and I grew up to love foods of all kinds, high and low. Today, we eat everything from caviar and lobster to "gourmet" burgers to canned soups.

                                                              The key for us was to develop an appreciation for food in all its guises, shapes, and forms and to realize how fortunate we were never to go to bed hungry despite our limited financial circumstances (somehow, we always made do).

                                                              Sure, it's find to give a child some taste of truffles, caviar, etc. But to think that that type of exposure is what leads to a child growing up willing to try anything is a stretch.

                                                              And I read that food article one of the posters mentioned (about what chefs fed their children). All I could think of was how overindulgent and silly many parents have become concerning their children.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                I in no way meant to imply that one can't develop a varied palate as an older child or adult, even if only given canned foods as a kid. You clearly are evidence of that, as I am certain many people are. If I did appear to say that, then I am guilty of being a poor writer. However, I do think that to expose kids to a wide array of foods at a young age and not kowtowing to their every whimper for pasta or bread is a good thing, for a whole lot of reasons.

                                                                I think it is much more indulgent and silly to serve a kid a special menu different from adults I don't buy or eat crap (well, at least what I consider to be crap), so why would I buy it or serve it to my child? Of course, I don't eat cavier and truffles either b/c my budget doesn't allow it, but if I did, I'd be sure to give my kid a try (and no, I wouldn't do it on someone else's dime). In that article, I think those were parents that were generally overindulgent about food in general, and that was just the way they indulged their kids b/c that was how they indulged themselves. Maybe silly and overindulgent people in general, but not necessarily specific to their child-raising.

                                                                1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                  We believe what we want to believe. I would like to see some real evidence that exposing children to many foods in any way truly influences food choices as adults. This is a common conceit among "foodies" but anecdotal stories do not really prove anything. My own feeling is that we have very little real control over our children. You do the very best you can and the rest is luck and genetics.

                                                                  1. re: gloriousfood

                                                                    This. I grew up quite poor, and we never had anything sophisticated. I didn't have scallops until I was 20. I didn't have lobster until I was 22. I am one of the least picky people I know. I love food in all of its glory. I ate fast food, canned goods, chicken fingers, etc as a child. Do I like upscale things? Yes. But it had nothing to do with getting truffles as a child because I STILL have not actually eaten a truffle or caviar, because I am still struggling financially. Listen, I'm happy for you that your kid will eat anything and is super well behaved at the French Laundry and her favorite snack is pate and caviar with truffle oil and toast points and will probably grow up to be the youngest graduate of the CIA amd put an end to factory farming at the age of 5, but kids who grow up eating bland diets can explore as well. My sister was one of the pickiest kids ever, and she's pretty adventurous now.

                                                                    1. re: GirlyQ

                                                                      Hear hear! I too grew up on a bland diet because my mom wasn't (and still isn't) a good cook--partly due to economy and partly due to her lack of interest.

                                                                      But once I moved out and realized what was available to me even on a limited budget I was floored. Now I bake all the time (mostly cookies, hee hee) and have discovered that many "fancy" foods aren't so out of reach. Rugelach at 17.95/lb? I can make them better and cheaper.

                                                                      These habits are what I will teach my kids. If they like something, great. If not, at least they tried it. But I know better than to give a 5 year old several tablespoons of caviar. I might give him 3 or 4 little eggs on a cracker--off my own plate--to see if he likes it. And use the experience to teach him that it is truly special occasion food.

                                                                  2. Thinking about this, and reading other replies, to me it should simply be a matter of whether a person is wasteful about food or not.

                                                                    I find it bothersome if anybody takes food that they don't eat, or likely won't eat. That would include grownups and kids. (And is a big reason that I hate buffets - people are so wasteful with putting more on their plates than they eat.) So, yes, I agree that it's inappropriate to take a full serving of something new or different, with the possibility that it won't be eaten. But not because parents are picking out that stuff for their little kids, simply because it's wasteful for anybody to take, but not eat, that delicious food. And parents should know what their kids will or won't eat - and if they're not sure (just like with adults) - take a small amount first to see if you, or the kid, will like it.

                                                                    In terms of our lives, with our kids, this is how we do it. We don't buy or serve big amounts of something that we're not sure that they'll like. But we do buy foie gras that our daughter eats - one of the few meats that she'll eat! And we've had special family dinners that include truffles - but we know they'll eat it. But there are other high-end foods that they don't like, or won't eat (vegetarian), so only us adults have the filet mignon!

                                                                    And at restaurants, neither of them ever ate much of the kiddie menus, primarily because they didn't really like that kind of food. The appetizer menu has always been a good source of smaller-type dishes for them, and provides more variety than the kiddie menu.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Lexma90

                                                                      Hum. I'm confused. Was the serving on blini and a bit of caviar or a huge mound? You see, I have kids too and I have great eaters. They know that they must try everything on thier plate. I do not cater to my kids, they eat what I eat. Yes, that includes pricy items. My son loves a special cheese with truffles in it. Both kids eat Japanese food and sushi. My daughter eats clams and scallops. Both kids love salad, artichokes and most vegatables. My daughter is a brussel sprout monster. They have both been taken to very pricy restaurants and had pricy food. Sometimes on my dime, and other times on other peoples dimes. I think kids should be exposed to all different foods. Thats the way you grow and develop your taste. That said, if it's a new food, they get a taste, until I know they like it. They can taste off my plate, or someone elses, or have a small plate serving. Once they have eaten it and like it. They are allowed to order it.. Sometimes my kids share a entree, other times not. That's because they have little tummies, not becaues of the price. If they don't share, we take the leftovers home and somebody eats them for lunch. I encourage my kids to keep trying new foods. What I hate is wasted food, and I see adults doing this way, way more than any kid does. One blini with a bit of cavier? Hey no big deal. I give the kids credit for trying. By the way, thats my kids new favorite. They are begging me to make them more blini's after having them on New Years. Blini's are delish with maple syrup.

                                                                    2. I've been thinking about this and think there are a few issues at play here. Confession: I don't really like or dislike children. I see each one as a person, and thus decide accordingly.

                                                                      If we're talking about feeding kids expensive food in general, why not? If one is paying for it and this is part of cultivating a wider palate, fine. Moreover, if this is how the family eats, I see no reason to create different meals and cultivate an impression that everyone serves as a shortorder cook for the child and his or her tastes. (Similarly, I hope that children aren't little snobs in restaurants or at other people's homes-- but if their parents are big snobs, probably not much hope for little ones. And by snobs, I don't mean discerning, I mean those who denigrate everything else and view themselves and their tastes as superior to others-- and who behave accordingly.)

                                                                      If children are invited to a party where such food is on offer, I imagine that the kids should be allowed to taste or enjoy it. That said, there are some basics (that apply equally to adults):

                                                                      * Don't take more than you can eat. In this case, adult-sized portions for kids is just stupid.

                                                                      * Even if you can eat it, remember that this food is being shared, and there may be someone who likes this item as much as you do.

                                                                      * Perhaps a party with rare treats is not the place to insist that your snowflake try something new-- and if you do feel strongly that the wee'un ought to have a taste, make it a small taste, and not an adult sized portion that gets spat up or must somehow be forced on the unwilling little one.

                                                                      Sorry, but the caviar story upsets me because I see it as parents with no sense of the world beyond themselves, and chances are candidates for one of my favourite sites: http://stfuparents.tumblr.com/

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                        Exactly, the basics apply to both kids and adults. Kids are people too (and your guest) and they are entitled to the same (nonalcoholic) refreshments as the adults. If you don't want them eating the food don't invite them to the party. Or if it's a potluck don't bring expensive food.

                                                                        But I should say that etiquette aside, I would rather see a toddler happily chowing down a whole jar of caviar and loving it than a bunch of adults eat it to "be polite" or eat it only because they think they should like it.

                                                                        Also the amount of mangled, spit covered food that I've seen my bro and SIL eat because my nephew "offered" it to them, the parents should have eaten the spit out caviar.

                                                                        1. re: viperlush

                                                                          "But I should say that etiquette aside, I would rather see a toddler happily chowing down a whole jar of caviar and loving it than a bunch of adults eat it to "be polite" or eat it only because they think they should like it."

                                                                          I guess that's where I would part ways. I wouldn't like to see either of those options, but the idea of a toddler chowing down on a tin of caviar fills me with inexplicable rage-- possibly because while there is enjoyment (yea, I suppose) there is also the mindless consumption that does not take into account that this is a luxury item, and that someone (multiple someones, in fact) had to work very hard to get this to the table.

                                                                          A toddler happily chowing down on this, when this could be the same as lump roe, or even cheese sticks is a concern, and perhaps more closely linked to what was upsetting the OP. I'm all for children learning and tasting etc., but if done with such utter mindlessness of the work of others, I do wonder what this kind of thing would foster. But it sounds like entitlement and cluelessness, so yes, I suppose I can see potential for problems.

                                                                          In this regard, there is a difference between kids and adults. Although as both groups remain people, I suppose I'll have to make an even fuller disclosure: As a misanthrope, I'm none too fond of either...

                                                                          1. re: Lizard

                                                                            I was just seeing it as an issue of waste and disregarded proper etiquette. To me is a waste when a bunch of adults who don't like caviar, but are eating it because it is a luxury/status symbol. Eating something that you love, even if you don't know why you love it, isn't. I would rather see someone (even if that someone is only 5) who loves caviar eat all of it.

                                                                            1. re: viperlush

                                                                              You've added the bit about 'status symbol'-- I'm only saying the the child scarfing it down has no awareness that this is something special. Goodness knows when I get it, I appreciate it not only for the taste, but for the fact that it is a rare thing to get. Not about status-- I'm just not rich, nor are the people around me rich, so if I'm offering or others are, it's because we are giving something out of love. A child snarfing down without a thought for others or the idea of generosity is not pleasing to me-- especially as the likelihood of caviar going 'wasted' in my circle is, well, slim.

                                                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                                                I know that by the age of 8 or 9 I understood that no matter how much I loved sushi or lobster (and god, how I did love both of those!) we couldn't afford to have it more than few times a year.

                                                                                Maybe a toddler and a 5-year old can't comprehend that the item is a rarity and should be shared and valued as such, but you don't need to be a full-grown adult before you can have that understanding.

                                                                                1. re: Atahualpa

                                                                                  nor is that understanding needed to develop a taste and enjoyment for the food in question

                                                                      2. I remember when I was 6 years old, I tried Beluga Caviar for the first time. I learned about the differences between caviars and I began to experiment with what I liked and didn't like. Iranian Beluga Caviar is $400/oz, certainly considered expensive. I also realized that the way to make the perfect scrambled eggs is with extra butter, a dash of black truffle oil, and back truffles shaved on top. I've been eating lamb since I was 4 and I have grown to dislike it, I prefer meats less game-y. Lobster is incredible, though. There are pictures of me when I was 3 eating lobsters claws.

                                                                        I've been raised to appreciate quality food and quality wine. I am 14 years old and I know what my likes and dislikes are. For example, my favorite pasta is Foie gras ravioli, my favorite appetizer is Escargot du Beurre or Boluga Caviar (although I prefer Iranian over Russian), my favorite snack is Black Truffle Honey with Pecorino cheese, etc.. If you can tell, I enjoy French foods; however, I am not limited to them.

                                                                        I think that is children are going to pick at food and waste it, don't serve it to them. For me, I was introduced to food from a young age; therefore, I have learned to appreciate them. I can't remember ever throwing a meal out without trying it, I wasn't raised like that. Actually, I was punished if I didn't try everything.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: catherine418

                                                                          catherine, are you really 14? you might win the award for being the most precocious (posting) chowhound, ever. :)

                                                                          welcome!

                                                                          1. re: catherine418

                                                                            Here, here!

                                                                            I was raised like that (except at a lower price point – my parents weren't quite able to afford caviar more than very rarely). There are photos of me when I was still in a high chair absolutely loving sushi. That would be about twenty years ago when it was a much less common item. I do not think I ever ordered from a "kids" menu and I can recall a conversation with my grandmother when I was about 5 or 6 in which I was indignant that she wouldn't go with us for Chinese.

                                                                            I shocked my fair share of servers over the years too: ordering and loving uni as a child, or asking if the foie was duck or goose, asking, when they were out of Sauternes, if they had any Monbazillac or Loupiac, and so on.

                                                                          2. You may think the parents who fail to give their kids a small "taster" portion are being rude, and that may be true. However, it may also be sensible parenting choice: by giving kids a smaller portion "in case they don't like it" gives kids express permission to be picky and actually signals to the kid that they might not like something. Giving kids a regular portion of the food can be a way to signal to the kid that this food is "normal" and the kid is expected to eat it.

                                                                            I think you're being selfish. If you give food as a gift (including bringing it to a potluck), that's it - you don't have a say what people do with it (if you give someone a nice expensive bottle of wine and they make it into sangria, tough luck - hope they enjoy it and make note not to give them the spendy stuff next time). If you don't want to break out the expensive stuff for people who won't/don't appreciate it, don't do it. But once you put it out there, you should be gracious about it. Since it bothers you, just cut back and only buy the expensive stuff when you can control who gets it - like a small sit down meal where you only invite people who will appreciate the good stuff, no kids, and you get to determine how much everyone gets. Easy peasy.

                                                                            14 Replies
                                                                            1. re: akq

                                                                              I think whether you give a "sample" or a "normal" (kid appropriate of course) size depends on the context. Certainly when I have a sit down dinner party, I appreciate it when the parent serves the kid the presented food as a "normal" size, as in "this is dinner, we're having chicken, brussel sprouts, and orzo, please eat it" rather than "do you want these brussel sprouts or do you only want some chicken". However for a buffet, or where there are many choices, it kind of makes sense to limit the size of "new" food. I really hate it when parents (and I'm one) give kids leeway to not eat what has been prepared for them.

                                                                              1. re: DGresh

                                                                                I agree somewhat, but OP was angry that parents made a "whole blini with caviar" for the kid. IMO that's not a strange thing to do, unless perhaps OP's blinis are much bigger than I've seen before?

                                                                                1. re: akq

                                                                                  A spoonful of caviar is quite expensive.... so yes , IMO serving a small child their own portion is totally out of line

                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                    Really depends on the size of the spoon, doesn't it?

                                                                                    If a spoonful is a "portion" and a kid getting their own "portion" is out of line...then what percentage of a "portion" is ok to serve to the kid? Maybe 1/10 of a spoonful? So ridiculous.

                                                                                    1. re: akq

                                                                                      "The mom served her kid probably a good half- to two-third-ounce spoonful of the caviar, out of a four-ounce tin. It was too big a serving for the context, regardless of who was eating it."

                                                                                      The tin was $140

                                                                                      did you even read that?

                                                                                      1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                        Do we know how many people attended this party?

                                                                                        1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                          I read it but figured OP was exaggerating since OPs statements have been contradictory. 1/2 to 2/3 oz is approx 4-5 teaspoons...which is not a "normal adult portion," which you have elsewhere accused the parents of feeding the children. How did the mom even get that big of a scoop?

                                                                                          In any event - people always get their feelings hurt if they feel they retain some kind of ownership over a gift after it's given - the recipient never uses it quite right, etc. Either get to a place where you can contribute the caviar, etc. to the party and not feel like you have any ownership over it anymore (and thus, who eats what and how much is none of your concern) or don't contribute it to that kind of party.

                                                                                          1. re: akq

                                                                                            No, as I said explicitly, it would have been too big a portion, regardless of who ate it. It was about as much as the blini would hold, and too big to enjoy properly in my book. And again, the kid took some off the top, mushed it around, and spit it back out on the rest.

                                                                                            1. re: dmd_kc

                                                                                              Your original post talks about kids getting "adult portions" of expensive foods. Now you say this wasn't just an adult portion but much bigger than an adult portion...

                                                                                              Why would the mom take such a big scoop? Did she know what it was? Did she think there was more of it? Was she drunk? That's very strange.

                                                                                              I think your heart was in the right place - you were trying to contribute something special to the party and were hoping (expecting) people to rise to the occaision and treat it responsibly and respectfully. Didn't happen, which is a bummer.

                                                                                              I stand by my suggestion that if it bothers you so much, only serve these things in more "controlled" settings like small sit-down meals where you get to control the guest list and dish out what you believe to be the proper amount to each person.

                                                                                        2. re: akq

                                                                                          The kid ate an eighth to a sixth of all the caviar. I'm sure that there were more than six or eight people at the party.

                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                            I tend to agree with your supposition, it seems that this was not a party for four (that the tin would serve nicely) or 8 (the absolute maximum the tin could offer a taste) so it would probably have been better to buy more or save the caviar for an occasion when the buyer could feel happy about the way each grain was distributed.

                                                                                            1. re: Kater

                                                                                              I'm pretty sure that there is a line between a control freak who determines the rationing of each grain, and a person who is offended to see their valuable contribution spat all over the room by a little kid.

                                                                                        3. re: NellyNel

                                                                                          perhaps for some of us sharing with our and those we love's children is more important that spending 10 dollars more or less......

                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                            That's what I keep thinking as I follow the posts. I think there is a pleasure in introducing friends to what I love and that of course includes the children or whomever arrives under that banner.

                                                                                  2. Give them a taste first... if they really like it, then of course they can have more. And if they don't, then it wasn't wasted! The people who serve their kids large portions without knowing if they're going to deign to touch them are just being thoughtless (unless of course they then eat the kid's food themselves!)
                                                                                    I went to a buffet today and tried a bunch of foods that I didn't know if I'd like - I took one TINY taste of everything and then if I really liked it I could go back for more. I'd expect the same of a sensible parent.

                                                                                    1. Were the kids invited or not? if they were, why would you invite them and then serve them crappy unhealthy food. People are saying to feed them chicken fingers! I know a lot of parents who would never let their kids eat that junk. If you don't want to feed them like everyone else, don't invite them. Obviously it's not that you can't afford it, if you can pay for a 140 dollar can of caviar, you could have bought a slightly lower quality caviar and gotten a bigger quantity to account for the kids.

                                                                                      Obviously, they have to stick to etiquette: don't waste food, make sure there's enough for everyone,etc.

                                                                                      1. i think this quote from harold and maude is somehow apropos:
                                                                                        "Harold: You sure have a way with people.
                                                                                        Maude: Well, they're my species! "

                                                                                        ...or...maybe not apropos, but a fun quote nonetheless. kids are my species, but i'm not gonna feed 'em caviar on someone else's dime. period. if i care to enlighten them on my own dime to "broaden" their palate, then fine.

                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                          Hmmmm does the same apply to you?

                                                                                          So if you go to a buffet and there is a new food do you refuse to try it?

                                                                                          What if the child has already tried caviar and likes it?

                                                                                          And where do we draw the line, do we set up a special table that says only eat this if you have had it before and liked it (NO CHILDREN ALLOWED)?

                                                                                          At age 11 my son was a caviar connoisseur, he probably knew more about caviar than 99.9% of all humans and had tasted over 30 different types. And before the flame war starts, his interest in it was created by a school project about the life cycles of fish. He read about fish roe and there was note about caviar in the encyclopedia (for the young people we used to use these things – google it)

                                                                                          What about him, he could by looking at it, tell you what brand, and the taste characteristics behind the roe, how and where it was processed and the history. Do you deny him a taste while allowing a WISE 40 year old a dollop?

                                                                                          We cannot broad brush whole groups like this.

                                                                                          1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                            Chef, I couldn't agree more.

                                                                                            It would be so much the better to asses each child individually rather than making mass pronouncements based solely upon age.

                                                                                            1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                              i'm not gonna feed him caviar ON SOMEONE ELSE'S DIME. isn't that clear enough!? if your precocious little boy wants some caviar, of course i wouldn't deny him. but this whole thread has gotten WAY off the OP's original intent and specific parameters / circumstances (as what usually happens on these threads has once again -- surprise surprise -- happened).

                                                                                              talk about setting up straw men!!!
                                                                                              i think the usefulness of this thread has run its course. apologies to the OP.

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                alkapal, you have a point.

                                                                                                The OP was clearly discussing children under 6 only. At that age, they are unlikely to be appreciative of the offering even if they enjoyed the item.

                                                                                                I would still be inclined to offer an incredibly tiny portion to a curious child. However, the situation the OP describes is beyond reasonable.

                                                                                                The faults lie with the adult though and are largely age-irrelevant. I would be just as miffed at any adult guest who was unsure if they liked caviar taking a large portion (and this was a large portion for even the largest adult). I would probably be slightly unnerved that an adult who really liked caviar took that much of it (at least all at once!).

                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  as usual al, you are a beacon of reason :)

                                                                                                  1. re: gryphonskeeper

                                                                                                    Right. I've been reading this thread on and off and trying to pinpoint why the idea of willy-nilly giving little kids expensive food on someone else's dime bothers me. I guess I liken it to giving a kid a fur coat or a diamond. Yes, they will probably enjoy the softness of the fur or the sparkle of the diamond, but part of the experience of giving such an item has to do with the perceived value of the gesture. A little kid is just not going to appreciate it the same way so even if the kid enjoys it the gesture is wasted to a large degree.

                                                                                                    1. re: PegS

                                                                                                      I find the age issue to be the straw man. If someone - of any age - truly enjoys their food, what possible difference can it make how old they are?
                                                                                                      Is a 10-year-old's pleasure different from a 14-year-old's or a 40-year-old's and how does that matter?

                                                                                                      I also enjoy seeing others appreciate food I have created whether I spent $1 per portion or $10. Must I appreciate $140/oz. caviar more than a free, perfectly ripe peach fresh off the tree simply because one costs more than the other? The logic in equating the cost of food with the level of enjoyment escapes me entirely.

                                                                                                        1. re: rockycat

                                                                                                          The age is an issue because an adult, for the most part, can buy their own caviar. A child, for the most part, can not.

                                                                                                          1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                            Nor can a child, for the most part, buy her own chicken nuggets or hot dogs. Your point?

                                                                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                                                                  Does a child get everything he/she asks for, regardless of the price? Why is food any different?

                                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                    I think the thing the thew and others are trying to fathom is why, if there is food out on a buffet table for those present to partake in, why children should be somehow disallowed from trying it simply because they are children. We are not talking about taking an improper amount, or an even proper amount if they are not sure they will like it (adults shouldn't do that either). But why are they deemed "unworthy" by virtue of their age? This is not at all the same as being in a toy or grocery store and being given "anything they ask for".

                                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                      I agree. Just because a child can't pay for things herself doesn't mean she shouldn't receive anything more than the cheapest possible. I guess I was brought up in a family where it was important to try to include children if at all possible. We weren't left out of vacations or nice dinners just because we weren't paying. We have one steakhouse in my city that I absolutely loved going to on special occasions as a child. One of my friends even had her birthday party there for desserts because children loved it so much.

                                                                                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                        When I think of the things I deny my child, none of them are based on cost alone. In some cases an expensive item is inappropriate and therefor denied and there are plenty of things or experiences that I simply cannot afford so they would be out. And there are trips and outings that are meant for adults only, so he has a sitter. But the idea that anything that is expensive is inherently not for children is completely foreign. When I buy caviar I WANT to share it with my child. The impulse to withhold it makes very little sense.

                                                                                                                    2. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                      no. a child does not get anything s/he wants. but s/he doesn't get lesser dumbed down things because s/he is just a child, either.

                                                                                                                      but that realy is not he point of your i was referring to. you said a child doesn;t get caviar because s/he can't buy caviar. By that logic my 5 year old gets no food because, for the most part, he cannot buy any food himself. he's 5.

                                                                                                                      so the question is why does that rule apply to caviar, but not to chicken thighs.

                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                        That wasn't really my point at all. I think by many people's standards, caviar is a luxury item, while chicken thighs are not. Nor did I say that a child should never get caviar, or should be fed table scraps or something. The example is caviar on someone else's dime fwiw. If you have the money to provide your child with these things, more power to you.

                                                                                                                        I guess what i'm trying to say, is that there has to be some "tipping point" when it comes to some things. It's not as cut and dried as no money=no food. That's a bit of a stretch, and not my logic at all. There's a difference between providing someone with luxuries and providing someone with tasty food.

                                                                                                                        An adult, who earns their own money, can hopefully understand that caviar costs more money than a chicken thigh. And can perhaps splurge on these items once they've become earners themselves.

                                                                                                                        Sorry, but I seem to see far too many kids reaching college age, unable to understand why they can't have a big-screen tv, the best computer, brand-name clothing and a car and the best of everything in general. Many seem completely oblivious of the cost of living and get a rude awakening when they get out there, and sometimes expect Mom and Dad to pay up. Who foots the bill for their caviar ?

                                                                                                                        FWIW, I didn't attend my parent's parties as a child, didn't always get to go to dinner with everyone else (sometimes even when older siblings were allowed). I think by many people's examples on this thread, I was evidently abused.

                                                                                                  2. re: alkapal

                                                                                                    Alka -
                                                                                                    I'm with you!
                                                                                                    And I like the quote too!

                                                                                                  3. Well we don't do "Kid Food". If my husband and I are having something, then so is our child. But I think it is wise of you to recognize that frugality can be a large part of the equation. Often people will try to insist that there is something wrong with giving certain foods to kids or they will try to insist that kids don't like 'delicacies', when at the end of the day they just don't feel quite right about giving food that expensive to children.

                                                                                                    My child happily eats everything you've listed but we never ever gave him a hot dog and made ourselves steaks. I like him to have a broad range of high quality foods, including comfort foods, exotic foods and even the sublime!

                                                                                                    1. The kid's parents were morons letting their kid take and not eat almost 1/4 of your expensive caviar.

                                                                                                      I have and love (well behaved) kids.

                                                                                                      But, for me, the issue is more complex than little kids and expensive foods.

                                                                                                      For me, expensive food includes what I have to track down and bring back to Colombia. The nominal (cash) cost is not that important. The real cost includes the search and the hauling back home. I then share with those who know and appreciate it. I don't share my ume boshi or smoked unagi or caviar with most adults; but I'd share any of it with a kid who really appreciated it. From many threads, I've gathered that many adult hounds are really picky eaters. I wouldn't share my jamon Iberico de la pata negra with them. My daughter would get a small, thin slice.

                                                                                                      Finally, I hold back when others are serving expensive foods. I'd probably not let my young daughter have any of your expensive goods; but would give her something similar at home.

                                                                                                      And I've never given a kid (or an adult) a frickin' chicken finger! Never ever!

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                        "The real cost includes the search and the hauling back home. I then share with those who know and appreciate it."
                                                                                                        Ah, if only I weren't brain dead from marking-- that's how I could have explained matters of value and desires of 'appreciation' beyond the palate. I think that's something that also comes from moving around a lot (and thus can belong to children of a particular age): we know what it's like to crave and yearn for something that is elusive, or only available once in a while...

                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                          When I was a kid my mother had an expression that she's whisper to us if we went to someone's home for dinner: FHB. This stood for Family Hold Back. In other words, don't take more than your share. She's also use this if someone showed up unexpectedly for dinner so that we'd be reminded to leave enough for the guests.

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                            Ha ha ha. Our family uses FHB as a term too.

                                                                                                            1. re: thinks too much

                                                                                                              !!! thought this was something my mother thought up. How great!

                                                                                                        2. single parent of a 5 yr old here. i think the real issue is "adult sized portions"
                                                                                                          a kids stomach is about the size of hir fist. adult portions of lobster or chicken fingers are ridiculous.

                                                                                                          my son is not a big eater ( i wasnt either at his age) but his tastes are varied. he loves salmon and spinach, won't touch peanut butter, not into mac & cheese. He likes the occasional chicken finger, but he also likes roast chicken or a good chicken tagine. he would ratehr have no dessert than some non chocolate dessert. he has never had a big mac. he has had nori rolls, prawns and duck.

                                                                                                          in short, unlike what some people have said in this thread, he is a normal human being with likes and dislikes, preferences and prejudices. To treat him as less than that is nearly criminal.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. WOW! I am amazed this is even a question. If this is such a concern for you then don't have dinner parties with kids in attendance! If you are going to have them then be prepared to serve them whatever you are offering the adults. I do agree about the serving size though. Children need to begiven age appropriate serving sizes. If you are out to dinner and the parents are paying for the meal then what concern is it of yours anyway? As for the Cracker Barrel cheese; how horribly snotty of you! How do you know that they won't care? Have you ever asked them or given them a sample? Try offering a cheese board with a few inexpensive cheeses and 1 high quality artisan cheese. Let them experience it before you judge them unfit to consume your expensive cheese. And again as for the kids since you say you don't like them then just leave them alone!! They can probably tell and don't like you either!

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: tysmom06

                                                                                                              It's not horribly snotty to put out food your guests are comfortable with and would like to eat. The first time we had our wonderful, delightful neighbors over for a backyard cookout, they politely nibbled at some handmade sausages, roasted sweet potato salad, grilled fennel and local microbrew -- then I'm sure raided their pantry when they got home.

                                                                                                              Now when we have them over, we serve good hamburgers and local bratwurst, potato salad with mustard and sweet pickles, and cole slaw. I make sure to have lots of cold Bud Light in the fridge. Voilà! Everyone eats well, and we all have a much better time.

                                                                                                            2. Does anyone else on this thread find amazing similarities to the thread discussing guests ordering the most expensive thing on the menu? Where adults seem to feel free to looser behavior when they aren't picking up the check?

                                                                                                              Dmd_kc, I think that you are correct within this context to voice your concern. You don't seem to be objecting to kids whose face lights up at the sight of lobster and eats and appropriate size serving of it. You object to people who in your opinion are wasting the food that you work hard to serve whether in serving those who won't appreciate it, or serving too much of it to someone. (Full disclosure: I do not have kids; I judge them as they come along to me, as individuals. When I have a large party, I offer a variety of foods but no food provided specifically for kids)

                                                                                                              In this day, it seems that in my circle very few people hire babysitters since it is cheaper to take the 3-year-old to the movies, the dinner party, etc. Many threads complain about this trend when hosts don't want the stress of minors at their gatherings, but can't seem to be heard by their invitees.

                                                                                                              Kids are not miniature adults. Nor are adolescents. Biology and current neuroscience backs me up on this. They process information in a very different fashion. That doesn't mean that they aren't individuals without rights; just don't lump them together with the over 21-set with the same set of rights. Sorry to the delightful 14-yo poster to this thread, but I do mean this. If you ever come to my house, I'll happily share my pecorino and truffle honey with you. And when you turn 24, we'll discuss how much you have grown and changed in a decade.

                                                                                                              To name one difference: awareness of social pressures. Wasn't there a thread earlier that complained about a 14-year-old being taken to by her parents to and adult party (where she was not invited) and setting up station on the crab claws... to the point where other guests couldn't easily access it. This sort of behavior isn't practiced as often by adults who have seen the Seinfeld episode that details the unspoken rules about appetizers. *smirk* When the host protested, it was the host that was reproved. You can decide not to invite adults who have proven to be boors in the past, but kids are not as easily vetted.

                                                                                                              Scale. There's a difference between not providing a piece of London Broil versus not providing a lobster for an unknown child. There seems to be little distinction on this thread between adult food and luxury items. One does not necessarily equate with the other. There may be two luxury items on a table that is full of "adult" food. Just because kids have better palates than frozen pizza doesn't mean that I intend to budget a lobster tail appetizer for them... especially if there wasn't an RSVP for them.

                                                                                                              1. I think your issue might be with food waste more generally and not necessarily with children.

                                                                                                                I feel a little twinge of remorse everytime I have a dinner party and, when I'm clearing plates, notice that a guest (generally adult) took a huge helping of something I worked very hard on and/or or something that was very expensive, and then left most of it uneaten. I have a dear friend whom I love dearly and is in almost all respects one of the best human beings I know, but she's always dieting. She often takes a large portion onto her plate so it looks like her plate is full, but throughout dinner, she'll cut up all the food and shove it around, hide it in a baked potato, etc.., but not actually eat it. It is sad to me, but by now, I've learned not to give her as much of my white truffle risotto as I want her to have if I'm plating for her.

                                                                                                                I can understand the discomfort you have with children wasting good food, as well, though I don't think I would personally consider a taste of an expensive item at my home a waste.

                                                                                                                As a slightly analogous aside: on the occasions where we've been invited to dinner parties with our dog and I want to feed my pup a bit of cartilage or other food off my plate -- at home, we often give him bits of our food so long as he's not begging and the food is not very salty or spicy (or oniony or chocolate covered, etc..) -- I always ask the person who cooked whether they'd mind. Maybe as a parent, it's good practice to ask both the child whether she'd like a taste and the host or hostess whether they'd mind. That way there's less likelihood of the food going to waste.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: cimui

                                                                                                                  I have a dog, and not only would I not take her to a dinner party, I most certainly would never feed her from my plate, or even from the table for that matter.

                                                                                                                2. I haven't exactly read through all the posts here, so sorry if this has been said before, but if a parent is really keen for their child to try thr caviar - why not give them their own portion? Or a taste of their own portion?

                                                                                                                  I think it's definitely bad form for a parent to serve a 5 year old a whole entire portion of a very expensive item...
                                                                                                                  (Not at home mind you...I mean on someone elses dime)

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                    i think that i have a pretty similar understanding of etiquette. for little kids, the *parent* can take the lobster tail or the spoonful of caviar on her/his *own* plate, and at that point can portion off a small amount and give it to her/his child. if the kid eats the whole portion, the parent can replenish the taste (from the parents' plate). and repeat. yes, it's a bit of subterfuge, as the kid can still (over time) snarf whole lobster tails and ounces of caviar by this method, but the parent-as-middleman delay technique means far less expensive food waste, and that everyone at the party gets access to the expensive treats (see also the kid bogarting the crab claws at the buffet table example). the host doesn't have the shock of seeing a parent giving a kid a huge portion of lobster-- just a few small tastes over a period of time. if the host notices that the kid is loving the expensive food item, then s/he can choose to generously and with flourish present the kid with her/his own portion. or not. at any rate the parent sharing her/his own portion leads to less heart palpitations and less waste, and neither the parent nor the child looks ill mannered. of course as kids grow into adolescents they get to serve themselves from a buffet etc, but a parent should be supervising kids, portioning foods onto their plates, etc. until the children are really old enough and socialized enough to be conscious to neither serve themselves too much of any one item, nor to waste food.

                                                                                                                    1. re: NellyNel

                                                                                                                      I think that method would be perfectly acceptable, as long as the child genuinely wants to try it, and doesn't spit it out on the plate.

                                                                                                                    2. I am a mother, and I love children -- as long as they are well behaved. My only child is now a teenager, and we were blessed with great behavior throughout, so we brought her everywhere. I never put lobster on her plate and assumed she would eat it. Here's the right way to approach this: The parent should offer the child a small taste of their own food by putting a little bit of it on their plate, rather than plating a large portion of strange food for the child. That is courteous, and it does not waste the expensive food, prepared by someone kind enough to cook or order it, on a child whose natural instinct is to avoid strange and new foods. I believe that it is important to let children try things, and in fact you should push them a little, but in those circumstances a child size portion of something he or she will eat is what is appropriate to plate for them.

                                                                                                                      I do have a problem with people who believe that children who will and do eat expensive food should not give it to their kids. I have an acquaintance who once insisted that a sports team of twelve year old girls, who were the guests of honor at this particular party, should be eating the "kids's food" from the buffet, and should not be reaching for the Chicken Marsala. That was to be reserved for the adults. My instinctive answer? "Says who?" It was a buffet, and while most of the kids did prefer the chicken fingers, my daughter and a few of her friends like Chicken Marsala, so they had put some on their own plates. It's not like this woman was paying for this dinner either, she was just one of the organizers (BTW, so was I). I told her that my daughter was allowed to eat anything she wanted from the buffet.

                                                                                                                      Where this idea came from, I'll never know, But it is a really good example of why many of today's kids think that pizza and chicken nuggets are the cornerstones of a normal diet.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: RGC1982

                                                                                                                        I think it's true that kids should be exposed to all sorts of things, lest they be relegated to a life of chicken nugget cravings. It is because my parents exposed me to wide-ranging cuisine that I believe I am as willing to try new things as I am today. I also agree that it's wasteful to provide children with more than they will reasonably try/eat, so I concur that starting with "a taste" and moving on from there is appropriate. Still, I find the OPs position to be curious at best. Whether an adult, child or any other invited guest wastes any amount of food is a risk you take upon inviting them. Are you equally as outraged by the adult that finds your preparation of lobster distasteful? If so, I recommend that you either shrink your circle of invitees to those that you know enjoy the same flavors as you do (including kids), or that you stop using such expensive ingredients such that you are preoccupied with the cost of what each guest consumes or wastes. I don't mean this to be harsh, but I get the vibe that your post is motivated by your dislike for children at your affairs. If this is the case, it's totally legitimate (we, in fact, had a childless wedding), but why not limit your invitations to adults only?

                                                                                                                        1. re: jdinsf

                                                                                                                          because jd, sometimes adults who host dinner parties assume its adult only, and the invitees disregard that and bring the offspring with them. Now, I have 3 children myself (one being an adult now, the others tween and teenagers, and the youngest is autistic) I would never in a million years dream of taking them to a party, or dinner hosted by someone else, and have my children eating cavier an lobster tails. When I am paying that is another story, however it is not my hosts responsibility to expand my childrens palate at their expense. That is my job as a parent. just my .02 cents o

                                                                                                                      2. Another view: guy comes to the party, hostess opens an $800 bottle of wine, guy grabs the bottle a glugs down a third of the wine. Bad behavior? Obviously. Should the hostess feel bad for being irritated? Of course not! Well, pretty simiilar cases.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                          It is a good analogy and while the 'child' aspect spins the question a bit this discussion is really about preciously menu items (expensive, rare, hard to source) and how hosts and guests should relate to them.

                                                                                                                          At the end of the day, I feel that it is the hosts' (or contributor in a pot luck scenario) responsibility to only provide precious foods that she can purchase in adequate quantity for everyone to enjoy freely. Further, if the item is so precious to you that you know you will not be able to watch the inevitable piggy child or boorish man over consume it you must not bring it.

                                                                                                                          The reminds me of a story my mother tells about making petit fours for the neighbor ladies after moving to a new state. The look in her eyes as she tells of watching these awful braying women as they dared to eat her little cakes is comedy gold. She solved the problem by never again making something so time consuming for people she didn't love! Note that the ultimate point of the story is not that Mrs. Greenfield gorged on six petit fours because the truth is that my mother really didn't want her to have any!

                                                                                                                          I am not unwilling to support a national campaign to teach people to behave graciously as guests. Everyone should learn by age 5 that you take a tiny portion of any menu item in limited supply if you take any at all. Compulsory food education to help people recognize particularly expensive items meant to be savored in small amounts are also A-OK with me!

                                                                                                                          But I also urge hosts to save their wine or caviar for private moments. I generally allow more than 1/3 of a bottle of wine per guests at any function and I don't think the guest in your scenario drank a lot of wine. The idea that he should know that the bottle in question is meant to be rationed really expects more of the average guest than is fair. I don't serve $800 wine and never would unless I could lay in enough for my guests to drink with abandon. Instead they all get a nice wine that costs far less than that and there is no tension if they take as much as they like.

                                                                                                                          Then again, I really don't want to rob anyone of his right to come here and rant about annoying guest behavior. I expect that most 'hounds are very gracious in the moment and, like me, sometimes need to come here and go on about it afterward.

                                                                                                                          But

                                                                                                                          1. re: Kater

                                                                                                                            Please excuse my extraneous but.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Kater

                                                                                                                              Yup. We used to have a favorite bottle of bubbly to bring to people's houses -- good enough to enjoy drinking, but not so good (and expensive) that we would be upset if someone used it to make a mimosa.

                                                                                                                          2. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion on whether expensive food is wasted on children. The only run-in I have had with someone else on this issue was when a cousin (who is childless but loves children) brought me a hostess gift of chocolates that were very expensive (as she pointed out to me!). As we were enjoying them together at the table, my then-seven-year-old daughter came up and reached for one. My cousin grabbed the box away from my daughter's reach and proclaimed the chocolates too good for children! I didn't say anything then, though later I wish I had told my cousin that we have no such limits in our house and let my daughter have a chocolate. In retrospect I think I was too solicitous of my guest's comfort, at the expense of my daughter. After my cousin left, my two children had at the chocolates and enjoyed them very much. We had a good laugh about my cousin's grabbing the box!

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: browniebaker

                                                                                                                              Wow... unless the chocolates contained some type of alcohol, your cousin's behavior was completely out of line.

                                                                                                                              Firstly they were a gift to you and therefore yours to dispose of as you please.
                                                                                                                              Secondly a guest in your home shouldn't dictate what you or anyone else there does unless there is some danger.

                                                                                                                              I'd have tossed the cousin out the door then let the kids eat all the chocolate while watching cartoons.

                                                                                                                              1. re: iluvcookies

                                                                                                                                and in truth - given the small amount of alcohol tat could possibly be in a chocolate, even that isn't much of a reason for such behavior. I'd have grabbed the box back, told they cousin they were too good for her, and given the kid one

                                                                                                                              2. re: browniebaker

                                                                                                                                There is a scene in a popular children's movie, Matilda, in which the horrible teacher declares that her chocolates are "too good for children." It isn't very flattering to the person saying that.

                                                                                                                                Maybe she should have considered that you have children before selecting that as a gift for you.

                                                                                                                                1. re: browniebaker

                                                                                                                                  It's the epitome of poor behavior for your cousin to have pointed out that the gift was expensive in the first place. When the oaf grabbed for the box when it was approached by your daughter -- well, that's so beyond acceptable (in your home) that the patent display of poor manners becomes humorous. At least it was the source of plenty of good fun after cousin left and your kids had the last laugh.

                                                                                                                                2. As a parent, I will not tell my kids no when they show an interest in new foods. My girls are older now and know when trying something new, to only take a small amount to see if they like it or not. When they were younger & I was in charge of plating for them, I would make sure to give them enough for 1 or 2 bites. If they liked it they could have more, if they didn't, then they knew & no waste.

                                                                                                                                  If we are in a restaurant & my kids want to try something new, we may decide to split an entree or order an app. If they really didn't like it, I'll let them order something else, but I always praise them for trying something new. That being said, if someone one else is paying, they know they need to order something they know they like & to be respectful of who's paying. BTW, I strongly discourage kid's menu's, but that's another topic.

                                                                                                                                  OTOH, if it's at a potluck or buffet, they are encourage to try everything, regardless of what it is, expensive or not. Once it's laid out to eat, it's all fair game. Of course the rule of "take a little first to try and go back if you like it" is always in effect.

                                                                                                                                  If you don't want someone eating what you've brought, don't bring it. If you don't want someone taking too much of what you brought, prepare it another way or serve it yourself. My opinion on potluck/buffetts is that you make a choice on what to bring, for all to try. If you're bringing something that you know others will not appreciate or who will abuse it in eating/wasting too much of, then I say bring something else. Save the good stuff for those whose company you enjoy & who will appreciate the offering.

                                                                                                                                  As to the parent who offered a full size portion, yes she was out of line, but once you put the food down to serve, unless you're serving it yourself, you don't have much say over it anymore.

                                                                                                                                  Chalk this up to a lesson learned and next time make a different choice.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                    I can't add much to this excellent post except to say I'm pretty sure every Chowhound parent wants their children to share their interest in food and is probably doing the right thing by encouraging them every step of the way.

                                                                                                                                    Of course, that includes kindling an appreciation for the humble taco truck as much as the lobster dinner....

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jcattles

                                                                                                                                      Completely agree with you jcattles. If you don't like who/what/how much someone is eating or not eating of your food at a pot luck, don't bring it. Period.

                                                                                                                                    2. After reading the original post and all of the replies I thought hard about how I would respond to this situation. I have a 5 year old child myself and I like to offer and encourage a wide variety of food. However, if we are out for dinner, or at a dinner party, for which someone else is paying, I would certainly not be ordering him the white truffle risotto. I feel a more appropriate avenue would be that if he wished to try some I would give him a small serving from my own portion for him to sample. At a buffet style party I do not think it's necessarily appropriate to designate what the children can and cannot have, but I do think it's appropriate for people to be aware of what it is that they're piling on their plates and how many people are present - in any given situation from family BBQs to expensive dinner parties. I think here in this situation it's probably more resentment about how the expensive, and for the OP, usually unaffordable product is being treated. I suppose it's one thing if your budget allows you to buy (and feed your children) that product regularly, but another if you feel you're treating yourself and others. The only solution I can think of is to reserve the caviar for your own parties where you can serve it to those you feel will appreciate it (or not invite children) and take less expensive items along to the pot luck.

                                                                                                                                      1. Children like bold, simple flavors, comfort and consistency. They are lost in the subtle nuances of expensive materials, it will not broaden their horizon to give them "grown-up" food because "grown-up" food has been refined for experienced palates.

                                                                                                                                        With very young children the rule should be "would I have cooked/ordered this for the children if they were the only ones eating?" Consider if a child could even eat, let alone enjoy certain "delicacies" that many savor and save their money to purchase. Should a 6 year old find lobster and truffles inedible, no one is done a favor by forcing them to pick at the expensive arrangement and push the food around the plate.

                                                                                                                                        It's equally important to indulge a child's every fantasy within reason, and if the kid is willing to try something new it ought to be encouraged. Though I can't recall being served a meal that was "too grown up for me", there were many moments that broadened my horizon where a full serving of expensive food was not necessary for a memorable experience. I was encouraged to try everything when I was younger, and generously allowed to order what I liked at restaurants... we really should all be so spoiled.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: FullPalate

                                                                                                                                          I think the operative word(s) here are "within reason". I am not so certain that it is the biggest sin in the world to ever tell a child 'no' , or have them learn that maybe there are some things that are off-limits or "adult only".

                                                                                                                                        2. Your dislike of children comes through loud and clear.

                                                                                                                                          I have never refused my child the opportunity to eat anything he's never tried. Result: A remarkably adult 16-year-old palate.

                                                                                                                                          1. FWIW, I do have kids, but in this instance, I would let my children sample "my" plate of an expensive or novelty food, before offering them their own. And if I did give them their own, it would be a very small portion. Children do need to be exposed to new tastes, but they also need to be taught consideration for their host.

                                                                                                                                            1. So many tangents in this thread. I hate seeing food waste, whether it's an overindulgent parent or not. If anyone remembers the scene (from the book, not sure if it made it into the move) from the Joy Luck Club where the hostess had lobsters but not enough for the children and one mom not only took the best but chose the best for her daughter-- that epitomizes how I was raised--be mindful of portions, don't take the best. I went to a dinner party where the main course was crab, individual portions, for the adults, mac and cheese for the children. My teenage son loves crab so I shared mine with him. But, there were adults who didn't like crab but took one, eating only the gratin off the top. It really bugged me to see the waste.

                                                                                                                                              But, as serving asparagus out of season goes, I encourage my children to eat vegetables and it would never occur to me that they shouldn't be eating that, especially because I have no idea what it costs to buy asparagus out of season. And, my daughter loves strawberries, and I've allowed her to eat them, out of season, at dinner parties. Now, I'm left wondering if the host was resentful because they might have been pricey. My feeling is, if you don't want everyone partaking, then don't serve it, have an adults only party. I serve some nice quality meat at dinner parties, to people who couldn't care less--if it bothered me, I wouldn't do it.

                                                                                                                                              I've been slammed on the boards before for saying that I don't take some of every dish when being hosted, told it was rude. But, I do believe that food, especially expensive ones, should be enjoyed and not wasted. If I were forcing down caviar, I think that's a bigger sin than forgoing it so someone else can enjoy it--and that goes for adults and children. So, long winded but I don't think you're a monster for hating to see food wasted. The question is, what if a child REALLY appreciated what you served, even more so than some adults? Would that bother you that they ate it if they loved it?

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                                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                Oh, I totally agree that it is not impolite for me to decline foods that would be "wasted" on me. The charms of wine are simply wasted on me, and I decline. If a host keeps pressing wine on me (and often they do, thinking that I am just being polite in refusing the first time -- this can be a cultural issue), I just tell him that I would leave it untouched in the glass and that it would be a terrible waste of a fine wine. The image of the wine sitting untouched, only to be poured down the drain later, usually stops the host from insisting on pouring me some.

                                                                                                                                                Now, I know that in some cultures it's patently impolite to refuse any food offered. For this reason I once took some sweetened egg omelet at a dinner at a Japanese person's house, forcing it down. Ironically, while I was forcing down the food to be polite, my hostess was saying, "I'm surprised you took some of that. I thought you didn't like that." If it's Japanese manners to take a bit of everything offered (she had told me on an earlier occasion that it's good manners in Japan to take a little of everything offered), why would she comment on my doing so? First she serves a food that she knows, from an earlier conversation, that one of her guests can't stand (and that's all right), but then she has to point out my taking some of the food to be poilte? Weird.

                                                                                                                                              2. Hi:

                                                                                                                                                We're locking this thread as it has gotten increasingly personal and unfriendly, and that posters have had their say on the topic.

                                                                                                                                                Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                1. Y'know, I've always thought it was the epitome of hospitality to openly wonder if my guests are "good enough" for what's being served. And these distinctions are especially useful when they're based on classification rather than individual behavior. I mean, if I have preconceived notions of what some guests should eat based upon their ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation, what's wrong with serving them a different meal than the rest of the group?

                                                                                                                                                  But hard though it may be to believe, individual kids have individual tastes. It's almost like they're actual people. For example, my elder daughter has enjoyed fish eggs since she was a toddler, but her younger sister only tolerates them in small quantities. Go figure.

                                                                                                                                                  Seriously, if when hosting a dinner party you're worried about casting pearls before swine, you need to seriously reconsider your guest list. And maybe my experience is atypical, but IMO kids tend to have fewer piggish tendencies than their parents.