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Things kids think are "normal" these days...

Growing up in the prairies, sushi really wasn't even an option when I was young. I got into it in my early 20's when a few shops started to open up and I traveled to places closer to the sea.

I took my nephew, age 6, out for the day and we stopped by the grocery store and I asked what he wanted for a lunch.

"Sushi!!!"

Wtf? He can barely read but he scarfs salmon nigiri like they're bagel bites.

Saturday I'm taking him to the place where the boats go around the tables and you pull off the sushi you want. He's going to be in heaven.

Any experiences with kids these days and food you didn't even know exited when you were their age?

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  1. I grew up in the south and was fed good healthy food such as beef in any way, fried chicken, fried catfish, nose to tail porc and hotdogs as a treat - roasted on a stick over the campfire, dipped in corn batter and fried and occasionally for dinner at home just because mom was too busy to cook. But everything was good and simple and served with a healthy portion of collard greens, runner beans, corn, tomatoes and what ever else was ripe from the garden or had been canned from the season before.

    I moved to Switzerland in the 90s and both of my children were born here. Many of the foods I grew up with are simply not available here so my children have had a very different upbringing than I. I love to cook, so they have been raised on food made with love by mom but they would have no idea what fried catfish is - and probably wouldn't even like it if they did.

    About four years ago when my daughter was nine we were at home visiting my family and my dear mother had been cooking for days on end to welcome us all home for Christmas. About five days into the holiday my sweet daughter came to me and said, in front of my mother, "mom, can't we have something normal for dinner tonight like duck."

    I can tell you, duck breast are about as exotic to my mother as fried chicken is to my children. My whole family found this very amusing needless to say.

    53 Replies
    1. re: marsprincess

      Wait, all that fried food you considered healthy? It's homemade but definitely not good for you!

      1. re: spinachandchocolate

        Back then it wasn't as bad as it seems to us now. For one thing people were a lot more active. Depending on how far back you go, A LOT more active.

        1. re: ZenSojourner

          We were a super active family - we all played numerous sports and of course constantly chased each other around the yard as kids will do. Also, what is wrong with a little bit of fried chicken when you have heaps of garden fresh vegetables to go with it. When I was growing up we were only allowed McDonald's or Burger King about once every four or five months as an extra special treat. I have the feeling that today once a week is the norm for a lot of families.

          Growing up on home cooked meals is the best!

            1. re: marsprincess

              Heck, I had discovered sushi, before I had my first McDonalds, and about the time of my first Burger King. Fried food, with lots of greens, was the norm, way back THEN.

              When I was growing up in the Deep South, the only kids, who might have been considered "overweight," even by today's standards, were the kids, who did not play sports outdoors, and dived into the desserts. I only knew one, in my childhood, and he fit the bill in all respects - no exercise, and a real fan of the dessert cart.

              Times have changed.

              Hunt

              1. re: marsprincess

                McD's once a week? Sorry to disillusion you but there are LOTS of families that eat McD's once a day, or more. I am not saying it's the norm, but far more prevalent than most chowhounds are able to imagine.

                When I grew up Chinese, Pizza, and Fried Chicken were exotic. Exotic being anything mom didn't cook. Now kids grow up eating Pho, Penang Curry, Philly Steak Sandwiches, calzone, chimichangas, vegetarian chili, chinese chicken salad, and the aforementioned sushi... and thats just from the food court in the mall.

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  A few years ago we hosted an orphan from the Phillipines for a month and our days were so overscheduled that we ate McD's several days a week. She actually ended her time here asking for no more McD's, we had it so much. Sad! She even wanted to learn to cook, and I wish I had time to teach her, but our required schedule left no time. But yes, even though that was a highly unusual situation for us, I think it is the norm for a lot of families.

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    I agree. McDonalds was an extreme treat for us. Our family only went out to eat maybe once or twice a year, maybe 3 times. We didn't have bring home pizza. We didn't have KFC.

                    I can remember going out to get ice cream as a dessert treat after dinner. But not going out for dinner. My family just couldn't afford it, or didn't want to spend the money on it.

                    1. re: Atochabsh

                      I don't remember ever eating at McDonald's as a child. The childhood memory that McD's brings to mind ... I'm a PK, and I remember this man came by the church asking for food. There was no food pantry (and rare for anyone to ask in suburban Michigan), but I remember various items being rounded up, like crackers and peanut butter. On the receiving end of this bounty the man wailed, "But I wants some McDonald's!!!" And my father broke it to him that *we* didn't eat at McDonald's either.

                      1. re: foiegras

                        I grew up in the 70s/80s and I never ate fast food as a child. I mean never - not until I had my driver's license. My parents took us out to eat at good restaurants about once a month or so, we had the occasional chinese take out, and once in a while my mom picked up these awesome sub sandwiches from a local shop - but that was it. Otherwise, everything was prepared at home.

                        1. re: flourgirl

                          I grew up in the 80's and 90's, but was a weird, weird kid. We probably had fast food once or twice a week, as we lived in a tiny town, and would drive to the nearest city often for my swimming/gymanstics/other random stuff lessons, so there wasn't always time for dinner. But I was a strangely particular kid - I say strangely because I wouldn't eat hamburgers, french fries, chicken nuggets, and would rarely eat pizza. My fast food meal as a child was almost always a baked potato with cheese and bacon from Wendy's, or rarely, a chicken drumstick from KFC. The only time we ever went to McDonald's was for an occasional ice cream cone or fried apple pie.

                          I can't recall the last time I was in a McDonald's. I think that we stopped on a long trip to use the bathroom, and DH got a hash brown patty...I had nothing.

                            1. re: mpjmph

                              Wow, when did that get its own
                              acronym? I guess that makes me TSOAST.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                The acronymn has been around for a while. My grandfather was a PK and occasionally referred to himself as such. He was born in 1896 in Sioux City, Iowa. In 1900 when my great-grandfather, a Baptist minister, got a call to be the preacher at a church in NW Wisconsin they put all their belongings into a covered wagon and travelled that way because they could not afford to go by train.

                                1. re: John E.

                                  Hmm...did he paint PK on the side of the canopy on the wagon, then?

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    I don't know but I doubt it since he was 4 years old.

                        2. re: Atochabsh

                          when I first came to the US at 11, somehow my cousins thought taking me to a real American meal = Burger King. I thought the burger was the nastiest thing on earth and wondered out loud why would anyone one want to eat this piece of torture ?? They urged me to put lots of ketchup in it, which resulted in even more insults to the national dish from me lol... 10 years later for some reason I walked into a BK, ordered a whooper, scarfed it down in less than 4 minutes and thought it was the best buck spent. That was my 2nd time eating a burger. In between, maybe my family ate out once a year, I had no idea what Arby's and Jack in the Box or KFC tasted like until I got a job at 17 and had a few bucks to spare. And even then, it was so ingrained in my immigrant mindset that eating out = extravagance. Nowadays my kid says "let's go eat out" as many times as she likes, and the thing is, I don't feel particularly bad about us eating out 2-3x/week, because we are in the SF Bay area, where we can actually find good delicious and nutritious food in local restaurants.

                          1. re: idlehouse

                            Out of curiosity, from what country did your family emigrate?

                            A few years ago I had a Ukrainian cousin do an internship with my company (she was 23 going on 17 but that's a different story). She did not like hamburgers but did not like beef in general because back home she never ate beef because it was too expensive. Her extended family lived in a village with all kinds of animals raised for eating but they never killed the cow. Even after it quit giving milk they sold it to a butcher and used the money to by a young heifer. They did the same if the cow gave birth to a bull calf, it was sold for somebody else to feed until it got big enough to butcher. Nataliya did eat fast food, but ate chicken sandwiches and not burgers. I did get her to try White Castle before she left however.

                      2. re: marsprincess

                        Goodness, there are lots of kids now who eat McDonald's for dinner three times a week. No kidding.

                        1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                          I would have to agree that many eat McDonalds more than we probably know because of the pressures on single parents, divided families, and multiple parent families that have multiple jobs, demands, or limited access to better options.

                          Moreover, although I don't eat McDonalds (have not had it in years); I grew up on it twice a week because I had a parent that (most unfortunately) took us there instead of attempting to cook for us.

                        2. re: marsprincess

                          Wow, we must be from the same part of the country: same for me. We didn't even have a McDonald's until I was 17. Lots of fresh vegetables and fruits along with those fried or baked or grilled entrees. So much of "this" or "that" is bad for you, but my grandparents and great-aunts-and uncles lived to be in their 90s. Some experts are finding that fried foods aren't as bad as they thought, eaten in moderation. But yet, we were busy, active people back then!

                          1. re: bayoucook

                            I swore off of McDonald's (and all fast food) in the 1980s. One of the best things I ever did!

                            1. re: sandylc

                              I in the late 90s. hven't missed it one bit. (Husband still eats there once a week for lunch). Our mother HATED the place and I think we went there once or twice a year, if we begged hard enough. lol

                      3. re: spinachandchocolate

                        read it again -- it was "a healthy portion of (vegetables)" -- as in a large serving.

                        MarsPrincess never said anything about the fried stuff being healthy.

                      4. re: marsprincess

                        What, no collard greens in Switzerland? Barbarians!!! What about deep-fried lard? Guess that is not on most menus either... [Grin]

                        Seriously, I hear you. We travel extensively, but our palates are rooted in the Deep South. When we travel back to NOLA, we can only do the cuisine for a few days, before we internally revolt. Though probably older than your mom, I do understand what your children are saying. After a week, we feel similarly.

                        Still, when sitting around the house, rather late in the evening, we'll look at each other, and ask in unison, "what do you want for dinner?" Usually, that answer, also in unison, is a fried-shrimp po-boy!

                        Hunt

                        PS - I was probably in my mid-20's, before I experienced sushi. At first, I thought that it was "cut bait." Now, things are very different.

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Mr. Bill (of course I remember my manners), there might not be deep-fried lard on the menu, but especially in the German-speaking parts of Schweiz you'll find schmaltz -- a little cup of bacon grease (often with the little crunchy bits) served alongside the bread. Can't stand the stuff myself, but I know lots of people who'd do backflips for it.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            Schmalz is awesome on bread, especially Griebenschmalz that has crunchy onions in it. I'm more of a goose schmalz fan myself, which is really just 90% goose fat & 10 % pork fat. Great for cooking at high temps. Wish goose fat were as readily available in supermarkets as it is here (albeit with the addition of the pork).

                            1. re: linguafood

                              I'll line up for nearly any other comestible in the Swiss and German repertoires (my heritage is from Saarland and the Oberbaum), but that one escapes me. The onion one *might* tempt me, if I'm well into the beer.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                The key is to not shmear an inch on the bread. Usually, it's spread very thinly, and you get a schmalzy, crunchy, smoky & oniony kinda flavah.

                                I have to admit I don't eat it often, and afaik, it's more of a Northern German thing.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  We always call gribenes "Jewish cracklings" as in pork rinds and cracklings. Both the Spouse and I grew up on schmaltz and gribenes and you just can't make better mashed potatoes than when you use schmaltz. And we stand over the pan of rendered fat and fight each other for the gribenes. We freeze the schmaltz and use it sparingly for cooking. The gribenes would be great in matzah balls but they never last long enough.

                                  Oh, and our kid doesn't get it at all and won't touch the stuff. Her loss.

                                    1. re: rockycat

                                      Schmaltz RULES.
                                      (but I do sometimes make my matzoballs with pigfat)

                                      1. re: rockycat

                                        My mother used to render chicken fat and onions to make schmaltz. She called it "liquid gold". She's gone now, and it's only recently I realized her little secret - she NEVER shared the gribenes with her children!!!

                                        1. re: CookieLee

                                          When I was a kid my father had a large garden. He raised asparagus. He also collected wild asparagus from the ditches between our home and his office which was located about three miles out of town on a gravel road. As a child they never attempted to get their children to eat asparagus. As an adult, I asked my mother about this. She simply stated that there was not enough asparagus to share and since we didn't complain, she wasn't going to bring it up ; )

                                          More recently, I learned through Ilan Hall of Top Chef fame about roasted chicken skins. Frequently, I will buy chicken thighs and skin them and bone them out. In the past I made stock from the bones and the skins. More recently I have roasted the chicken skins after learning about it from Ilan. They are great in sandwiches and just to eat as a snack. Now I wonder what happens to all of the chicken skins from the boneless, skinless chicken breasts sold at the grocery store.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            It's long gone from the chicken that arrives pre-packaged -- but it might be worth asking if they actually cut and package their own....they'd probably let you buy it for a song -- or make it a gift!

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              Yea I know that many of the oackages of bonelee, skinless chicken comes prepackged. That was kind of my point. I wonder what happens to the skins? I suppose it either goes with the bones to be made into stock or it is turned into pet food. I have already thought to ask my local meat cutter what happens in their department.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  LOL. I'd if it came down to that, I'd sooner give my pets the breast meat, and keep the skins for ME. ;-)
                                                  I always preferred the thigh meat. But the supermarkets are packaging that too now mostly without the skin. I now buy my chicken in the Latino and Asian markets in my area...it's _much_better quality (and fresher) and they don't remove the skin or bones.

                                                  1. re: The Professor

                                                    Both Sam's Club and Costco have boneless, skinless chicken thighs for $1.99/lb but my thought is I don't wish to pay more and then be deprived of the skins and bones. I guess they sell it that way for oeople who wish more for convenience than they do for people who really cook.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      O rly?

                                                      I keep boneless/skinless in my freezer -- makes a great addition to pasta, pizza, stir fries, etc - I have a busy life, and I prefer to not sling frozen cardboard meals - so having chicken on hand means I can REALLY COOK REAL FOOD quickly and easily.

                                                      I seriously, seriously doubt I'm alone in this.

                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                        My point was not to offend. However, you must have days when you are able to cook otherwise you likely would not have enough of an interest in cooking to be on this site. I prefer to buy chicken on the bone with the skin on. It takes only a few minutes to bone and skin the chicken. (By the way, we never have chicken breasts on hand because we much prefer thighs because they are not as prone to drying out or ending up with a spongy texture).

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          Read your last sentence again to see how someone could have taken offense.

                                                          Sweeping generalizations will raise someone's hackles every time.

                                                          There are lots of us who could be pros if we wanted...but real life means that not every meal is a five-course gourmet affair.

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            Someone can only take offense if they choose to. I happen to believe that it makes a lot of sense to pay 1/2 price on chicken pieces and also get the skin and bones to make chicken stock. That's my only point. Why pay double (or more) since it's so easy to remove the skin and bones, even if you choose to throw it away, you're still saving a lot of money. I know that I could remove the bones and skins off say 4 chicken breast halves in about 4 minutes.

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              Plus cooking chicken breasts with the leaving the skin and bones on makes them less prone to drying out, and adds more flavor (though I'm with you re: thighs, which I buy 90% of the time).

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                            I really cook (I cook without recipes, always have), but I honestly don't know how to bone a raw chicken. I don't know how to cut one up either.

                                                            My grandmother grew up on a farm, and she always started with whole chickens. I don't remember ever seeing my mother bone chicken either. I don't think she cooked with it much ...

                                                            In my book, anyone who's starting with raw ingredients is likely to be doing real cooking ;)

                                                            1. re: foiegras

                                                              Go buy a couple of whole chickens, take a sharp boning knife and follow the youtube videos below. It's not as difficult as you probably think it is.

                                                              ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd8ZRMAHZyU

                                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAekQ5...

                                                              On Top Chef Season 3 Hung cut up about five chickens in about a minute.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                That's how I learned just a few months ago. I feel very proud of myself when I do a good job and I love the feeling of using up the whole chicken for the meat and bones for broth.

                                                                1. re: dmjordan

                                                                  I started to use this technique a few years ago, mostly with small turkeys. I have hopes of putting together a turducken at some point. I just have to get a duck without spending $30 at the grocery store. I have not gone waterfowl hunting in over ten years even though there are ample places where we could go hunting within an hour of home.

                                                                  1. re: dmjordan

                                                                    Good for you! I must say, though, that of all the things I haven't done and would like to do, this is not on my list.

                                                                2. re: foiegras

                                                                  and somehow, I'm guessing that commercial kitchens don't typically break down their own chickens.

                                                                  It's okay, foiegras- - if the pros "really cook" with precut parts, I figure we do, too.

                                                                  The fact that I'm not standing over a chicken carcass does not define what I do in the kitchen as "real cooking" -- it means I have opted to not spend the time and effort to do something I really don't need to do **today**, nor to have the waste involved if I know I'm not going to have the freezer space or time to make stock in the immediate future.

                                  1. While I'm only 28, I still catch myself saying/thinking "well in my day...". I have a 5 year-old cousin who goes crazy for olives, feta, smoked mussels, oysters, marinated garlic, bresoala, prosciutto. He's as happy as a pig in poo with a plate of antipasti. My parents never restricted me to "kids food" at all, but some of these things were either not widely available in NZ or very expensive, so I find it funny that his favourite foods at 5 are things I only really started trying in my late teens.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ultimatepotato

                                      Just wait a few years. "In my days," will crop up even more often.

                                      My mom would refuse to let me shop for groceries with her, as I would add smoked oyster, octopus, clams, and the like. The Reese brand foods always found their way into the cart, just for me. I sneaked a small jar of caviar in once, and enjoyed it with lemon and crackers, much to my mom's chagrin. Same for imported cheeses, though in Mississippi in the 50's, there were not THAT many options.

                                      Hunt

                                    2. When I was a kid, oranges and bananas were still a big deal, things you couldn't get just any old time. Oranges in particular were a huge treat. If it didn't come out of our garden we generally couldn't get it most of the year. Most everything was locally grown. Eggplant was exotic and weird. "Idaho potatoes" were even fairly exotic critters, reserved for baking, which was seldom done because you needed the oven for roasts. "Chinese" restaurants with Polynesian themes were everywhere, but they didn't really serve Chinese food, they served American food with Chinese themes.

                                      It was strictly meat and potatoes. I was in college before "authentic" Chinese restaurants started popping up. We got Indian ingredients at the one Chinese grocery in the area (really an Asian grocery but everything Asian back then was sort of lumped up into "Chinese"). We were lucky to have that - other people were driving 2 hours to get Indian groceries, or having relatives in Chicago or NYC mail them "care" packages.

                                      Nevertheless I think the kind of thing you are describing goes along with having affluent parents who can afford such expensive stuff as sushi and olives and smoked mussels and prosciutto and what not. If you can't afford to buy the stuff, the kids won't be exposed to it. I can't afford prosciutto for me, let alone to feed to a 5 year old.

                                      18 Replies
                                      1. re: ZenSojourner

                                        I just remembered, of the 2 "Indian groceries" in a city 2 hours away, one was absolutely filthy (even my ex, fresh from India and with a fairly high tolerance for "mess", didn't want to shop there), and the other was in some guys basement. We just did without a lot of things for about 20 years, until Indian groceries gradually became more common (or at least less uncommon). Hence my repertoire of Indian dishes actually expanded drastically several years AFTER we were divorced, LOL!

                                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                                          Certain things like sushi aren't so expensive anymore. My friend's 5 year old is a great eater- he'll try anything once. He loves sushi but doesn't really go for the fish unless it's given to him. For a school lunch, my friend will buy a sushi lunch special and pack it in his lunch the next day.

                                          Same kid loves fish- any kind cooked any way. He couldn't care less if it's sushi grade salmon or frozen tilapia fillets. Even if he were eating super expensive food, he's eating small amounts and it's alongside other dishes.

                                          I don't think it's the cost that leaves kids unexposed... but the availability.

                                          1. re: cheesecake17

                                            Uh, he loves sushi but doesn't go for fish? ::Scratching head here::
                                            Could you elaborate on what you have in mind when you say "sushi"? Do you mean the veggie rolls only? (Veggie makimono) Or a California roll with veggies only? I presume you don't mean nigirizushi?

                                            1. re: huiray

                                              i think you just answered your own question. sounds as though he prefers his fish *cooked* so he tends to opt for vegetable maki when eating sushi.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                I guess. It's just that "sushi", without qualification, refers to ALL the stuff cited and more, especially nigirizushi. I get slightly bothered when folks say they like "sushi" when what they really mean is ONLY the rolls (makimono) and maybe even then only Western-style uramaki.

                                                1. re: huiray

                                                  I love Korean sushi with vegetables and without raw fish. I don't know what else to call it but sushi. But, I also like the other types of sushi and sashimi.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    Kimbap (or Gimbap). Even then fish is used but kimbap uses more meats and many veggies and pickles, yes.
                                                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gimbap
                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4610...

                                                  2. re: huiray

                                                    I get slightly bothered when folks say they like "sushi" when what they really mean is ONLY the rolls (makimono) and maybe even then only Western-style uramaki.
                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                    oh i'm with you on that, but i get more annoyed with adults who do it...when it comes to the kids i'm just happy to see them keeping their minds open to food beyond chicken fingers, burgers and pizza. i had a friend back in my NYC days who would say she "loved" sushi and then only eat California rolls...i refused to take her to any of the really good places because i didn't want to be blackballed ;)

                                                    BTW, don't you mean makizushi? i thought a makimono was a decorative Japanese scroll.

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      "BTW, don't you mean makizushi? i thought a makimono was a decorative Japanese scroll."
                                                      ---------
                                                      Context.
                                                      Makimono can mean either sushi rolls or decorative scrolls. In my understanding, makimono ("variety of rolls") is synonymous with makizushi ("rolled sushi") when talking about sushi.

                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                        interesting! thanks for the language lesson :)

                                            2. re: ZenSojourner

                                              Not so! I'm a dirt-poor freelance writer, and my kids get all of the above, plus other foods that many would regard as exotic. Prosciutto & smoked mussels are pungent enough foods that a tiny bit is enough, especially if there are other (cheaper) dishes available. I live just south of Tarpon Springs (highest Greek-American population of any city) so, good olives can be had for just a few dollars a pound. Sushi is cheap when you make it yourself. We also have access to Mexican, Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern markets for affordable ingredients.

                                              We don't have a lot of money for traveling, fancy cars, or a big home, but, I can spend a few dollars and cook a world class meal. These are very affordable luxuries, and I'm helping my kids develop sophisticated palates.

                                              1. re: MsRetro

                                                I was saying the same thing earlier. I live in Orlando of all the tourist chains and burger restaurants around that cost more than the wonderful Indian lunch buffets we have for 10 bucks a piece.

                                                Entree's for lunch at a favorite thai place of mine start at 6 dollars and soups and salads are just around 2-3 bucks.

                                                and sushi while can be expensive most kids enjoy the less expensive rolls, ie. California roll, miso soup, and ginger salads. You can also pick up california rolls at a publix or whole foods which is decent enough if you are strapped for cash.

                                                We have a Vietnamese district here in Orlando where you can get a big bowl of Pho for 6 dollars. I would tell a kid that it is the Vietnamese version of a noodle soup and the Banh Mi's are only 3 dollars and very filling.

                                                It's not really about money it's about how much time a parent is interested in spending on food experience, and nutrition. I believe one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the knowledge of nutrition. It will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

                                                I don't have any kids yet. Still enjoying my newly wed years but when I do they are going to be fed home cooked meals and on nights or lunches we go out the word Mcdonalds will never be used.

                                                I want them to figure out what real food taste like and what they like. And we are buying real cheese damn it, not kraft cheese product! lol Okay I'll step off my soap box now.

                                                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                  "I don't have any kids yet. Still enjoying my newly wed years but when I do they are going to be fed home cooked meals and on nights or lunches we go out the word Mcdonalds will never be used. "
                                                  -----------------------------
                                                  I know this is an old post, but I wanted to say that the above... it *is* possible and stick to your guns when you do have kids. Our dd hasn't eaten in a McD and she's 9. When people say things like "You're denying her a childhood experience" I have to wonder what that experience is... bad food in a dirty restaurant? I usually reply, "No, I'm saving her from it." And yes, I have an adventurous eater who enjoys a variety of foods of all ethnicities and preparations. I truly think that children should get the chance to experience all types of foods, if they are willing, before fast food destroys their palates with overly-salted processed frankenfoods. I feel sorry for kids whose dining out experiences are just fast food and children's menus.

                                                  1. re: velochic

                                                    totally agree. What childhood experience does nasty fast food give? I don't get that either.

                                                    My 2 year old nephew was given a trip to the McDonald and he loved the fries. My mother told my sister not bring over mcdonald fries for him that she would keep a potato at the house and make him fries if he asked for them.

                                                    So now when he comes over and it's a day he wants fries, he picks up the potato and says Fries! Fries!

                                                    It made me wonder what other 2 year old knows what fries are made out of? lol.

                                                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                      McDonalds and its like are a sometimes indulgence for my 9 year old daughter (less then once every-other month), and as such I feel that it is fine. In a way it teaches her about moderation and that the occasional treat or indulgence is fine, but that more responsible and varied dining is a better choice.

                                                      I mostly agree with velochic that kids dining out experiences need to be more then just fast food and children's menus, and too many cook like that at their home for their children. My daughter in addition to enjoying the occasional trip to a fast food restaurant also enjoys a variety of foods and has know how to behave at a white tablecloth restaurant for a few years now.

                                                      1. re: chazzer

                                                        *gosh*

                                                        Another fine example of "all things in moderation".

                                                        Good for you, chazzer (and I mean that sincerely).

                                                    2. re: velochic

                                                      I hate to nitpick but your average fast food joint is probably cleaner than the typical "ethnic" restaurant. McDonalds and other chains of that ilk have exceedingly high hygiene regulations. I rarely venture into a fast food place but whenever I do I always notice how clean the place is.

                                                      Taste-wise, fast food doesn't appeal to me but once or twice a year, usually at airports, I'll have a small burger and fries. It was my son who pointed out that it's no more unhealthy than a wide range of popular "ethnic" dishes.

                                              2. I remember when you couldn't get strawberries in January.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                  That is by far the biggest change I've seen happen in kids over the years. Not just strawberries, of course, but seasonably appropriate produce. The handful of basic fruits and vegetables that every supermarket now carries year round also seem to be the only ones kids are familiar with. We used to have so much more variety back when you had to eat what could grow near you at that time of year. You might have less variety in the market at one time, but over the course of the year there were dozens of different kinds of fruits and vegetables, many of which I haven't seen outside of the farmer's market in decades. And it also means kids aren't exposed to the preserves we used to live on in the coldest months. All those wonderful jams and pickles, back when pickles didn't just mean cucumbers.

                                                2. The buffet concept. Although I'm not a fan of buffets, they weren't an option when I was growing up. Family buffet is not only common place but the staple for many and a financial godsend for many parents who enjoy eating out with their kids.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    You just reminded me of my first buffet type restaurant. In the mid 60's my mother took my 3 sisters and me to a 'smorgasbord' restaurant while we were on a 10 day train trip from LA north to Vancouver and across southwestern Canada. I don't know what city we were in, but it was a Scandinavian themed restaurant.
                                                    I was 9, and this groaning board was a wonder! And it was the first time I'd heard the word 'smorgasbord' so I felt very worldly knowing a new big word.