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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.


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.


              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!


                        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.



                                                              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.


                                    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.

                                                  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."
                                                      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


                                                        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.

                                                  2. When the daughter (about age 5) of some Major League Foodie friends first went to school, her Dad asked her (naturally because he owns a restaurant & a high end gourmet food store & is obsessed with food) what did they give her for lunch. When asked about dessert, her reply -- this is a kid who basically spent her childhood in 5-star restaurants -- was: "Sorbet, only they called it sherbet..."

                                                    1. I can only speak from my own experience, but there are things being marketed today that seem, if not "normal," than at least not "a.b.normal" from what my kiddoos saw. I'm talking Crustables, Bagel bites, etc. they never showed up on our table, but oh how they tried.

                                                      14 Replies
                                                      1. re: mamachef

                                                        Right. What's with those Crustables things? Who thought they were a good idea?

                                                        1. re: somervilleoldtimer

                                                          Some parent got sick of cutting the crust off sandwiches. The whole thing is depressing on so many levels.

                                                          1. re: melpy

                                                            Yikes that is pretty lazy I just googled crustables because I've never heard of them before. They don't even look appealing.

                                                            1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                              When my kid was younger she wouldn't eat the crusts from her sandwiches so I spent about an extra 5 seconds each morning cutting them off. The chickens really appreciated them as a treat. Once we had to go out of town and the kid stayed overnight with some friends. I told them that she'd be happy with any kind of sandwich they gave her, just please cut off the crusts. Well, the husband doesn't believe in catering to kids like that. You eat what you're given and that's that. So it seems that my child uncomplainingly ate out a perfect circle from the center of the sandwich and brought the rest home. So which version gives you less waste? Seriously, it's an extra 5 seconds - no more.

                                                              1. re: rockycat

                                                                But, did they have chickens to feed the crusts to? :)

                                                                My husband is the same way, kind of - after a certain age (when their teeth can easily cut through the tougher crust, maybe 3) they don't get their crusts cut off. Then we present the whole thing, cut in half or fourths, and let them choose what to eat. They are allowed to throw the crusts away, though.

                                                                1. re: rockycat

                                                                  This is why we cut off the crusts of my daughter's sandwiches for several years -- it wastes a LOT less of the sandwich than when she ate "around" the crust. We could slice off just the thinnest section and she'd eat the whole thing. Otherwise, she'd leave more "inside" left to avoid the crust. We don't cater in most ways -- our kids eat what we eat -- but I avoided the waste. AND, since we love Marion Cunningham's wheat crumb pancakes -- we saved up those crusts (cut before the sandwich was made) in the freezer and used up every bit! So we got a bonus out of it.

                                                                  1. re: eamcd

                                                                    Smart use of crusts! My boys never knew crusts could even BE cut off, so I never had to deal with that issue, but I never heard of anyone actually making it a benefit.

                                                                    Now, how about the recipe for those pancakes......?

                                                                  2. re: rockycat

                                                                    While the possibility of 'waste' may trouble you, II wouldn't rush to disparage this parent who will not take the 'extra five seconds' for your child's demands. I think that this is a great opportunity for your child to learn that the world does not always accommodate a person's wishes. It's healthy to hear 'no'. Sometimes, parents so wish to protect their children from frustration or disappointment, that they stop the children from growing up. Not saying that's what you're doing, but that's my perspective on this story.

                                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                                      Some things are worth taking a stand on, others are not. To me, getting rid of the crusts so that lunch gets eaten is not worth making an issue over.

                                                                      1. re: rockycat

                                                                        Not talking about your practice here. More responding to your dismay that another parent wouldn't do as your daughter wished.

                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                          I'm not really trying to prolong this throught, but I don't see how this request is much different from saying, "Please give her any flavor of yogurt except cherry," only to discover that she was repeatedly given cherry yogurt. This was neither a demand nor unreasonable request. I would consider myself obligied to honor a polite request from any guest in my house, age notwithstanding. We expect children to make accomodations, why can't adults, too?

                                                                          1. re: rockycat

                                                                            I can definitely see both sides. As a parent, I wouldn't want to serve my daughter's friend something she didn't like.

                                                                            However, when I was a child, I was taught that when I was a guest in someone's home, I'd eat what was served to me and be grateful for it.

                                                                2. re: melpy

                                                                  As a kid, the crust was my favorite part of the bread. Still is, actually.

                                                            2. What a great thread. It makes me smile knowing that some children are being exposed to more and more foods.

                                                              I grew up with a mother who was allergic to shellfish and a father who didn't like much seafood except for fish. We lived in central Florida and my uncle is a hunter. As a child I had eaten gator and frog legs but it wasn't until I was 20 that I had my first experience with Lobster, clams and mussels.

                                                              The sushi thing always got me as well. I will see children dining with their parents and It just amazes me. Sushi has become wildly popular and trendy and children want to do what the cool kids are doing.

                                                              A friend of mine has a daughter who carries a bento box to school instead of a lunch box. Sure sometimes it's PB&J but other times it's more exotic. She also started buying ginger dressing for her daughters salads because after having it at a Japanese restaurant it became her daughters favorite dressing.

                                                              I didn't know what hummus was when I was a child but I see kids scarfing it down now. Another favorite for kids that I was never introduced to as a child is Phad Thai

                                                              As far as sushi goes it can be expensive but there are plenty of places that aren't The mom and pop Thai place I go for lunch where the food is wonderful and large portions and sometimes I have to worry if I made the 10 dollar minimum so that I can pay with a credit card.

                                                              Here in Orlando near the very touristy International Drive are countless Indian Restaurants offering buffets which also include mango ice cream for about 10 dollars.

                                                              I think these are very reasonable. Perhaps some of it is due to the Food Media and the food networks introducing more cultralcentric foods.

                                                              My grandma who is very southern sits and watches the food network all day and when my mom takes her grocery shopping she's picking up orzo pasta for a recipe Giada makes, and has been searching for a greek recipe that Kat Cora had made. She's also now curious about Indian food because of the next food network star. While these things are not authentic to the cultures they are helping your average American become introduced to them.

                                                              7 Replies
                                                              1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                YES! Hummus! No one had ever heard of such a thing when I was growing up in a small town on the prairie, and now I almost don't know a kid under 10 who doesn't eat it. A few picky exceptions, of course.

                                                                1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                  I know lol. It's a good way for them to eat carrots and little dippers but I was surprised because I could see kids saying yuck! if anyone told them the base of hummus is made out of chick peas.

                                                                  1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                    I've seen kids eat hummus like it's going out of style. With vegetables, pita chips, crackers or with a spoon... for some reason it appeals to kids. I could see kids reacting negatively hearing that it's made out of chickpeas... but then again I know kids who eat chickpeas by the bowlful.

                                                                2. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                  kids dont eat sushi because it is trendy or cool. they eat it because they like. the same can be said for everything else.

                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                    I never said children only eat sushi because it's trendy or cool, what I meant is that they are more apt to try it which would result in more children finding out they like it.

                                                                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                      I agree Sandwich.....when i was a kid, I had never heard of the word Sushi. Now its part of our common vocabulary. Its not just that its cool and trendy. Its moved into a more common form of food item these days. Obviously if a kid likes sushi, then that kid is exposed to sushi on a fairly regular basis. The argument is, is that sushi always store bought or is it made at home?

                                                                      1. re: Atochabsh

                                                                        I grew up in the mid 80's to mid 90's where kids would be like ewww raw fish? but not in this day in age.

                                                                        I don't have kids yet but when I do I would love to focus on nutrition because I believe it's a gift you can give your child that will keep on giving to them their whole life.

                                                                        My parents never took us to get fries from Mcdonalds if we wanted fries we would get out the potatoes potato peel them, and as we got a little older cut them up.

                                                                        My mom keeps a potato in the house for my 2 year old nephew. When he comes over if he wants fries he picks up the potato and says - fries! fries! He's two and he knows that fries come from potatoes which my friend's daughter who is 6 has no clue, she thought fries where fries.

                                                                        As far as sushi we would love to make it from home... start out with a California roll as it's simple and I would really need to research where the heck to get good quality raw fish around here.

                                                                        We have an amazing restaurant that we are regulars at and we always say, whats the best today and they always deliver the best most tasty fresh options.

                                                                        I don't ever buy it at the stores around town.

                                                                3. Friend of mine's 5 year old son asked to try the school lunch program one day, rather than bringing his own. On picking him up after school, she inquired after his lunch. Did you like it? What did you have? Boy answered, "It was weird, Mommy, it was all brown and mushy and had a white sauce." !!!! A tuna sandwich! He'd only ever had raw or seared AHI TUNA, from a sushi restaurant! It was inconceivable to me that he'd never had a tuna fish sandwich!

                                                                  ETA, by the way, my friend is a fantastic home cook and makes her kids all types of homey filipino standards as well as typical american dishes - just not the TFS i grew up with!

                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                    Oooooh...what a precious moment. He was definitely slumming it! God, can't imagine that people actually have to eat that slop on a daily basis.

                                                                    1. re: Chrispy75

                                                                      wait, don't get me wrong - i love a good tuna fish sandwich! and my friend said that she'd made them for herself, but for some reason never for her kids.

                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                        OK guys...Now I'm craving tuna noodle casserole with potato chips on top!

                                                                    2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                      We do lots of other "lowbrow" foods with our kids, but canned tuna doesn't get much play because of the mercury issue. I'm not an extremist and I don't completely avoid it, especially at sushi restaurants. But between being pregnant, breastfeeding and feeding young kids, it just hasn't been a staple at our house for years.

                                                                      1. re: julesrules

                                                                        ah, maybe that's why my girlfriend didn't make her kids tuna fish sandwiches...

                                                                        1. re: julesrules

                                                                          we switched back to the chunk "light" tuna when I got PG, and keep it to only occasionally. The tonno tuna in olive oil is really good and it's much lower mercury than the "white" variety, you can consume something like a can a week, which is a lot more than I have.

                                                                          1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                            "The tonno tuna in olive oil is really good and it's much lower mercury than the "white" variety"

                                                                            Good to know...my dad is Italian American and this is the only kind we ever ate. I would get on kicks of something and eat it for weeks or months and this was one, only with mayo, pepper and a little garlic powder. I never understood why the other kids' tuna was so white and why it had stuff like carrots, celery or relish in it!

                                                                            1. re: melpy

                                                                              Try it with some red onion, cilantro, capers, s&p, some more oo and a little sherry vinegar if you wish. It's fantastic. I serve it regularly as an hors d'oeuvre.

                                                                        2. re: mariacarmen

                                                                          When my daughter was seven, she came home from a friend's house and told me, quite excitedly, that it was possible to boil Jello in a pot and pour it into a container with a shape, and that it would turn into shaped Jello. I guess we had only purchased individual pre-packs until that point. I felt like I had somehow missed an important moment with her. Funny, but a little sad.

                                                                        3. I had a college kid from Sweden come visit me one summer a few years ago. He had never tried peanut butter before. (He did try it for my sake, but he didn't care for it. ) Also ate dinner with my friend's eight year old. His favorite food is shrimp. Growing up in a meat and potato midwest family, I didn't have real shrimp until I was in college.

                                                                          1. Because we have a summer place in Maine, our grandkids have lots of seafood exposure. One loves steamed clams and oysters on the half shell, two love clam chowder and lobster. On likes soft shell crabs. Another absolutely loves ceasar salad. Although I grew up with seafood, I am surprised that these little kids (7-9) have such taste. Also, never heard of ceasar salad growing up.

                                                                            1. Well, I'm old enough that when I was in high school, which is when I first heard of pizza, the nearest pizza was in the next county. No frozen. No chains. Just a little family-owned pizzeria that we thought was terribly exotic, and about a 45 minute drive if you could get your dad's car and if your date had the money.

                                                                              But that's not what I came here today to talk about. i'm just hoping that today's kids are learning about tipping. About 2 weeks ago, we were at a family-owned diner-ish place that's been around since...oh, the Sixties, I'd say. It's the sort of place that families who bring their kids back to town to visit Grandma and Grandpa always take the kids to show where they went when THEY were kids/teens. So there are 3 young ladies, middle or late teens, extremely well-dressed, having something to eat at the counter. Individual checks. Paid the server, took their change and left. No tip. Any of them. I was stunned.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: lemons

                                                                                Well, it was not so far, but the nearest pizza restaurant was several towns over, and was a treat.

                                                                                Now, my father was not a big tipper, but my mother was, even back then. I learned from her.

                                                                                I see what you write of, all too often. Many servers do not wish to wait on ladies (young, or old), as many do not seem to tip well. This goes for professionals, as well as the general female public. Now, my wife, a professional, tips well, though maybe not to the level that I do. I think that it is something that one learns by example, and a little forethought.


                                                                              2. This all reminds me of that Adam Sandler movie--was it Grown Ups? Where his children grow up so privileged and he's mortified to hear them talk about gelato, Voss water...or Fiji if they can't get Voss but had no idea what tap water was.

                                                                                It's funny to hear teens order at Starbucks, too. Something that would never have happened 30 years ago...Double shot, skim, half pump venti macchiato extra foam, etc.

                                                                                17 Replies
                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                  Not so privleged, but my daughter grew up during the bottled water era and would never drink water from a water fountain at school. She has to have a bottle of water when she goes to school. Many times my wife has gone back to school to bring her a bottle of water if she forgot to bring one.

                                                                                  1. re: monku

                                                                                    Yeah. Sorry, but if there is NO WAY I would be driving to school to give a picky teenager bottled water. Not only that but I wouldn't be BUYING it to start with!


                                                                                    1. re: ZenSojourner

                                                                                      Apparently, this level of service is something (some) kids think is normal.

                                                                                    2. re: monku

                                                                                      > would never drink water from a water fountain at school

                                                                                      I made the mistake of informing the kids that our tapwater comes from the local river. Of course it is filtered and chemically treated, but now they refuse to drink anything but bottled water. I had to point out that most bottled water (like Aquafina) is just the tap water from whatever city they are near, but they don't believe me.

                                                                                      1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                        > would never drink water from a water fountain at school

                                                                                        makes sense to me, at my school, the water fountains were where all the jocks discarded their disgusting masticated chunks of chewing tobacco, rendering the fountains gross, unsightly and stinky-- to put it mildly. i think the trend of kids carrying heavily sticker-ed reusable steel bev bottles filled with *water* (hopefully filtered and dispensed at home) and not cans or bottles of soda-- is a positive one.

                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                          We probably have half a dozen of those reuseable bottles around the house, but they've never been used.

                                                                                        2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                          I read my wife the riot act years ago when I caught her boiling spaghetti in bottled water.

                                                                                          1. re: monku

                                                                                            I live in an area where the tap water is borderline, and it's still possible to not use bottled water. At work and schools we have industrial water filters that dispense filtered cold/hot/warm water, and at home we boil the tap water and run it through the brita filter for taste. If you boil a kettle full in the morning before work (or at night before going to bed) it will be cool by the time you get back to it.

                                                                                            1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                              I live in the Los Angeles area and we have some of the best water in the world.
                                                                                              Why use bottled water?

                                                                                              In 2008 LA had the Best Tasting Municipal Water in the world.

                                                                                            2. re: monku

                                                                                              "I read my wife the riot act years ago when I caught her boiling spaghetti in bottled water"

                                                                                              OMG - I would have morphed into the Incredible Hulk. That is insane!

                                                                                              1. re: weewah

                                                                                                Somehow this exchange reminds me of a comedian's line that he knew a woman so uppity that when she gave birth and her water broke, it was Perrier.

                                                                                          2. re: monku

                                                                                            Okay I do get here in Florida tap water is gross. It's like swamp water or something. Sometimes it tasted overly treated. So the bottled water thing I get but don't they have water in vending machines at school?

                                                                                            I think I'd tell my daughter to rough it out if she forgot her water, maybe she won't forget it again.

                                                                                            1. re: wordong

                                                                                              I know ... and I'll tell on myself here. I grew up on Kraft mac'n'cheese, and when my aunt fed me and the cousins the homemade stuff I felt sorry for them. Never mentioned it because I knew better, but I actually thought they *had to* eat the homemade stuff because they couldn't afford the blue box. In hindsight I know that my aunt was actually feeding her kids superior food, in quality and taste.

                                                                                              I think kids tend to reflect their parents' attitudes ... to my parents, the convenience foods and weekly dinners "out" to fast food or buttet places were a sign they made it. I thought anything "less" was a sign that someone hadn't.

                                                                                              1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                lmao! when i was very young and staying with my grandparents. my grandmother made scratch mac&cheese, and i remarked that it was okay but not like real mac&cheese, and described the boxed variety. my grandfather, a man of very few words, just sat there and shook his head. i didn't "get" this exchange until many years later, but i remember it well.

                                                                                                1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                  I was not even aware of Kraft Mac n Cheese until my oldest nephew was born and my sister made the boxed stuff for him. My mother only ever made home-made macaroni and cheese. In fact, she was from the generation of women that stayed at home and took care of the house and family. I remember her telling a story about how my dad suggested she go back to teaching school. That suggestion must have been made before my brother and I started school because when she told him about daycare costs (did they call it that back then?) he realized it would not work. My father ended up being quite successful so she didn't get a job outside the home until I was in college.

                                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                                We use a filter on the faucet, and that works fine. My kids avoid bottled water because of environmental concerns.

                                                                                              3. Maybe it's a UK thing, but kids today seem to think it 'normal' to eat fast food every day, sometimes several times a day - not just as a treat.
                                                                                                I grew up on home-cooked food, which seems to be the exception rather than rule nowadays - or maybe having moved from a rural area to a big city I am just seeing how city-folk have always eaten?

                                                                                                1. I chuckled at a teen who was perplexed by a bunch of carrots. You know..the whole green leafy top...pointy and long..and unpeeled. He asked what they were..thought carrots only looked like bagged baby carrots. It's obvious he had never seen Bugs Bunny either.

                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: rochfood

                                                                                                    When the 17 year old cashier at the supermarket is perplexed by just about every vegetable I'm buying...he needs me to spell the names so he can look them up for the codes!

                                                                                                    1. re: BeeZee

                                                                                                      that happens to me even with adult cashiers! they don't know what half their fresh produce stock is.

                                                                                                      1. re: BeeZee

                                                                                                        When a hapless cashier fails to identify cilantro or basil, i grab a leaf, crush it, and shove it in his face, saying "smell this!" Don't know if it works, but it's very satisfying.

                                                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                          That's the equivalent of shoving perfume in someone's face. A cashier who is ignorant of what the difference between cilantro and parsley is doesn't deserve to be treated that way.

                                                                                                          1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                                            My daughter was planting seeds in high school biology class and it turned out she was the only one who had ever planted a seed and therefore had a clue about what you do with the dirt, the seed and the water. Really sad.

                                                                                                          2. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                            So Pikawicca,
                                                                                                            When you make a driving blunder and someone flips you off because it feels satisfying to them, how do you feel?
                                                                                                            Just saw this year old post, but i feel the need to point out rudeness when i see it.

                                                                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                              You think if s/he doesn't recognize it by sight, s/he might recognize it by smell? This is ridiculous. I can understand expecting a cashier to be able to identify an apple or even something slightly less common (asparagus, broccoli, whatever), but fresh herbs? C'mon; so few people use fresh herbs that the expectation that every cashier, especially the teenage ones, will know what basil, rosemary, cilantro, etc. looks and smells like, is really asking a lot. And the shoving it in the face is beyond rude.

                                                                                                              1. re: queenscook

                                                                                                                Agreed on the rude aspect. As for identifying fresh herbs, I'm a college student who grew up eating mostly my mother's chinese cooking. I cook a lot, but more chinese-ish food, with some spices and a few herbs, but usually rely on the ginger/soy sauce/ vinegar/ etc. combos rather than fresh herbs. I can't really tell them apart either - I was making a roast chicken whose recipe recommended using thyme and had to ask my boyfriend's roommate if he had any. He said yes and handed it to me; I smelled it and said ' ew so that's the herb that I don't like' (chicken turned out delicious though!).

                                                                                                                So for some of the kids who can't tell different spices or herbs apart, it could just be because they grew up with a different set of flavors that cilantro/thyme/basil people don't go for...

                                                                                                            2. re: BeeZee

                                                                                                              Yes. It's sad, really sad.

                                                                                                              Y'know, there was also a study done some time back where kids drew out pictures of where their dinner had come from - city kids drew plastic-wrapped packs of meat, prepared bags of salad etc, and supermarkets. Non-city kids (especially rural kids) drew out full-featured (and accurate) renditions of farm animals, a farm etc.

                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                Last summer I went on vacation for about 2 1/2 weeks, so I asked my neighbor if she could water the herbs and tomatoes I was growing on the back porch. When I got home, she told me that her kids accompanied her when she did this, and they were amazed--they seemed to only know mint as a chewing gum flavor and never knew how tomatoes grew.

                                                                                                              2. re: BeeZee

                                                                                                                This happens to me almost daily. The other day, I got to the counter with at least seven types of vegetation. First off, I don't bag my produce. Not because I have some weird conspiracy about plastic, but because I don't like the bag dust that gets on the vegetables. I had Kale, Jalapenos, Chard, Carrots (bunched), Tomatillos, Bean Sprouts and Eggplant. All he could identify was the carrots! He helled up a Jalapeno and said, "what is this?".... got me so mad, but I kept it in until I got into the car and muttered with my kids where in the back "What kind of jack*** doesn't know what a Jalapeno is?!"

                                                                                                            3. I grew up in and around NYC and was exposed to a lot, but I didn't have sushi until about 15 years ago. My daughter LOVES it and teases me because I can't bring myself to try eel. She (and I) would also eat pho every day if she could.

                                                                                                              Growing up with Italian and Jewish grandparents, those were the foods I ate the most as a kid and she has no interest in either.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                Italians eat eel. They'll often include it in their Xmas Eve Fish meal. I was exposed to eel in <Zuppa di Pesce> on the Adriatic coast. When I discovered the Japanese way of preparing it, <unagi>, I was over the moon.

                                                                                                                1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                  my great-aunt had a summer house up in the Catskills, and i used to spend at least one weekend with her there every summer. i'll never forget going to the local Japanese restaurant with her for dinner. i was 14 and already hooked on sushi, but i wasn't sure if i wanted to risk ordering it in nowheresville so i opted for the broiled eel entree (which was basically just a large portion of the eel/unagi your daughter gets for her sushi). my aunt was both horrified and fascinated, but after much cajoling i finally convinced her to try a bite and she *loved* it.

                                                                                                                  next time try the eel ;)

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    I know Italians eat eel but this one does not and I hate that. I just can't bring myself to eat it.

                                                                                                                2. I love what different parts of the country consider "normal". My cousins in Ohio eat circus peanuts pretty much daily. My SIL and her family live in Hawaii-her kids asked me to make them lunch one day when they were visiting us. When I asked what they wanted, they said "grilled SPAM and cheese!" I said that would be considered child abuse around here, but hey it's what they wanted! And my five-year-old in Maryland can shell a steamed crab in about two seconds flat.

                                                                                                                  Of course, my "normal" childhood foods were pretty strange to most people too! I grew up in West Virginia and was in college before I realized hot dogs don't automatically come topped with chili, slaw, mustard and onions outside of Appalachia. I could have passed out from shock when I found out pepperoni rolls weren't a universal childhood staple.

                                                                                                                  1. I have a 12-year-old daughter, and sushi is a big favorite in her crowd. They mostly eat stuff like California rolls. I had to bring her some during visiting day at summer camp. It was the one thing she missed.

                                                                                                                    1. Edamame: I never heard of them when I was a kid. Now my daughter routinely eats them as part of her dinner. They're a fun food for kids--they get to shell the beans then pop 'em in! Doesn't hurt that they're nutritious too.

                                                                                                                      Also, non-dairy milks (soy, almond, etc.) didn't exist when I was a kid. It was cow milk or nothing...but now my daughter can drink almond milk or soy milk or hemp milk, etc.

                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: AverageJo

                                                                                                                        Edamame! Yes, that's a good one. When my daughter was 7 or 8 we were at the pediatrician's for her annual check-up. The doctor asked her, "What's your favorite vegetable?" She said, "Carrots and edamame."

                                                                                                                        1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                                                          +2 to edamame. She eats so much of it, I forgot it was something I'd never heard about until a few years back.

                                                                                                                          Another one is clementines. I don't know why, but in my family it was only the older men who ate them while cracking a huge bowl of mixed nuts after large meals around the holidays. We ate tons of fresh fruit but for some reeason, clementines were "old man food". She tried some at a friends house a few years back and ever since, we almost always have a big pile of them in a bowl on the counter.

                                                                                                                          And she puts sriracha on everything. We never had that growing up!

                                                                                                                          But I can't get her to try chopped liver :(

                                                                                                                          1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                                            +1 for sriracha! My 13yo would probably add it to water if she thought about it.

                                                                                                                      2. I grew up in another eon and another country, so many of the foods my family eats today I hadn't even heard of, let alone tried, until I was an adult.

                                                                                                                        My kids' "new normal" includes: veggie sushi, hummus (deservedly exploding in popularity), edamame, asparagus, brussels sprouts, Ethiopian, Thai, Mexican, Chinese, other ethnic food, pizza (stereotypical kid food now, but not when and where I grew up), and a bunch more I can't remember now. Plus the packaged junk food that didn't even exist when I was in single digits of age (Cheetos, shudder).
                                                                                                                        They love all these things, along with our regular Indian food diet.

                                                                                                                        15 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                          That's a good point. I'm sure my parents shook their heads with what we ate growing up as kids--cheese, white Wonder bread, Cheetos. pizza, etc, while they'd think some of the foods on this thread were perfectly normal. Sushi, edamame, soy milk? It's just what kids ate when they were younger.

                                                                                                                          But, give Cheetos more of a try! There's nothing like that orange coating on your fingers!

                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                            "But, give Cheetos more of a try! There's nothing like that orange coating on your fingers!"

                                                                                                                            Oops! I'm caught with my orange fingers in the Cheetos bag! I (shamefacedly) admit that when the bag is in the house and it's opened, I elbow the kids out of the way so I can get my share too :)
                                                                                                                            The stuff is awful junk, but does hit the spot sometimes :)

                                                                                                                            In general, I think the biggest difference between my generation and what my kids think is normal, is the sheer "internationalness" that the kids take for granted. For us, international food was a very very rare experience. For the kids, it's everyday.....

                                                                                                                            1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                              I went about 20 years w/out eating Cheetos and had some at my MIL's. I was surprised at how addicting they are but they're a food I have to stay away from.

                                                                                                                              Being from a family who are immigrants, I think my parents are amused at what my kids think is "normal" food. Not just international food (amazed at their eating ceviche) but basic "American" food in their minds like Cheetos.

                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                my parents are from south america, and i was actually always struck by the fact that THEY embraced the american "culture" of processed, convenience and fast foods - i feel like all of that was foreign and new to them so they glommed onto it as exotic. they were familiar with ceviche, so that's not a stretch, but sushi is. Growing up we had boxed mashed potatoes, frozen orange juice from concentrate, RC Cola (never coke or pepsi), Carnation Instant Breakfast, pop-tarts, Swanson's t.v. dinners, and the like. And yes, lots of potato chips - while no Cheetos, when Doritos Nacho Cheese tortilla chips came around they were always stockpiled in our house.

                                                                                                                                I guess part of my point is that parents today are feeding their kids healthier, new things (edamame, sushi, hummus), that they themselves probably never ate, which is why kids consider those things normal - they get it from their parents. they watch other children eat these things, but their friends also have parents who bought them those items. ultimately it's what the parents buy.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                                Several months after your post but this one struck me as I was thinking of food I ate as a kid. I'm also indian, but grew up in thailand and went to an international school. My mom's circle of friends (at whose houses we lunched at atleast once a week) was mostly middle eastern. As a result I grew up eating food from just about every part of the world. My school actually did an international day where each country that had a student attending the school was represented with food, music, etc in a classroom and we spent the day roaming around campus sampling everything. So in a single day we'd sample sushi, paella, MnMs (yup, that's what the US handed out) hummus, licorice, octopus and who knows what else. I don't remember anyone turning their nose up at anything offered to us - we always at least took a sample no matter how unusual it seemed and usually relished it. As a result I started begging my friends from the neatherlands to bring me licorice when they went home for the summers. In fact when I reached the US 17 years ago I was stunned at how narrow most people's palettes were compared to what I was used to. I am thrilled to see things start to get more international now. But it's fun going to the international grocery store with friends who are amazed by all these new items and suddenly remembering that I used to eat them as a kid but haven't seen them in almost 20 years.

                                                                                                                                Gourds I feel old.

                                                                                                                              3. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                The orange coating is only the beginning. What about the greasy fingers? And that revolting smell? Blech & double blech!

                                                                                                                                1. re: fauchon

                                                                                                                                  "What about greasy fingers?" If you think of your shirt as a big napkin that conveniently fits your torso, all shall be well...

                                                                                                                                  1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                    Now that's the funniest thing I've read today. Hopefully, you're wearing your ratty at home t-shirt and not the expensive night out silk blouse :)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                      LOL, but the point of eating Cheetos is that you get to lick those fingers after. No big shirt needed--you could even enjoy a bag naked!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                          Yum, nothing like crunchy Cheetos dredged in cream cheese. I haven't had in several years, but it is a fond memory.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: silence9

                                                                                                                                          i had a boss who used to wipe the cheetos smut on his WHITE SOCKS. yes, there are many, many things wrong with this - boss, white socks, brutish behavior.... His now wife still does not believe he ever did this and he denies it emphatically, even tho there were many witnesses to the spectacle!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                            I had a boss who ate EVERYTHING with a fork. Including cheese doodles.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jackie007

                                                                                                                                              Can't blame him.
                                                                                                                                              I have to sheepishly admit that I love Cheez Doodles...a real guilty pleasure...but I HATE getting that fake orange 'cheese' coloring on my hands.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                I always used toothpicks to eat cheese doodles.

                                                                                                                                  2. This is a kind of reverse story from your topic, but NO-bone chicken.

                                                                                                                                    Several years ago, a down the street neighbor told a story that her 2 boys - then ages 5 and 7 - refused to eat and became very upset when served chicken breast still on the bone. Seems they didn't know chicken had bones.

                                                                                                                                    Sad but true.

                                                                                                                                    17 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                      on the subject of boneless chicken, remember the odd couple?. they had one where oscar pretends to choke as he wants felix to save him (to return the favor) and claims to be choking possibly on the bone. felix "impossible, boneless chicken" then oscar holds the chicken up with a look of disbelief "boneless chicken, how did it stand up? " great show and very funny even "stands up" today

                                                                                                                                      1. re: rich51

                                                                                                                                        "how did it walk?", i believe was the phrase

                                                                                                                                        1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                                          > Sad but true.

                                                                                                                                          I think the kids are a bit spoiled. How about kids who refuse to eat leftovers? Don't they know many dishes taste better on the second day?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                            I'm dealing with that now and it's not a child it it my brother in law. Not only is he picky and has food allergies but the food we cook for him, he won't eat the leftovers.

                                                                                                                                            I caught him throwing away food that was in the fridge. It was in there from 2 nights ago. He said yeah this has been in there too long it's gross now.

                                                                                                                                            It was steak from 2 nights ago! I was dumbfounded.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                              I'm going to assume that he's living with you and that you bought and cooked the food. Tell him not to ever do that again. And if you're having leftovers for dinner and he won't eat, BFD. I'm also assuming he's an adult.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                                I have a couple of friends like that. What i found out is that as children they were served leftovers ad nauseum, in many cases past the date that they should have been tossed. Makes some sense that they now object to any leftovers. Tuna casserole really shouldn't be served much past the 4th or 5th day in the fridge, it does turn rather nasty, even if it isn't spoiled.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                  My mom served leftovers often but I find now I LOVE leftoversl, while I hated it as a kid. Generally though I don't served them again for dinner but rather lunch.

                                                                                                                                                  Speaking of I'm excited for my lunch today. Leftover turkey patty melt mmmmm.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                                                                                                                    I am astonished at the disdain for leftovers.
                                                                                                                                                    Being very busy, I cook mostly alternate days or every 3 days, a large lot of something tasty. And that's what's for dinner for the next 2 days and my lunches in between - e.g. today's lunch for me is leftover paneer makhani and cauliflower sabzi - it's making me very happy. Sometimes H and I snack on the leftovers if they are specially tasty (e.g. potato sabzi with fresh ground masala podi).
                                                                                                                                                    The family hasn't complained yet.

                                                                                                                                                    Why do people hate leftovers? Do they have someone to cook every day for them? Or prefer drive by fast food instead?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                                                      My parents did a lot of meat and side dish meals. I think it was the leftover meat I didn't like so much. Warmed in the microwave has a terrible taste for baked chicken and the like. I don't coolnas much meat so my leftovers are very different.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                                                                        When my kids were growing up I used to freeze leftovers in whatever small quantity remained after the meal. When I accumulated enough I would heat all of the little packages on a cookie sheet in the oven and we would have Leftover Night, a sort of buffet or smorgasbord self-selection dinner where everybody got another go-around with a favorite meal. Leftover Night was the runaway favorite meal ever. I would be interested to know what they do now in their own homes about leftovers; I'll ask.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                      actually its the exact opposite. He never grew up eating left overs. He always said well I just only eat what my mom eats, since they both have the same food allergies.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                                                                                                        In my opinion, tuna casserole shouldn't even be served on the first day.

                                                                                                                                                    3. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                      I never get this "refuse" thing. I cook it. You either eat it, go hungry or cook your own food. Period. Simple.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                        Same here. Except without the cook your own food option.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                        I hated leftovers as a kid. Leftover meatloaf was a punishment in my opinion. Now I love leftovers...my poor boyfriend has to tell me that he want's something or I'll eat all the leftovers before he gets a chance. Although in my opinion that's the punishment for not trying to eat them until 3-4 days later.

                                                                                                                                                    4. Another Asian one: dried seaweed. I have to keep packets of the stuff around at all times for snacking.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I grew up with wonder white bread and carcinagenic bologna. For a treat, my mom would broil the bologna. As a teen I subsisted almost entirely on dannon lights and frozen yogurt (what I thought was healthy back then). As a teacher I strongly feel overall that I had a far superior childhood to many of my students due to the fact that I retained my innocence a bit longer than they have. I also think that the games and toys I had, though simpler in their design, led to much greater creativity, However, when it comes to food, the kids nowadays have me beat. The majority of my students still eat processed junk for lunch most days, but they are much more diverse in their tastes than I ever was. I recall the 1st time I went to a Japanese restaurant- in my own neighborhood- was a revelation! And all I had was chicken terriyaki- but my parents never fully got out of their comfort zone.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Since this thread has started I have been noticing what kids are eating at my favorite local ethnic places. I found it very interesting.

                                                                                                                                                          Went for Sushi sat up at the bar by a 10 year old kid and his parents. He had Ginger Salad, California Roll, Spicy Tuna Roll and gyoza. For dessert Mochi Ice cream he shared with his parents.

                                                                                                                                                          Turkish / Mediterranean - two Chidren (5-8 years old) eating Adana kabab - Lamb kabobs, hummus with Lavas.

                                                                                                                                                          Vietnamese - two children - Picky eater eating chicken strips with a side of rice, other eating beef pho.

                                                                                                                                                          Indian buffet - Kids favorites included the chicken tikka marsala and butter chicken. with mango ice cream.

                                                                                                                                                          Thai - 12 year old girl ordered green curry and begged her mom to order her a thai tea

                                                                                                                                                          1. Since this thread started I noticed two kids (I'd guess age 12ish?) at the local Quik Trip buying coffee.

                                                                                                                                                            45 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                              Why would coffee being any better/worse than a Coke?

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                Not saying better or worse, just surprised me. It isn't something I think of 12 year olds buying. (Possibly because I've always disliked coffee)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                  I started drinking coffee in high school. We were allowed to go off campus for lunch, and we'd go to Dunkin Donuts and pick up a small coffee to bring back to school.

                                                                                                                                                                  But when I was a kid, I hated drinking milk, so the adults would let me have 'coffee.' Basically, a mug filled with warm milk and enough coffee to stain the milk.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                    I hated coffee as a kid, but my dad drank it black. It wasn't until my Junior Year in high school when a friend showed me how to make coffee tasty. :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: brandywiner

                                                                                                                                                                        hahaha no. at the very most cream, sugar and ammereto

                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't know about Jameson's until my college days. I'm a bit of a late bloomer :P

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                My sons started drinking coffee (decaf) when they were maybe 8 or 9 years old. Pour in enough French Vanilla creamer and they think coffee is dessert!
                                                                                                                                                                They are in college now, and one is a drip-grind kind of guy, and the other is a french press-give me the expensive stuff or make it tea (also expensive) - kind of guy.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                                                                                  We don't use drip because it takes too damn long! I have always been a french press guy ever since I was a kid. My cousin works at a roasting house and gives us Rwandan and Balian? coffees. Free of charge, of course. I have built up a resistance to drip and if I can't find pressed coffee, I opt for water.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                  I actually don't think I was allowed to have coffee growing up, nor would I have had the money to buy it myself I don't think. I was allowed weak tea. Coffee would have been one of the last things I would ever have wanted to spend what little money I was given as a kid (didn't have an allowance)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                    In sixth grade, the boy sitting next to my daughter at school spilled Starbucks all over her desk. Kids drinking coffee in 6th grade???

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                      I used to have that reaction honestly but then figured out that it's not much different than having a Coke. Actually probably better for them than a Coke.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                        the foo-foo coffee drinks like an x-l mocha with caramel sauce and whipped cream can be way worse than a coke, though. they can be very high in both fat and sugar. can't really call some of these drinks "coffee" anymore. mcdonald's sells these drinks at a lower price point than bux and other coffee chains. i haven't been to a bux in 10 years probably, but a lot of the kids are drinking their calories rather than eating them these days, and it isn't *just* soda-pop.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                            very true... lots of the drinks are so sweet and sugary and appeal to kids.

                                                                                                                                                                            I've taken my friends 6yo to starbucks and offered her two choices- kids hot chocolate or steamed milk. The kids size is smallish and both of those choices aren't that horrible for her.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                              Both my parents drank percolated black coffee. As kid we used to beg for a taste, but were forbidden since it would turn our heels black. I don't know where they got that from.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dratlover

                                                                                                                                                                                well, you know -- all those nasty little bits of ground coffee settle to the bottom of your body....

                                                                                                                                                                                ..ain't it amazing what we tell kids? And what they'll believe?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dratlover

                                                                                                                                                                                  I was told it would stunt my growth ... but I didn't believe it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                                    My mom always said it would stunt my growth. My father meanwhile was giving me and my sister Cuban coffee from a very young age. My mom and grandparents always let us have tea. Soda was a treat.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Jackie007

                                                                                                                                                                                      And how tall are you? ;) All of us kids are taller than my mother--but that may be normal, I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                I think, for an observer, it also ties into the whole energy drink / caffeine junky trend with kids. Now, I don't know why the kids are actually drinking the coffee, but I know as a kid, if I had a coke, it wasn't because I needed a jolt of energy after being up half the night.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                                                                                                                                                  oh yeah energy drinks, totally. in my area lots of teenagers go out for x-l size bubble teas, too-- sometimes they skip dinner and get the mocha or bubble tea instead.

                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                I think coke has a fraction of the caffeine that coffee, especially Starbucks, has. Plus, the kids who are drinking it are the ones who are out of control--not to say that it's causing the behavior but usually the ones who are out of control have parents who can't say no, at least from what I've seen. And, these kids don't need more--whether it's coke or coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                And, as soupkitten said, most Starbucks drinks aren't just coffee--they're candy in a cup.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                  starbucks isn't particularly high caffeine. coffee as over roasted as that has less caffeine than a less roasted bean

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't know the exact numbers but just looked them up. Coke has 34 mg per 12 oz. Starbucks coffee itself has about 350 mg per 16 oz. So, it's substantially more than Coke.


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                      wasn't comparing it to coke, was ratehr responding to the "...the caffeine that coffee, especially Starbucks, has...."

                                                                                                                                                                                      i think that "especially" is incorrect

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                        I always think, though could be wrong, that Starbucks coffee sits around a lot longer than mine at home would and water evaporates so it's stronger.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                          most of the drinks are espresso based, no? and thus pulled at order and not sitting around at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                            Fine, make that "even Starbucks" instead of "especially" if it makes you feel better. The little boy in my example had a coffee but it's not important enough to get into a discussion, even as much as I have already.:-p

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think so.
                                                                                                                                                                                            They have timers set to replace the coffee I think every 30 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: monku

                                                                                                                                                                                              maybe for the non espresso based drinks. but the lattes, cappuchinos, etcetc they pull each one fresh

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                              Look at the coffee dispensers at Starbucks next time. There is a white magnetic timer on each. At 30 minutes, it goes off and a new pot is made. It does not 'sit around longer'.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                                                                I worked at McDonald's where that was the case, too. But, too often with many workers, it was more the time to change the time rather than make more coffee. Regardless, I only joined in on the thread because kids were drinking coffee and that amount of caffeine seems excessive for the kids I know who are drinking it. It really is irrelevant whether Starbucks changes the coffee every half hour or whether Starbucks overly roasted coffee has more caffeine than other coffee and I'm really sorry I added those two flippant words. Let's just rewrite it to say that, mentally, since i can't go back and edit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, OK. It is frustrating to see people upset or angry that Starbucks gives people choices. Just because people order 1000 calorie dessert like items does not make the company bad. I happen to have read the words on their logo, and usually order coffee when I go there. The beans are not overly roasted to me, since there is still oil in the beans and the beans don't pulverize in the grinder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My parents grew up during the Great Depression and milk was expensive. They grew up drinking coffee from a very young age and my brother and I would get some also if we asked for it. Coffee is not unusual to me. Drinking ANY beverage or eating during class is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But we also got Kool Aid and occasional bottles or cups of pop. When we went to McDonald's or Burger King. Once a month. When Mom and Dad would get coffee to go with their hamburgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Fast food seems to be a necessity instead of a treat these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Cathy

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not angry or upset about anything Starbucks has to offer. All I was saying is that I'm surprised, as the topic of this thread on what surprises you to see kids eating/drinking, to see 6th graders bringing coffee regularly to school. I threw out the "especially Starbucks" flippantly because that's what these kids are drinking and, as I said, wish I hadn't given the fuss it's aroused.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm having that arguement with the Spouse right now. The 9 yo likes iced coffee and as long as it's decaf, with skim milk, I can't see the problem with it. The way I see it, at least we're getting some milk into her. I also don't have a problem with her drinking hot coffee or cappuccino. Like many others have said, why is this different from drinking a soda? He doesn't have any problem with her drinking sweet tea (we live in the South and the amount of sugar in that makes me ill) or hot tea but for some reason coffee is not acceptable. I don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                      My mother used to let me drink coffee starting when I was about 5. My grandmother would yell at her that it was going to stunt my growth. I was 5'10" before I started high school. I wonder how much more I would have grown if I hadn't been drinking coffee as a child. And these days I'm more of a tea drinker, anyhow.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: rockycat

                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know what is the big deal with coffee and kids. In Louisiana when I was growing up the kids always drank cafe au lait. I don't ever remember not drinking it. Coke was a treat that was maybe drunk a few times a year.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: decolady

                                                                                                                                                                                          I think as long as it was decaf, I wouldn't really have a problem with my kid drinking coffee. I let her drink tea if she wants, but she's not really big on it. I grew up thinking of it as an adult's drink, probably because my dad drank it strong and black.

                                                                                                                                                                                          However, my husband calls coffee (and soda) the Devil's Drink and has passed that on to our daughter. He's a little picky about beverages. =)

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: rockycat

                                                                                                                                                                                          The problem I see with these drinks is that they take the place of the healthy option, which is just plain water. I put soda pop in this category, too. And sweet tea. Soda, coffee, tea, etc... we don't drink any of it, and our 9 yo dd is fine not drinking her calories. She does drink skim white milk with breakfast and dinner, and other than filtered tap water or S. Pellegrino, it's the only thing she drinks. Kids who consume these sugary drinks tend to drink less water and have greater incidence of being overweight. I don't think kids should be drinking any of it and it's something I definitely *do* see as a problem with children of this generation.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: velochic

                                                                                                                                                                                            That's a good point, velochic. My daughter drinks a cup of watered-down OJ with breakfast, and sometimes a cup of milk with lunch, but the rest of the time, it's water. Apple juice and the like is considered a treat. On the rare occasion she has tea, it's a special mommy-and-me kind of thing. As for myself, I drink way too much diet soda, but I also love water.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                        My daughter used to drink tea with caffeine but now she won't touch it. Her science teacher told the class that caffeine can stunt their growth. According to him, he once had a student (middle school aged) who came in to class every day with a double cappucino. Years later he saw that student, and the kid is short. I have no idea whether caffeine really stunts kids' growth, but my daughter believes it. She drinks herb tea now.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NYCkaren

                                                                                                                                                                                          Kudos to her. When I was in college I would drink black tea every afternoon, when one day I didn't have time and I got the worst caffeine headache. From then on I never wanted to make caffeine something I would depend on and switched to herbal for most of the time and caffeine every once in a while. Personally, it isn't worth the pain!

                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                      I was at Starbucks a few weeks ago people watching (and mooching free AC and WIFI) and lost track of how many people came in with young kids (5 - 8) and got them venti frappachinos. My first thought was 'good grief, that drink is bigger than their head!! One even got their kiddo's drink with extra shots of espresso. So glad I won't be around when that kid is bouncing off the walls with all that sugar and caffeine.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I grew up with a mom who couldn't function without her morning coffee. My dad drank tea only (never coffee) yet it never occured to me to even try coffee as a hot beverage even though I loved coffee icecream. I didn't start drinking coffee until I was in college, and then only cuppachinos from the coffee shop across the street from my dorm (which has since been put out of business by starbucks)

                                                                                                                                                                                      I lay no blame on Starbucks for the kids with oversized drinks, but really.. what are those parents thinking??

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JasFoodie

                                                                                                                                                                                        My dad was addicted to coffee when I was younger. He once ordered a macchiato or something at a diner and asked me if I wanted to try a sip. It looked like hot chocolate... but didn't taste like it. Yuck. Even now, I only like lighter roasts and sweet frou-frou drinks. =)

                                                                                                                                                                                        I can't believe a parent would order their child a frappacino with extra shots. To me, that's along the line of a parent putting soda or Kool-Aid in their baby's bottle: Just plain irresponsible.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kathleen221

                                                                                                                                                                                          This is such a long-shot, but caffeine is, strangely, a homeopathic treatment for ADD/ADHD.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                                                                                            Not that strange, actually--ritalin is a stimulant, like caffeine and it stimulates the part of the brain that slows you down and lets you concentrate.

                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Kids deciding that they are vegetarian when their folks are omnivores. When I was a kid the only kids who had dietary restrictions either followed their parents religion or they had a medical reason. I was a big eater as a kid and liked red meat. If I became a vegetarian I think my parents could have afforded to have another kid!

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                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think there were probably a lot less "special" meals in general though. I can only speak for my home growing up, but if I didn't like what was on the table, there was never a "ok, go fix yourself something else.."

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                                                          my brother decided to be a veg in 1970 or so, after watching them slaughter chickens on a kibbutz

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                                                            You must not have lived through the 60s. I think half the kids I knew back then were vegetarians, many of them admittedly just to piss of the man.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                                                              I was a very young vegetarian to two omnivore parents.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                                                                My 5-year-old is a "vegetarian." Sometimes, sometimes she forgets. She asked where the lamb she was eating came from one day and we told her it came from a lamb. She decided she would be an herbivore from then on. But she loves meat, even lamb ... so we just don't bring it up. :) She still knows the name of what she's eating, but it has become don't ask, don't tell with her about its origins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                  sounds like half the people in New York. "I'm a vegetarian, but I eat chicken and fish...".

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Sushi might be a relatively new thing for American kids to consider normal, but eating raw fish was not unusual when I was a kid. Back then, in the 40s and 50s, when you went to the fish market, any decent fish monger would give you a raw chunk of whatever you were considering buying to taste. Best way to tell how fresh it was. Butchers would sometimes do that same thing. And no one seemed to be squeamish about it like people are today.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is interesting. You mean, butchers and seafood mongers would cut off a piece of meat or chicken or fish and let you eat it fresh? I can't imagine it happening today because of liability. At the same time, our meat these days aren't the same as back then either and it travels so much farther and is so much less fresh, for the most part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Exactly. You'd go in to the fish monger and say, "How are your oysters today?" and he'd pop one open for you to sample. They were proud of their product, and wanted to show it off. But not with chicken or any other kind of fowl. Back then you could pretty much only buy birds whole, and the butcher wasn't about to mar a good bird in an attempt to make a sale. I imagine the same would go for whole fish, and I really only remember this with shellfish and larger fish you'd buy in steaks or filets, like swordfish, tuna, and salmon. Butchers and fish mongers were more like salesmen back then. You didn't just go in with a list of what you wanted. You went in and they helped you come to a decision about what you wanted. Sometimes you'd walk out with nothing if they hadn't really sold you on anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: gadfly

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll bet you'd get to know your vendors really well, too, and know who to trust and they'd know what you want, too. Thanks for the walk through the past.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes. A good butcher would simply chop off a piece of raw meat for you to sample right there. Back in the day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. head cheese, bone marrow, goes to wd 50, etc. lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. My brother, who is definitely no foodie, used to love seaweed and curry when he was little. When he got older he would always make curried rice and it made me sick to my stomach. I have to thank him for it, because it got me used to the smell and then I tried it and now I love curry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Many things that were uncommon in the states were common to us. I grew up on shawarmas and hummus and greek style olives. Caviar, escargot, seafood, were common. We ate lamb and had the freshest pomegranites, coconuts, pineapples, dates etc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        But I never had bagels, sushi - or any Asian foods to speak of at all until I was grown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I grew up in the Middle East in the 70s and we did not have access to dairy products that weren't canned or powdered. I still miss canned Kraft cheese!
                                                                                                                                                                                                        When we got to Europe or Stateside we gorged on milk, buttermilk, cottage cheese and sour cream. We did get some cheese at home as Dad would carry it in from Europe. Particularly havarti.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        In Saudi, or in the states, our meals were cooked at home from whole ingredients every day, (though Mom would give us 'Campbells' and a sandwich for lunch).
                                                                                                                                                                                                        The only pizza restaurant I had ever heard of was Pizza Hut and I am 44 and have never eaten at Subway - I just can't bear the thought of that pastuerised processed cheese food (shudder)! Likewise Taco Bell and many other fast food places. I DO like Wendy's though : )

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. "NUT-FREE"--even preschoolers tend to know now what it means to be allergic to nuts. Back when I was in school--elementary, middle, high school, heck--even college--I feel like not only were less people "allergic" to food items, but kids were less aware of allergens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          TOFU--I feel like at least where I grew up: kids did not know about or eat tofu regularly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GraceW

                                                                                                                                                                                                            i think a lot of parents are mostly worried that their (very young 2-3 yr old) child will choke on a piece of chopped walnut, etc. . . that is the concern i have heard raised by parents. the funny thing is that nobody is concerned that their widdle precious will choke on a chocolate chip, so the sweeter items get snapped up quick by the doting parents. it's actually getting pretty hard to sell a traditional fruit+nut muffin these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. My first trip to a really nice restaurant was when I was 18 and my future husband took me to Chanterelle in New York City. My 8 year old, on the other hand, has had the opportunity to eat in several nice restaurants in several countries, and has tried things that I didn't even know existed at her age.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't know if I realized it as a child, but there were certain foods that were considered to be only for adults: things like lobster, filet mignon, and fine chocolate. She has had all of those multiple times, along with many other "gourmet" things, and I don't think she gets what a special thing that is. All she knows is, it's tasty!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Interesting thread. Whatever food I fix for the adults is also for the children, so if prosciutto is served to us, it is served to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Things my girls consider a normal part of their diet that I didn't know about growing up:
                                                                                                                                                                                                              soy milk
                                                                                                                                                                                                              rice milk

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I grew up being the only one in my household eating exotic food. and healthy food. I gradually turned my mom onto making curries, pho, yakitori, lower quality fish and tajine-based dishes. But I still struggle to understand why my sons friends shun the idea of eating non-organic lettuce and broccoli, but don't think twice about eating Oreo's and drinking soda. The new food phase for kids is organic everything. But processed organic food is just as bad as non-organic processed food. Everything is normal now, but some are more "cool" as my son calls them, then others.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: wordong

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know! I get that pesticides and hormones are bad for you. We buy some organic (milk, occasional fruit/veggies when local), but not much. NEVER the boxed stuff - but I've had friends proudly tell me how healthy their kids eat because their chicken nuggets, mac'n'cheese and boxed cookies/crackers are all organic. While I cook almost exclusively from scratch, but catch an attitude that it's not as healthy because it doesn't come in a box labeled organic. A huge pet peeve ... I don't comment to them about what they feed their kids!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: SAHCook

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It gets on my nerves.... The new thing is organic Sandwich cookies. They take all the things in regular Oreo's (flour, sugar, corn syrup, more sugar...) and buy them organic and make a cookie out of it, put some preservatives in it and BAM its healthy! Buying organic Milk and vegetables is one thing, I do it too, but when somebody decides that anything organic is healthy, they are making a huge mistake.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Here in the UK, lots of parents let their kids have what they choose instead of teaching them good eating habits from weaning age. Fed out of deep far fryers, things like chicken nuggets & chips, pizza & basic high fat, high sugar, high salt rubbish. I have 6 children, a 10 year old son, 8 year old id twin girls, a 4 year old son & 9 month old non id twin boy & girl. Im not saying weaning is easy, it isnt! But if you start them early enough on a varied diet its pretty much plain sailing. I started mine on jars & a mixture of fresh fruits & veg, then introduce bits of home made meals which are made for the rest of the family. All my kids will now eat anything from sucking the heads out of prawns, rollmops & whelks, all veg, all meats & all types of world cuisine. They arent afraid to try new things & Im proud of that. We have english roast dinners, pot roasts, salads, veggy meals you name it. I am a well honed, adventurous cook & we have good home cooked meals all served with fresh fruit, meat & fish. The meals they have at school are extremely good after Jamie Oliver (NOT a fan but he did an amazing job) made the government have a massive shake up of the school dinner system in the UK & changed government legislation on what was to be served. They have fresh milk & fruit at school too. Friday's are family dinner night. Me, the kids, my mum & step dad, my ex mother in law, my partner & my 4 eldest childrens dad & the odd few cousins who decide to drop in for a bevvy & a bit of grub at the last minute. More the merrier, theres always more than enough to go round. Huge meal cooked by my own true hands, desert, good company, fun, laughs & a few drinks along the way. Not that Im not saying we dont have take away's, cause we do but its a treat maybe once a week & I know that my children are fed a healthy diet every day & have a very healthy attitude towards food. I dont let them have fizzy drinks & sweets are a rare treat but mine are more than happy to have fruit instead & as well as juices they have plenty of water. The only time mine have chicken nuggets, burgers, chips, or fish fingers are when I make them from scratch myself.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: psycho_fluff

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think most of the problem is that parents don't cook anymore. Its so much easier and faster to stop at a fast food. And of course most fast food is fried. Rarely when i was growing up did we get fried foods. Mom rarely fried chicken and when she did it was a treat. We were MADE to sit and eat our veggies and there was a veggie every dinner. We rarely had sodas in the house. I think we drank every flavor of Kool Aid they made. We never had a school lunches growing up. Mom always packed our lunch, and for me it was a 12 year diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Atochabsh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      kool aid is not different from soda

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. When I was growing up we had dinner as a family every night and it was home cooked. There was no take out. A special treat was getting pizza on a Sunday night. Going out to dinner was a big deal and usually for a celebratory occassion. I remember complaining once to my mother that my friend had tv dinners and why couldn't we? It was a different time in so many ways.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Having your food delivered. Growing up, there was not a single place that delivered. In fact, I was college aged before that happened. That was the same time cable tv came to our area. There were very few chains because we were considered too rural to be bothered with. Now, there are chains on every corner and we are one of the largest growing counties in the country. Who woulda thunk?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Food from ethnic groups other than that into which you were born (how's that, thew?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My niece and I were giggling over my mother's inability to eat a taco or burrito without ending up with a plate full of corn-based shrapnel (we weren't with my mom, and she's well aware of this affliction), and she asked why she does that. I replied that I have no idea, and she asked how my grandmother/her great-gran ate tacos and burritos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        She looked downright startled when I told her that as far as I knew, my gran had never eaten a taco or burrito in her whole life, because she was from a part of the country where such things just didn't exist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Completely beyond the scope of comprehension for a kid raised in the southeastern US.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          it's better - i'd prefer talk of culture over ethnicity - and that statement requires identifying your ethnicity and culture - but - better ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I grew up as a Navy kid, living in different locations and exposed to different cultures my entire life. To me, Sushi and Ramen (the REAL stuff, not the cheap dried noodle packages) WERE the norm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Before I moved to a different county/suburb.. I thought every Jewel had a "Kosher Sushi" section.. I don't keep kosher, but I definitely miss it because it tasted so fresh! NOT only does my present Jewel not have a fresh-Kosher section, but it doesn't have a sushi section... so now I realize how odd-amazing it actually was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My neighbor recently made instant pudding with her four year-old twin grandsons. They were shocked that people could actually make pudding as all they had ever had was in Pudding Cups.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't like pudding but once in a while the kids get a Cup from Grandma, so that basically is their experience of pudding. I don't know if they'd be shocked exactly if I made it, since we make all kinds of other things from scratch, but they'd probably be pretty excited. Actually, instant from a box would be even more fun to them than scratch I bet... there is a little magic to it :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  plus they can do it more or less by themselves -- other than making a mess, they can't really hurt anyone or anything by stirring pudding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes I'm actually thinking I will go out and buy some for them, maybe make banana pudding the way my visiting southern aunt taught me when I told her I'd never had it. I made it once with stove top scratch vanilla pudding and was not impressed anyway (JOC did warn me that it requires actual custard not milk-based pudding...).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  About 30 or so years ago, while babysitting my friends little boy, I asked if he would like some french fries for a snack, since we were both a little hungry. He agreed, and I started to peel potatoes and get out the pan to heat up the oil in......poor confused boy pointed to the freezer and tried to help this obviously misguided adult who didn't know where french fries CAME from....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I lovingly sent him outside to play ball with the dog, promising that if he didn't like them he wouldn't have to eat them........smiles all around in a little while! And BTW, today is his birthday, so "Mikey", wherever you are--HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KSlink

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was at a playcentre with my kids once and we started talking with a little boy about 3 or 4 who was playing with play food... fruit and veggies, mostly. He could identify everything except the potato, which even when I told him what it was, he was totally puzzled by. Now it's possible his family cooked a lot, just not with potatoes, but I had to wonder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. they think that it's normal to have boxed beverage, packaged chips, packaged cookies, packaged donuts, packaged sandwiches, yogurt tubes, squeezable applesauce. when did mothers stop preparing their kids lunches for school? where are the lunch boxes and thermos's. oh, yep, I'm dating me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My mother never prepard our lunches for school. Neither did her mother. When my mother was in grammar school she went home for dinner (noon meal was the large meal of the day). When she was in high school they started the school lunch program. My mother was lucky. My grandmother was the head lunch lady and a good cook. Of course my mother's graduating class was only 23.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sigh, unfortunately yes. A couple of students at my school have donuts and juice boxes for their morning snack, and the healthiest lunch they ever have is lunchables. Ten frozen chicken nuggets, a bright red kool-aid squeezer, and a cup of goldfish crackers with two Little Debbie cakes for dessert might be a bit much for a kindergartener. Not that all my packed lunches were super-healthy, but I daresay chicken soup in a thermos plus carrots and celery plus a half a PB&J is at least one large step up from that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        More like half a ladder, I'd say ... isn't it sad to think of all that growth and learning happening with such sad fuel? (Don't get me started on dog food ...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I'm all for broadening a kid's horizons food-wise, but I think we're getting away from the concept that meal-time is when you get needed nutrition into your system. One thing I think kids believe is "normal" today that wasn't the case when I was young (I'm heading for 50 in the next few years...) is that they think every meal is supposed to be "good" in the way we thought having a cook-out or getting carry-out or having Mom make our favorite dinner for out birthdays was "good". I rarely see a family sitting down to a dinner of bean soup, like we did several times a year, usually not too long after we'd had a ham. My mother was old-school Virginia, which may be Southern, but we rarely had fried foods. She baked and boiled everything--to death! BUT, it was all real food and there was always something green on our plates, and we ate plenty of squash and corn and tomatoes and beans in all summer long. She NEVER served us a meal that had potatoes AND corn/pasta/rice/etc., which I see done all the time today to placate these starch-crazed children. And besides the gravy at Thanksgiving, nothing had a sauce or was turned into a casserole swimming in 2 cans of soup with corn flakes or potato chips on top. And nothing was served on plates that look like compartmented toys. There was no need to turn meal-time into an extension of play-time. There was a blob of protein, a blob of starch, a blob of green and sometimes a second/third veg on the plate; that was it. Kids today seem to think everything should come in a bowl of cartoon characters with a dipping sauce on the side. It all reminds me of party food, designed to entertain and placate them. We didn't think it was that strange to eat a few bites of something that didn't taste particularly good--because it was good FOR us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Another thing that is becomoing "normal" these days to see old traditions go out the window at holiday time. I love(d) all my mother's Christmas cookies that were made with lots of butter and nuts. I still make them. Nowadays, when I go to other people's houses, it's TollHouse cookies with red & green M&M's and so many families' trays look like a party-tray for a Kindergarten class. Some of us LIKE fruitcake and Spritz and spice cookies. When we were kids, we understood that the treats at holiday time were for EVERYone from 3 to 103, not just the 12-and-under set.