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May 30, 2012 12:52 PM

I beleive I have failed as a chowhound parent, and now I must suffer.

My son is not quite 10, going on 16 it seems for the past few years anyhow. He has a pretty daring palate for a kid his age, in fact he will try things that I won't even try.

But bottom line, I have failed to make him appreciate quality.

He got a straight A average for all courses this year in all periods, so we are going to go out to dinner tomorrow night. His first choice... *hangs head* Red Lobster.

Talked out of this by my wife (more for the lack of value than anything) , his second choice is a local Americanized Chinese food joint. The kind where most every entree has one of 4 or 5 different sauces, nothing authentic whatsoever, and no choices for anyone who doesn't want their food drowned in either a cloyingly sweet sauce, a muddled bland brownish sauce, or a watery bland off-white sauce .

Even though Richmond is not flush with great Chinese restaurants, I offered him some alternatives, like Peter Chang's (Great Szechuan) or Full Kee (decent Cantonese) but he would not be dissuaded. He likes the honey shrimp at this other joint.

It really gnaws at me that he would choose such an inferior place. And doubly sad because I tend to have my dinner leftovers for lunch - not going to happen here. So much for value.

Where did I go wrong? (No, it wasn't in letting him pick the place for dinner, that was not my doing. I remember celebration dinners as a kid were chosen by my parents...)

Yes, I am feeling sorry for myself lol. So be gentle.

***EDITED TO ADD*** I also have failed as a speller since I misspelled believe

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  1. He's 10, not 30.

    Don't expect a 10-year-old to make the same choices a 30-year-old does. I'm guessing he still plays Pokemon and acts like a little kid, too -- because he's not that far away from being a little kid.

    If he's still choosing Red Lobster when he's 30 (even if he's got enough money to buy the whole fishing fleet) then you can worry.

    But for now? Let him be a kid.

    17 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      No pokemon, but plenty of Iron Man, and lots and lots of matchbox cars. Fleets of them, it seems.

      Thanks for the reply. I guess it is more just an eye opener for me.

      I know he is just a kid, guess I just overestimated his palate and his good-natured experimentation at some of the better places that we go (especially compared to his brother)

      1. re: PenskeFan

        lol, i was thinking this too: he's only 10! eat before you go, so you don't have to suffer and let your son enjoy himself.

        congrats on the great grades! you're doing a good job, dad.

        1. re: PenskeFan

          give it a few more teen, who ate anything and everything as a tiny kid, subsisted on air for about five years, then proceeded to "somewhat picky" for a few more years....has recently developed a raging appetite that has forced me to rejigger all of my cooking and shopping...

          ...and last night? Was helping clean up the kitchen and was struck by the idea to try putting Speculoos spread on the duck breast left over from dinner (I'd made a LOT, and there really wasn't much left!)

          ..utter quandary -- part of me wanting to go EWWWW!!!! ARE YOU CRAZY???!!!! and the other part (the part that won) saying -- shhhh....shut up -- experimenting with flavors is a sign of becoming a Hound. (and swears it was good....I'll just take the kid's word for it....)

          1. re: sunshine842

            speculoos? wtf is that? it sounds like something you get at the gynecologist.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              google it -- it's a spread intended to be put on toast, made from speculoos cookies.

              (it is occasionally also referred to in some circles as "crack in a jar" -- pretty awesome stuff!)

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                It's a spread made from spiced cookies... sort of like peanut butter in consistency.


                ETA: Sunshine beat me to it!

                1. re: Ditdah

                  from the google. LMAO!


                  Lotus is unrivaled specialist spiced, this biscuit in North thanks to its unique taste and its candy cinnamon.

                  Speculoos are always appreciated to accompany morning coffee or all desserts.

                  In cooking, sweet or savory, this is a true wonder. Lotus had the great idea to create a spread in spiced.

                  This soft and creamy paste has exactly the same unique flavor cookies. It is ideal for your pastries, pancakes and toast in the morning.

                  Of pure greed!

              2. re: sunshine842

                Dorie's Greenspan has a recipe for chicken breasts cooked with cream fraiche and speculoos, so he wasn't that off base. :)

                1. re: Becca Porter

                  really? I may have to dig that up as a surprise!

                2. re: sunshine842

                  Dorie Greenspan makes a chicken dish with cream and speculoos (the cookie, not the spread) and its delicious!

                3. re: PenskeFan

                  Hey, at 30 I have a pretty adventurous palate, would consider myself fairly chowish, and have an appreciation for both serious Chinese and the occasional honey walnut shrimp. Not failed hounding, just a broad appreciation.

                  1. re: Savour

                    but what makes honey walnut shrimp not serious chinese. just because it was created in Hong Kong in the 1980's or 90's doesn't make it less less 'serious'. Numerous chefs around the world are noted for their ability to create seriously great 'fusion' dishes. As far as I'm concerned Honey Walnut Shrimp definitely qualifies, even if the inventor remains oddly obscure.

                4. re: sunshine842

                  I was just going to say the same thing....he's only 10? Cut him some slack!! At least he didn't ask for McDonalds, like most 10 year olds.

                  1. re: coll

                    Read a story the other day of a pediatrician who attended an art opening for her ten year old and his class and was horrified to discover that his art was a giant container of McDonalds fries. Red with golden arches and all.

                    I wouldn't be concerned. Hes only ten. It took me until I was 35 to realize what crap chef boyardee ravioli was. He has time to come around.

                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                      Andy Warhol made a few bucks with an artwork of cream of tomato (?) soup -- why not a box of fries?

                      A statement of the popular consumer culture explored by the young, etc., etc., etc. -- I'm sure someone could write a ridiculously pretentious article declaring it the work of a genius.

                  2. re: sunshine842

                    Totally agreed. I'd be psyched that he wasn't going for chicken nuggets....and a kid who is willing to eat fish that's not a fish stick? Big points there. No worries!

                    1. re: pinehurst

                      Same here. I'm impressed that a 10 year old wanted seafood, even if it's the generic Red Lobster variety. I know plenty of 10 year olds who only want Kraft mac and cheese or fast food chicken nuggets. You're doing well!

                  3. At 10, his palate is still pretty unrefined, and it's craving salt and fat. Coincidentally, Red Lobster and most Americanized Chinese places specialize in salt- and fat-flavored foods. Just keep on keepin' on, and he'll grow out of it. You can bet on it.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ricepad

                      Thanks for the encouragement. He is still the only kid I know who says Brussels Sprouts are one of his top 10 favorites, I guess :)

                      1. re: ricepad

                        At 34 my palate is somewhat refined, and I still crave salt and fat. Just in slightly different forms! Roast pork? Seared foie gras? Butter poached anything? Salt+fat == taste.

                      2. Not to worry. He's choosing what he DOESN'T get at home. Trust me, with good role models his tastebuds will mature.
                        -the parent of a child who ate ONLY fast-food hamburgers and frozen pizzas for 4 long years.-

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: mamachef

                          Great point about what he doesn't get at home :)

                          Yeah I have to admit he does a great job. He ate this chickpea-risotto combination with curry last week. I admit I wouldn't even try it, partly since I don't like chickpeas or curry, and I am not even a fan of risotto

                          His little brother is exact opposite of him - worse than only fast food burgers and pizzas. Only eats 4 or 5 foods and will actually go to point dangerously low blood sugar if we don't feed him something he likes. In the little one's defense, there are food allergies involved , and part of it he is scared of anything different since having an allergic reaction.

                          It is funny how different they are with food, considering how similar they are in other ways and how we have raised them the same.

                          1. re: PenskeFan

                            He likes chickpea-curry risotto and Brussels sprouts at 10yo? Yeah. I'm not a parent, but you're doing A-OK, PenskeFan.

                        2. Don't be too hard on yourself! As others have pointed out, he's 10, and his preferences and choices will change as he gets older. Do the choices you made at that age have any relationship to your choices and preferences today?
                          Hopefully, in a few years (maybe high school or college graduation?!) you'll all have a good chuckle remembering these dinner choices"! I have read studies about kids and sugar - that nothing is sweet enough for them until about puberty - so his craving for the sweet, cloying sauces does have some biological legitimacy.
                          (And maybe you can have a big lunch tomorrow, and have a light dinner)

                          1. If its any consolation, my son at 10, when given a choice on where to eat would choose complete crap - long John silver, taco bell, I hop etc. he's now a sous chef in a Michelin 2 star with a very refined palate (though he still prefers simpler food). I think someone else made the point that he's going for food he doesn't get at home is so true. Give him time.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: katnat

                              Heh, good to know. I actually love simple food, well prepared with high quality ingredients of course.