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Jun 11, 2013 12:49 AM

People who like everything

While I realize posting on CH comes with a little heir of snobbery, I'm sick and tired of going out to eat with people, who no matter how good or how bad, tell the waiter everything was great and tell their fellow diners "mine was terrific." These people seem to always fall into one category....parents who are out without their kids. How is it possible that every meal they have without their kids is so amazing? I just went away with friends and we had the "best" fries, burgers, pasta, pretzels, oysters, clams, chowder, breakfast and beers they've ever had. Which is amazing, because I thought the LAST time we went away we had the best of all of these.

Maybe it's just that I consider myself more knowledgable or maybe I'm a snob, but I love hearing honest opinions about food after a meal and it seems more times than not everyone "loves" their meal and I'm just saying "meh." I guess it is better than my one friend who hates everything and everywhere he goes that he doesn't suggest.

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  1. it's because they're out without their kids so consider the context. no parental vigilance, no being 'the bad guy', no protests of "this is pukey" or "it's touching", no tantrums when service is a bit slow or the sandwich is cut wrong. they get to go anywhere without caring if there's a kids menu. AND they didn't have to make it themselves.

    24 Replies
    1. re: hill food

      Better parenting might cure that, My parents took me everywhere and I was eating escargot at 6 and I don't think I've ever said something was pukey or touching. If you give your kids chicken nuggets every night, you have to deal with that kind of behavior. My parents and most of my childhood friend's parents didn't have to deal with that.

      1. re: jhopp217

        If possible, check in with your parents on that.

        My kids were good eaters and not too bad on the yucky comments. But it was always a pleasure to get a chance to dine without them because you were always on duty with them.

        1. re: 512window

          Okay this made me laugh. In a good way. My memory says I was a good kid to eat out with... but then again my parents didn't take us out to restaurants until ... 3rd or 4th grade I think. And I have firmly fused into my mind the maybe 5 times my dad was ever angry at me as a child. But I bet if you asked them I was a PITA and they loved going out alone and not being "on duty."

          1. re: 512window

            Actually, I don't have to. The stories of me dining out were hilarious. I was eating escargot at six and giving the waiters grief when they tried to explain to me that they werre snails. I once sent back a clam dish at seven at Gage & Tollner's in Brooklyn and the waiter refused to accept the dish was bad, because of my age and the chef came out to apologize, said he tasted it and priased my taste buds and made me something special. My parents were always interested in investigating cuisines and rarely left me at home. Today's parents and children aren't the way it used to be and definitely not for the better. My friend's kids are impossible out and there is nobody to blame but the parents.

            1. re: jhopp217

              <Today's parents and children aren't the way it used to be and definitely not for the better>

              Extreme exaggeration, at the very least. Your palate may be precise, from age 6?, but your analysis of contemporary
              children and their parents could use a little work.
              Once a person has children views on parenting, and the intense 24/7 work it requires, tend to mellow out even the most critical scrutinizer.
              Gotta walk in those shoes.

              1. re: jhopp217

                There are parents who helicopter and are never w/out their children and think everything their kids do in restaurants is precious. And there are parents who want adult conversation on occasion and realize their child isn't the world. The key is raising children who aren't into their preciousness, even into adulthood.

              1. re: jhopp217

                "If you give your kids chicken nuggets every night, you have to deal with that kind of behavior."

                agreed. that's why I don't on either.

                BUT, most do and if you become a parent the odds are that you will as well.

                1. re: Gastronomos

                  Why would you say that? If they never know they exist, why would they expect them. I never had mac and cheese until I was in my 20's. Never had a TV dinner until 16. My parents didn't own a microwave until I was nearly 30 and I use my microwave about once a month now. It's all how you are taught. To this day, the only microwave/toaster oven food I ever buy is pizza for those times I'm in a rush

                  1. re: jhopp217

                    When I hear other parents bemoan the fact their kids only eat nuggets, fries and plain pasta with butter I usually ask them who introduced it and who keeps serving it? These kids aren't grocery shopping for themselves.

                    1. re: foodieX2

                      I'm a single guy, 42, and I ran into my buddy, same age at the supermarket last year. Not one thing in his cart couldn't be made in a toaster over or microwave. Other than fluids, I literally mean, not one thing. Meanwhile, my cart was filled with veggies, steaks, chicken, pork, etc. He was so embarrassed and I tried, without being a jerk, to explain that was the reason his kids were so "picky"

                      1. re: jhopp217

                        I can see your point of view on that, however it isn't necessarily the cause. My mother cooked food from scratch every day for us when we were kids. We lived on a farm and had a huge garden. I was a crazy picky eater. My sister was a normal eater.

                        1. re: jhopp217

                          I have two very picky eaters and I cooked most everything from scratch at the drop of a hat. My problem was if they didn't like what me and my wife were eating I'd make them something that they liked on demand. No doubt I created the monsters.

                          1. re: jhopp217

                            if your assertion was true, i'd expect that all the kids who live in the same household and eat the same food would have similar food preferences and have similar levels of "pickiness."

                            i've not observed that to be true at all.
                            rather, it seems to me that there are wide variations in food preferences and pickiness between the siblings in the same nuclear families that eat the same foods prepared (usually) by the same mother.

                            one family in my circle of friends contains one kid that will only eat bland food while her sibling will happily munch on raw red onions and likes to insert sliced jalepenos into her cheese sandwich. go figure.

                            your speculation about cause and effect isn't supported by my observations.

                            1. re: westsidegal

                              Westsidegal is absolutely correct.

                              I've also seen families where 1 kid is "normal" (whatever that means) eating pretty much whatever is put in front of them by omnivore parents, and the other one is insufferably picky. Why is that second child picky? Same parents, same gene pool, same environment, same food on the table every single day.

                              And then you get the ones who go from eating pretty much everything to being incredibly picky overnight....nothing's changed from the parent/food standpoint...

                              And then the most fun -- the ones whose "pickies" vary over time.

                        2. re: jhopp217

                          I agree. I still don't own a microwave and I don't feed my kids mystery chicken nuggets. but most do. odds are, like I stated above, most will continue to.
                          you and I are a rare breed.

                          1. re: Gastronomos

                            I know. Even David Chang and Thomas Keller use microwaves. How déclassé.

                            1. re: ChefJune

                              Isn't it obvious? The more a person thinks he has all the answers on child rearing, the more removed he is from kids.

                              1. re: chowser

                                you are so right chowser.
                                a girlfriend of mine has raised seven kids.
                                she once told me this:
                                "before i had kids, since i came from a large family, i thought i knew all about raising kids.
                                now that i've successfully raised seven kids of my own, i realize that i really knew nothing about raising kids then and that i don't have all the child-rearing answers even now"

                        3. re: jhopp217

                          My kids were eating escargot, and everything else we did, at an early age also. It didn't preclude the fact they were *children* who were self-centered, oftentimes tired and not very patient.
                          We were loving, patient and understanding, for the most part, and they *still* went through the normal and very healthy adolescence period.
                          We took them everywhere, also, but boy was it nice to have some free time from all that's *children* so we could focus on the *adult* that's not expected from them.

                          1. re: latindancer

                            true just because we ate escargot with the parental units we still had to be taught not to take the shells and make them "crawl;" across the table and talk to each other. I am sure it was exhusting for mom to be "on gaurd" at all times to catch any behavior before it happened ( almost like Sylvia Brown) . So off the would go on a " Grown up only evening" promising to bring me a take away bag :(

                      2. In addition to having a night away from their kids - I think for a lot of people it's probably more under the category of politeness than genuinely thinking everything is terrific.

                        If a friend suggests we go to X restaurant because it's their absolute favorite place for Y item - and we go, and it's nice - not amazing but nice, maybe a minor complaint here or there - it's easier socially to just say "this is quite lovely - what a nice recommendation". For a lot of people being critical feels like being rude or impolite, so it's just a knee jerk reaction to be overly complimentary.

                        I think it takes finding a very special group of friends (or just one friend) who like food and are open with being a bit critical without it feeling like being a Debbie Downer or overly negative.

                        1. My mom does this. Hey, if she's happy about everything she eats, then good for her. I can usually come up with something nice to say about a restaurant and she doesn't pick horrendous places. And she lives 900 miles away so it's not an ongoing thing. Not everybody is really into food and that's fine.

                          1. Not everyone is brought up to give an honest opinion about everything. My mother would never tell friends her meal was nasty, although she might do so later to family once she got home. So maybe your friends were brought up similarly?

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: Isolda

                              Many people in this culture do not want to knowingly criticize other peoples choices, especially when a guest. And how many want to hear the truth?

                              "Does this dress make me look fat?"

                              Internal response, bite my tongue, "Search for one that will make you look thin."

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  "No, sweetheart. It's the size of your ass that makes you look fat."

                                  1. re: ricepad

                                    no honey youre not fat it is just you married a minature asshole of a man who has a napolean complex and has to put you down to feed his ego in order to feel big and make up for his own shortcomings

                                      1. re: girloftheworld

                                        "No honey, you look like Chris Farley in a speedo, but just to make you happy I'm going to lie to you and tell you that tube top and pair of daisy dukes looks great with your muffin top and cottage cheese thighs and not give a second thought to the people laughing at you as you walk down the street and THEIR effect on your self esteem. Just so long as I don't hurt your feelings."

                                        1. re: PotatoHouse

                                          "It's late, I'm drunk, and you're not THAT fat."

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            She's a "2" at 10 and a "10" at 2...

                                          2. re: PotatoHouse

                                            Well, at least women ask. Men parade their keg-like bellies around like it's an achievement.

                                  2. re: Isolda

                                    I never meant to imply people should do this at someone's house...ever

                                  3. You are right in that it is far better than the guy who hates everything. I would much rather spend a meal with a person who has a positive disposition as their default.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: jpc8015

                                      Agreed. I'm a really shitty food dick sometimes. I have actually conceded to my wife that I will not talk about anything I've cooked for us until she has finished eating. That way she can enjoy the food before I start the "I shouldda taken the steak off the grill forty-five seconds earlier . . . ."

                                      That bein' said. If I go to dinner and my guests rave about the food. I see no reason to take it in any way but positive.

                                      I mean, if you wake up in the morning next to a beautiful, naked lady and the first thing she says is "Last night was FANTASTIC." Revel in the moment.

                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        Revel in the moment-I think that's the take away. Period.

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          I think another thing that probably relates to being critical of food (whether our own or someone else's) is how much someone likes to cook. I love cooking as an activity separate from eating, so if I've spent x amount of time cooking and it turns out really bad, it's a bummer - but it doesn't make me think that I've wasted the time cooking. It's just an unfortunate law of averages where every now and then I'll stumble. So for cases of "45 seconds less on the steak" - that's more of a mental note for me to maximize enjoying cooking along with enjoying eating a better meal.

                                          However, my grandmother hated cooking. Any meal not made by her would always taste infinitely better to her than anything she made. So every time she would eat out, it was the best meal ever because it was that escape from cooking which she ultimately did not enjoy - no matter how the results tasted.

                                          1. re: MGZ

                                            Yeah, well, if she says "Last night night was the best ever." Jump up and down on the bed and pound your chest. Oh, and call her later that night.

                                            1. re: MGZ

                                              no need to snob our chowhoundedness down everyones throat I guess. most don't care. and those very few that do are on these boards and with very differing opinions.

                                              MGZ: " I'm a really shitty food dick sometimes. I have actually agreed with my wife that I will not talk about anything I've cooked for us until she has finished eating. That way she can enjoy the food before I start the "I shouldda taken the steak off the grill forty-five seconds earlier . . . ."

                                              yep. same here. except I forget often and still talk too much about it all during breakfast lunch and dinner. I guess that's also why I end up doing most all of the cooking ... despite I am NOT the only good cook in the house.

                                              as for out without kids. well, if you get to actually sit in peace and eat. your. food. in peace it tastes so much better. anything but "I gotta go potty" JUST as the food comes to the table. and any other distractions from your eating and enjoying any food stuff at all...

                                              "meh" is over 99% of the time what I find to eat out. even in the "best places". even without the kids. many friends and family don't suggest places to eat out anymore. CPK was the last straw for me as everyone enjoyed their salads and I left all my food on the plate and went hungry.

                                              So I cook at home. and it intimidates all my guests so they are often worried about "cooking for me".

                                              it's difficult as a chowhound to please everyone. especially yourself.

                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                While I wasn't talking about home cooked meals, I am just like you. If I cook for myself (not married), I beat myself up over what I could have done....but I brag like a 3-star chef when it comes out the way I want.