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It’s a chicken-and-egg dilemma: Which came first, kiddie menus or kids who only eat pizza, nuggets and macaroni when dining out?
Maybe kids only order the same five foods because that’s all they’re offered. If little bowls of pho, veggie-studded risotto or curries were on their menus, would they opt for those choices instead? We won’t know until the selections widen.
Recent articles note that children’s palates are broadening. To this trend I say, hallelujah.
Devra First of the Boston Globe recently interviewed several kids who regularly dine on everything from salmon sashimi to baba ghanoush to Thai-style shrimp rolls with spinach. She also spoke with a clinical psychologist, who noted that studies show brightly-colored foods appeal more to kids than monochromatic ones. Last time I checked, chicken nuggets, plain pasta, burgers and grilled cheese all wore varying shades of tan.
Michael Bauer, the San Francisco Chronicle’s restaurant critic, just wrote about this trend as well; he has seen more kids in the city’s upscale eateries. Even T, the New York Times Style Magazine, weighed in. Writer Alexandra Jacobs noted an east coast / west coast divide when it comes to innovative kids' menus, with west coast food haunts a solid step ahead.
So, are the tides finally turning? If they are, how long before restaurants across the nation offer their youngest customers more exciting fare?