Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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experimental restaurant for children
  (+12, -3)(+12, -3)
(+12, -3)
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Children are picky eaters. There is a biological reason for this. As hunter-gatherers, children had to be able to distinguish between foods that would make them sick and those that were safe to eat. Nature often says "poison" with a bitter taste. Humans therefore evolved to accentuate this aversion in children, as it gave them time to learn through experience which bitter plants were edible and which were not.

I don't believe that most children who are picky eaters are simply being stubborn or disrespectful. Some simply have a heightened physiological (and probably psychologically hard-wired) aversion to foods that are new or "funny" tasting.

There are cookbooks aimed at children (The Baby Bistro and Spatullata are two) that have healthy food that young kids will like the first time about 90% of the time. Simple ingredients, avoidance of spicy spices (though kids seem to love sweet paprika), and simple, well-balanced flavor combinations make the food palatable for kids.

This would be a standard restaurant setup, with food that is specifically tailored to the tastes of children of various age groups. Toddlers love bland stuff, little kids are a little more adventurous, and my oldest child will eat smoke mozzarella-stuffed lamb burgers.

So they are given a choice. Every meal comes with an appetizer of sorts, which is a tiny version of the entree in three different versions. For instance, the grilled cheese sandwich could be done as AC on wheat, CC on wheat, and huntsman's on rye. The soup could from simple chicken soup to a ginger chicken soup to a french version with chanterelles and white wine.

The menus list the entree choices, and the kids are able to choose from the three versions. Other "entree apps" are available for a nominal price.

Orders are taken on a smart pad, and the kids are able to give themselves a number or nickname that tracks their tastes and preferences. This also allows some pretty simple software to make suggestions based upon ingredients. In subsequent trips, the children are presented with a fourth tasting app according to these suggestions. If they pick the tasting app as the entree, they get to taste the bolder versions as well.

At the end of the evening, everyone gets a printout of how their taste adventurousness is coming along. It could have cool charts and graphs representing their willingness to eat more grownup and diverse and healthy foods.

You would have to have a very cool and patient staff to pull this off, and you would have to be set up to break entree portions down into mini portions.

Of course, there are adult-sized portions for the big people.

nomocrow, Jul 15 2010

//Of course, there are adult-sized portions for the big people.// http://online.wsj.c...43130457388718.html
[mouseposture, Jul 16 2010]


       Bun, bun or bun. Take your pick.
shudderprose, Jul 15 2010

       I like this.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 15 2010

       //most children who are picky eaters are simply being stubborn or disrespectful//   

       It's the parents' responsibility to teach their children about food; what's good/bad for you, what's appropriate for breakfast, lunch or dinner, what's available and/or affordable, etc. If there's a genuine physiological problem (such an alergic reaction) then it may be appropriate to tailor the child's diet accordingly, but on the whole, the child who just wants to eat chocolate and crisps (that's candy and chips to some) and kicks up a fuss if given meat and vegetables should be brought into line with the rest of the world. How this is done is a matter for the parents to decide; mental or physical torture may be effective - perhaps toned down to socially acceptable levels along the lines of withdrawal of privileges or being told to sit on the naughty step.
Tulaine, Jul 15 2010

       And for desert? Nose Pickies of course. Sorry that's a bit disgusting.
xenzag, Jul 15 2010

       I thought this would be a place that pays children money for each bite of something new that they eat.
phundug, Jul 15 2010

       This idea contravenes the First Law of Juvenile Nutrition, which states that "If the little buggers are hungry enough, they'll eat it".   

       Have a fishbone. See if you can get kids to eat it; we can.   

       // toned down to socially acceptable levels //   

       [Tulaine], you're going soft. Get a grip.
8th of 7, Jul 15 2010

       [Tulaine] I'm not talking about kids who eat only chips and candy; that's bad parenting. I'm talking about kids' natural aversion to certain tastes due to the physiological makeup of their taste buds.   

       [8th] Pppbbbllltt!
nomocrow, Jul 16 2010

       I like the idea. My daughter has been 'experimenting' with cooking one night a week and a gradual food primer would have spared some of the uh, savorier delicacies.   

       good times   

       [zeno] I would argue that you have exceptionally cool kids.
nomocrow, Jul 16 2010

       // ...very cool and patient staff ...   

       uhmm ... so you are saying this staff will be paid enough money to deal with:   

       "I want an apple" ... "now no" .... "now yes" ... "not this one, the other one" ... "now orange" ... "now no" ...   

       .. how many figures are we talking about here?
ixnaum, Jul 16 2010

       Probably high fives. It's an experiment, so there should be some way to get a grant.
nomocrow, Jul 16 2010

       It's the name that makes me squeamish. Sounds too much like a place with buggers all over the walls. As xenzag pointed out.
blissmiss, Jul 17 2010

       sp: boogers   


       Shit, can't even spell snot right.
blissmiss, Jul 18 2010

       Okay, no more booooooger connotation.   

nomocrow, Jul 18 2010

       From "Picky's" to "kiddie eats"? Really? Perhaps I just don't share the particular gross association (from "Picky's" to "picking one's nose"), but that name changed from cute and accurate to vague and a bit patronizing. "Choosy's"?
jutta, Jul 18 2010

       Yeah, that was kind of dumb.
nomocrow, Jul 18 2010

       Hey, just call it Boogers. Kid's will flock. The slogan can be "If you want to pick, pick Boogers!".   

       Also, I am curious and concerned as to what "gross association" is conjured up by "kiddie eats" in jutta's mind.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 18 2010

       I think she was talking about the association with picky and boogers.
nomocrow, Jul 19 2010

MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 19 2010


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