‘They Made Me Eat Testicles’

Kids in restaurants:

With some frequency, I take kids out when reviewing because I want
to see how the restaurant reacts. In my experience, at Asian
restaurants, especially Chinese and Japanese, the staff often willingly
indulge the children. Though obviously it’s not just Asian restaurants.
Loving families will choose restaurants where families and children are
welcome.

There is a class of restaurants that are
inappropriate for kids: ones where you can’t eat in under an hour. Even
adults get antsy.

Pick a place that has food the kid
likes, but encourage and let them explore. Fuck the kids meal, with its
stupid chicken nuggets, if the restaurant doesn’t normally sell that
food. You know, go by the old rule with your kids: “You don’t have to
eat it if you don’t want, but you have to taste it.” That’s how they
learn. All the time, I’m with parents pre-scanning the menu, “Oh, he
won’t like this, he won’t like that.” I take them aside and say, “Oh,
why don’t we experiment? The kid’s hungry. Let’s order all this food.
He’s not going to know what any of this shit is! Let’s just see what
happens.” Nine times out of 10, the kid will look around, make his own
decisions for the first time in his life, and find stuff he likes, even
if it’s just to spite his parents!

A couple of
years ago, we were at a Lebanese restaurant, and the parents were like,
“Oh, he won’t like…” again. And then out came a big old plate of lamb
testicles. They were really cute, they looked like little almonds,
grilled, and they smelled terrific. And the kid just went to town on
those balls!

There are a couple of places in my kid-friendly ‘hood that are decidedly overrun by playdates, and every time I walk by the windows somebody’s darling is smearing nasty graham cracker mush on the tables or licking the glass and then sticking napkins on the spittle. The bakery has clearly become THE meeting spot for the area’s mothers and when I squeeze in there between the strollers to buy bread I feel naked with my lack of a Vera Bradley diaper bag. Which is, you know, fine. Not everything has to be my scene.

There are a couple of other places that manage to be kid-friendly without giving off a “feel free to trash the place, junior, and fuck anybody who doesn’t like it” vibe, like the Italian restaurant near us that is nice without being pretentious and a coffee shop that became suddenly super-child-friendly when the owner had kids. In both of them you can find kids being kids, but if you don’t have a couple of spawn of your own you don’t feel strangely under-dressed, either.

I would actually think shopping with kids would be a more interesting topic, because I’ve seen far more varied parent and kid behaviors in stores than I have in restaurants. Restaurants, unless they’re really snooty, tend to be noisy places anyway, as opposed to, say, book stores.

Maybe I just don’t eat out anyplace so fancy a reasonably energetic child would be an imposition.

A.

6 thoughts on “‘They Made Me Eat Testicles’

  1. pansypoo says:

    what happened to babysitters. i didn’t see a restaurant til i was past kindergarden i am sure.

  2. mothra says:

    Here’s my issue with children in restaurants: their parents. Anymore, it seems that parents do not require their child to sit at the table during the entire meal, and allow them to run about unfettered–and they think this is adorable. I’ll give you adorable: I will take your fucking kid you are allowing to run rampant and sell it to the first black marketeer I meet. Seriously, this shit pisses me off. Why can’t parents teach their children basic manners anymore?
    And don’t get me started on kids in bars. ARRRRGGGGHHHHH! Indeed, what did ever happen to the babysitter?

  3. BlakNo1 says:

    I only go out for stuff I can’t make well at home(i.e.Asian food). I don’t really go anywhere that people bring kids to so it’s not an issue. This was definitely the least of my concerns at the sushi joint today. Anyone who would bring a kid to Ginza is teh crazee.

  4. Oh jeeze – now I have that (kids trashing a bakery – and the moms glomming it up w/their diaper bags…) to fear when I finally get my bakery together… Of course, that’s why I don’t want my bakery to appear ‘cutesy’ and ‘typical’…
    Not that I hate children, but like mothra, I hate parents/attendants that are only there to conduct the little darlings from disaster-opportunity to disaster-opportunity. Hmmm, maybe a place that is order only inside (and my cake atelier) and when the weather permits – bistro seating outside…? 🙂
    When I was a kid – if I didn’t sit my ass down in the booster seat or later chair…it was OVER. There was no running around and being obnox to other diners, tripping waitstaff! They want their little darlings to toddle about unfettered – STAY THE FUCK HOME and order out!
    And my folks used a babysitter (aka my grandparents and the odd real b’sitter) so that they could have a ‘bubble time’ date night.

  5. pansypoo says:

    do bars, i do remember. WI restaurants have bars for waiting. but usually i got to try the drinks at the table. while screwdrivers amd pink ladies were good, gin nasty, i liked those old fashioneds.
    we never strayed from the table.

  6. MapleStreet says:

    Can’t wait till that kid does the perennial “What I did on my summer vacation” report: we went to a restaurant and I had testicles. They were quite tasty, kind of like…
    And Elspeth, when I worked at a local SPCA, I came to the conclusion that those parents that has well behaved kids would generally be able to have well behaved dogs. And those that couldn’t train their kids would likewise be unable to train their dogs.

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