I jut got back from the Ellyn Satter Institute meeting. Another several days of enjoying luscious meals with no diet or pseudo-nutrition talk. What a pleasure!
I’m hunkered down working on a round of copy edits for my book. As I was looking at the section about eating out, I saw that I mentioned Ruby Tuesday’s which has booths and a buffet (two of my critical restaurant criteria with small kids). I felt the urge to make a quick post.
So, the regular broccoli served with an adult meal at RT”s is fantastic. Apparently they use their steak spice and a margarine spray (I was sad to hear that as I prefer butter, but it is delicious). The broccoli is cooked right, still bright green, with a pleasant crunch, but not raw.
Recently M ordered a children’s meal instead of splitting an entree as we usually do, and guess what? The children’s side dish of broccoli was so disappointing! It had no flavor, was overcooked, yellow-green and mushy. What gives?
I suppose if you were a nine-month old with no teeth, having it cooked to that degree is appropriate, but this was so emblematic about how confused this country is around kids and veggies. To RT’s credit, at least there is a veggie option, but come on! Just because they are kids doesn’t mean it should be flavorless and mushy. In fact, the foods we feed children who are learning to like new foods should be fantastic, appealing and flavorful.
In the name of health, or developing tastes, many parents forgo salt, sugar, sauces, or flavor of any kind thinking children should learn to like foods plain. In fact, adding flavor, a little sugar, sauces etc. makes kids more likely to enjoy a variety of foods. (My favorite study title in my bibliography is “Pass the Ketchup, Please.”) My daughter enjoyed guacamole with onions and lime, garlic, onions, butter, salt, brown sugar and various other items I cook with before she was a year old.
Have you had any similar experiences? What are your favorite eating-out finds?