It seems that kids don’t want to eat like kids; or at least a certain sort of parent doesn’t want them to.
The Prepubescent Epicure as Ultimate Foodie Accessory
It goes beyond the desire of parents to raise an adventurous eater or to share a love of food with their children. It’s a badge of honor for the urban sophisticate; instead of comparing notes on traditional childhood milestones like first steps and shoe-tying, parents claim bragging rights to the child that can handle an escargot fork or requests duck confit in their lunch box. A new tooth is cause for celebration because now the little one can finally have his own artichoke.
Into and Out of the Mouths of Babes
Here are select outtakes from the haute world of kid cuisine:
- The Brooklyn Paper explores the coffee culture of the borough’s youngest cafe habitués, ‘tots ditching their bottles and juice boxes in favor of “babyccinos” — mini decaf cappuccinos.
- ‘Down from heaven came the crab. It was enclosed in the zucchini flower, doused with black truffle sauce, topped with shaved truffles…’
–from the blog of 12 year-old David Fishman, aka the Middle School Food Critic, whose reviews have appeared in GQ Magazine.
- Birthday Cake Two Ways in which a food blogger tells of serving a wheel of truffle-infused aged goat cheese ‘with three white candles plunged into its earthy skin‘ in lieu of a cake to celebrate her daughter’s 3rd birthday
- C is for Chanterelle, K is for Kobe Beef in My Foodie ABC, a bestselling alphabet primer
- A New York Times roundup of kid-friendly meals includes a $32 child-sized serving of spaghetti with butter at the Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon
Of course there’s nothing wrong with teaching kids about good food. Their young immune systems can’t handle certain raw foods; otherwise, let them experiment. But the notion of tiny, discriminating epicures is a figment of the narcissistic parent’s imagination.
‘Oliver Stern, 3, who lives on the Upper East Side and attends a private nursery school there, won’t eat Chinese unless it’s the $33 crispy beef from Mr. Chow‘
–from Twee-sine, the New York Posts’ look at the twee cuisine phenomenon, as proudly reported by his mother
According to the Monell Chemical Senses Center children have childish tastes that serve an evolutionary function by helping them get appropriate nutrition. They prefer sweet to savory, need higher levels of salt, react powerfully to strong odors, and are more drawn to textures than taste.
A child’s tastebuds are immature. Their palates are just plain unrefined, physically incapable of truly rarefied discernment. There have always been picky eaters and kids who throw temper tantrums over Happy Meals. Thanks to indulgent parenting, now they’re stamping their little feet over a $32 plate of Mr. Chow’s crispy beef.