Are fish sticks the end of everything?

NEW YORK TIMES WRITER Susan Dominus hit a hot spot last week…the children’s menu. With higher prices, not to mention stress levels, I can see how a fast and easy alternative to the regular restaurant menu was born but wonder if it’s a shortcut not worth taking. And I’m not the only one. At last count the article had 132 comments, mostly about how kids seem to be pickier eaters today, and a few others insisting that it’s not fair to judge a family by what foods kids will–and will not–eat. Both valid points. Here she describes meeting Mr. Marzovilla, a restaurateur and father of three:

Nicola Marzovilla runs a business, so when a client at his Gramercy Park restaurant, I Trulli, asks for a children’s menu, he does not say what he really thinks. What he says is, “I’m sure we can find something on the menu your child will like.” What he thinks is, “Children’s menus are the death of civilization.”

The article goes on to describe how Mr. Marzovilla’s children are actually great eaters and that mealtime is the cornerstone of their family unit. It’s an idea that I love. My daughter is only one year old and just starting to eat regular food with us though I hope to make mealtimes a big part of life for all three of us as he does.

Mr. Marzovilla works most evenings, but the children sit down every night at their home in SoHo with his wife, Astrid, for a meal she cooked, usually no later than 6 p.m. It’s such a given that the children do not bother trying to negotiate their way out of it.

“Some parents, it’s important to them that their kids do sports,” Mr. Marzovilla said. “To me, it doesn’t mean a thing. To have this experience with their family is more important.”

So what’s the best way to approach restaurants with kids in tow? And for the brave, how DO you encourage the kids to try something new at restaurants?

And if you’re staying in…

KID-FRIENDLY DINNER IDEAS TO TRY:

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