There is a bit of an uproar going on about BHG's latest magazine article titled "The 10 Commandments of dining with kids".
By Heather W. of Better Homes & Gardens
Let me be clear: I am not anti-kid. I adore children in all their lovable, spontaneous, energetic glory. However, in recent years, I’ve noticed a pronounced blurring of the boundaries between “adult world” and “kid world”, especially when it comes to dining out. Those seeking romantic, contemplative dining may find themselves irked by erstwhile tots in a refined restaurant -- but I don't think anyone is ready to institute a kid ban. Really, we can all get along...
With this in mind, BHG.com offers our ten commandments for kids in upscale restaurants -- gentle reminders for parents and non-parents alike -- as well as kid-friendly recipes for creating your own restaurant experience at home.
THOU SHALT NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC WITH BULKY STROLLERS
Strollers have begun to overtake cars and wristwatches as conspicuous status symbols. You may be proud of your double-wide Maclaren, but be sure not to leave it jutting out in a place where waiters and other patrons might trip over in transit.
Leave the stroller at home and indulge your family with this melty, tasty Chicken and Cheese Panini.
THOU SHALT NOT ORDER A 10-COURSE TASTING MENU WITH KIDS UNDER 10
Kids, as we all know, have kid-sized attention spans. Attempting to make them sit still while you enjoy a world-renowned chef’s esoteric, glacially-paced tasting menu isn’t going to be a pleasant experience for anyone.
For a fast meal your kids will still savor, whip up this Quick Crunchy Chicken Dinner.
THOU SHALT NOT TREAT YOUR SERVER LIKE A SITTER
Your server is there to accommodate you, but customer service has its limits. While most waiters are happy to engage and amuse your little one, it's bad form to delegate your child-minding duties to the person taking your sea bass order.
Let your kids serve themselves with our Best Yummy Mexican Meals.
THOU SHALT NOT BREAST FEED AT THE TABLE
Yes, I have seen table-side breast feeding at a four-star restaurant. If at all possible, take it to the ladies room. (Note: most upscale restaurants have really nice restrooms!)
If you're breastfeeding, you likely want to cook something quick, easy, and protein-rich; we love this Speedy Bow Tie Pasta Dinner.
THOU SHALL FEEL FREE TO ORDER "KID FOOD" OFF THE MENU
Most restaurants are happy to provide kid-friendly cuisine, so don’t hesitate to ask, just keep in mind you may experience sticker shock (e.g., $23 for pasta with butter)
For a filling and savory twist on basic spaghetti, try these hearty Filled Pasta Entrees.
THOU SHALL NOT TURN DINNER INTO A PHOTOSHOOT
It’s exciting to see your little one all dressed up at the table, and special occasions and birthdays are naturally conducive to photos, but overzealous documentation with flash photography, flip-cams, and camcorders can be distracting to fellow diners.
Say "cheese" with these ten tasty Macaroni and Cheese recipes.
THOU SHALT NOT BRING NOISY TOYS
It’s wise to bring a few of your kid’s favorite toys for their amusement but try not to bring excessively loud games and bleep-blooping electronic toys -- or at least be sure there’s a volume-off button.
Keep their hands busy with a finger-food meal, such as this tasty Buffalo Wing Dinner.
THOU SHALL TRY TO QUELL HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMING
Unexpected tantrums and outbursts are a fact of life, but when a parent sits stoically as their child screams without any intervention, the mood of the room can quickly turn from convivial to incredulous to profoundly irritated.
They'll be screaming with joy for these homemade Mini Pizzas With Pizazz.
THOU SHALT NOT ALLOW FREE-RANGE KIDS
When you let your child run free in the restaurant, it’s not only disruptive to other diners, but it could be a safety hazard: Restaurants are full of hot plates and sharp cutlery, and kids underfoot could cause a major disaster.
Keep them planted happily in their seats with this zesty, crunchy Skillet Tostada Dinner.
THOU SHALL CALMLY DISCOURAGE FOOD FIGHTS
Ah, the food fight. The epitome of fun at summer camp and grade school cafeterias -- less so at Michelin-starred eateries. If the food starts flying, quietly and firmly put an end to it.
And if your kids politely make their way through the meal without incident, treat them to a well-deserved Dessert treat.
I took issue with a few of the so-called Commandments, but especially the breastfeeding in the bathroom. As most of us know, that can be pretty darn disgusting. Some women are more timid than I. And wherever they want to nurse is fine by me, even if they choose to do it in the bathroom. I have to admit that I did it once when my first born was only a few weeks old. We went to a surprise party and there was no where to sit down and I was too embarrassed to ask for a seat. So, I went to the bathroom and fed her. It was awful and I never did it again.
A magazine aimed at women and especially mothers has got to get their head on right. I hope this seriously hurts their pocketbook and makes them think twice about writing an article to shame a mother's feeding choice.