One of Michael Whiteman’s restaurant trend predictions for 2008, and the only one that seems new, really, is “Gastronomy for Children.” (The full description is available for your reading pleasure after the jump.)
Our immediate reaction to this is, like Grub Street’s, “ew.” But it’s a fine line. Whiteman anticipates the end of the chicken-finger-dependent kids’ menu and, in its place, kid-sized portions of regular menu items. That sounds great—when we have kids, we want them to enjoy all kinds of food and not be afraid to try things.
But, this whole thing could go very, very badly. Have you ever been stuck in line at a cheese shop while some beaming yuppie woman encourages her daughter to learn the difference between sheep’s milk and cow? And the decide what to buy? Oy.
Meanwhile, a certain almost-four-year-old we know will be getting this miniature Misono knife for Christmas this year. Cute? Weird? Please chime in.
#8. GASTRONOMY FOR CHILDREN:
Food for children is the next gastronomic frontier. There’s a raft of cookbooks for young people, including Kids Cook 1-2-3, a big hit in the US, England and Germany, whose author, Rozanne Gold, coined the term “gastro-pups.”
Also very hot: Kids cooking classes are erupting in restaurants and hotels across the country as chefs seek out ways to connect to entire families – and to fill their restaurants during off-hours.
At the same time, parents are rebelling against so-called kids menus – the ones with fried chicken fingers, greasy fish sticks, and gummy spaghetti. Because more and more kids are joining parents at restaurant dining tables, they – and their parents – want real food. That means child-size portions of regular menu items.
Other startups are franchising cooking academies for young people, and websites are devoted to kids and their food. There’s a store in New York selling only kids’ food, and an interesting new venture is selling pre-packed breakfasts, sandwiches and snacks to parents who only have time to shove ready-made components into a lunch bag. Several supermarket chains are selling kid-oriented dinners-in-a-bag as part of their prepared foods offerings.
Watch as beverage companies they try selling their “enhanced” high-priced waters to your children. Crayola – along with a clutch of cartoon characters — has licensed its name for flashy-colored vitamin waters; Honest Tea is pushing pouches of fruit-flavored teas (called Honest Kids) for children; and some companies are packing waters in bottles that can be reused as toys, doing everything possible to make simple tap water appear uncool.