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Children, parents, restaurants, manners, etiquette... - Page 3

post #41 of 200
Thread Starter 

I agree contactmaya.  I think this was an egregious example in what ignoring manners (and kids) result.  I *don't* think this is the norm... it was just an incident that got me thinking.

 

And meemee... surroundings, yes, TV, no.  It's not like dh and I act like animals when at the table while simultaneously telling dd to daintily dab the corners of her mouth.  Media... she's just not exposed to it like other kids her age.  Personal choice, works for our family.  You say you don't believe in teaching, but you seem O.K. with TV teaching your child things.  There seems to be a contradiction.  It sounds like your dd is just able to figure out how to navigate life without you to teach her, and you are lucky to have a child like that.  Most parents believe that teaching, i.e. discipline (gentle, hopefully) is helpful for children to learn the easy way, rather than the hard way.

post #42 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

It's not like dh and I act like animals when at the table while simultaneously telling dd to daintily dab the corners of her mouth.  

velochic just to clarify i know you and ur dh dont act like animals. and i hope i never implied that.

 

and talking about napkins i cant daintily dab the corners of my mouth - unless i am wearing lipstick (which i rarely do) or eating toast. i enjoy a nice strong wipe. which is why it was funny watching dd do it. 

 

from your other posts i know you do things differently than me - but at the base level i think we have the same philosophy. i have really appreciated some of your posts opinions even on threads not related to me. i want u to know i respect you as a parent. 

post #43 of 200
Thread Starter 

And I, you, meemee.  We don't have to do things the same way to achieve similar results.  That's the cool thing about AP - a parent can get good results doing things different ways because they are in-touch enough to follow their children's lead, be aware of their environment, and use information to their advantage.  On THAT, I think we can both agree! thumb.gif

post #44 of 200

I expect them not to disrupt others experience.  That is the bottom line.  

I expect them to treat other diners, staff and premises respectfully.

 

I have not found kids to be the most annoying in restaurants - it is almost always the loud groups (with kids or not) who seem to generate the most noise and disruption.

post #45 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I expect them not to disrupt others experience.  That is the bottom line.  

I expect them to treat other diners, staff and premises respectfully.

 

I have not found kids to be the most annoying in restaurants - it is almost always the loud groups (with kids or not) who seem to generate the most noise and disruption.


I have to agree. I've come across a few very disruptive kids, but far more disruptive adults. There are a lot of people who take "I'm paying for this meal, and I should be able to enjoy it" to an extreme that ignores the fact that other patrons are also paying for their meal, and also want to enjoy it. There are the ones who monopolize serving staff, even when the restaurant is crowded...the ones who talk loudly on cellphones, or (in smaller places) shove their chairs back so the person behind them is almost on their own table...the ones who have very loud conversations, sometimes including swearing and/or sexual comments, etc. They're the ones I dread sharing restaurant space with.

 

post #46 of 200

 

 

Quote:
Don't get me wrong, when dd was a toddler, we lived in Germany and ate at the biergarten where she could play on the equipment while snatching bites.  But we knew she wasn't ready for a nice restaurant or even a casual family restaurant.  We waited until she was ready.... out of respect of others.  Why can't this be reciprocated?  And how can this be ignored until a kid is 7 or 8 years old?

 

When my kids were little we didn't go to restaurants much, partly due to the cost of 5 people.  The bigger reason though is it's easy to make sure 1 kid is behaving exactly as we want them to.  It's much harder when you have 3, especially if they're close in age.   When we only had our oldest we went out more often, there were 2 of us to pay attention to what she needed.  When we had 3 we didn't start going out with them to restaurants until they were 5, 6 & 9.  We had 1 really bad experience when they were younger than that, not their behaviour just stuff being spilled & dumped on food.

 

We've never had customers ruin our meals for us, whether we've gone out as a family or alone.  We've had staff ruin meals.

post #47 of 200

Disclaimer:  I am looking at this through the eyes of a parent with sensory processing disorder/ASD.  

 

Considering the age of the boy, I wonder if he had some special needs. Maybe he did and the parents are just so worn out from dealing with it day in and day out that they escaped by texting and otherwise ignoring his behavior. I am not saying this to excuse the parents because they should have intervened, no doubt about it. 

 

My ds is often seen as having poor table manners because he takes an ipod or Nintendo ds with earphones with him when we eat out. He does this because the experience is pure torture for him unless he has help blocking it out. We are often looked at crossly for allowing him to do this, not that we care.

 

I know my example is nowhere near as extreme as your experience, however, I just wanted to throw a thought out there. Maybe things aren't exactly as they seemed.

 

Regardless of the circumstances, the parents were rude. They were rude to their child by ignoring him and rude to others by ignoring his behavior.

 

 

 

 

post #48 of 200
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kathymuggle View Post

I expect them not to disrupt others experience.  That is the bottom line.  

I expect them to treat other diners, staff and premises respectfully.

 

I have not found kids to be the most annoying in restaurants - it is almost always the loud groups (with kids or not) who seem to generate the most noise and disruption.


I agree.   As I said, in casual places, there are just as many adult cell phone users and loud talkers that disrupt.   These people, though, are often raising kids, so what example are they giving?

post #49 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post




I have to agree. I've come across a few very disruptive kids, but far more disruptive adults. There are a lot of people who take "I'm paying for this meal, and I should be able to enjoy it" to an extreme that ignores the fact that other patrons are also paying for their meal, and also want to enjoy it. There are the ones who monopolize serving staff, even when the restaurant is crowded...the ones who talk loudly on cellphones, or (in smaller places) shove their chairs back so the person behind them is almost on their own table...the ones who have very loud conversations, sometimes including swearing and/or sexual comments, etc. They're the ones I dread sharing restaurant space with.

 


Oh, that is true! Now I'm not saying that I hate it when you go out and are near a group that is just sitting there drinking and swearing! That just happened to us last weekend.

 

post #50 of 200

about waiting tables:  i too have done my time in the food service industry.  i wasn't falsely nice to people, but i can tell you the cardinal sin of restaurant going is not a screaming child-- it is a parent who does not clean up in the least after a cracker throwing fest.  i have a messy child myself, but i ALWAYS clean up, i wipe the floor with a damp napkin and neatly pile the trillion (paper  - we don't go to the restaurants with the other kind ;) ) napkins on the table.  not to derail, but it is ridiculous to expect someone whose job it is to bring you quickly and correctly the food you ordered to sweep up and clean food out of cracks because you are too much of a slacker to clean up after your own kid.  frequently, too, it is not the bussing staff that does this-- they're too busy and loaded down.  or, ok, if your kid makes a humongous mess, then tip big.  tip that person who is cleaning up after you.  if not, THAT is a crappy restaurant going parent.  

 

us:  we don't tend to go to fancy restaurants.  our favorites are not upscale places, we cannot afford it, nor do we enjoy stuffy (read: child-unfriendly) atmospheres.  we don't let our kid(s) run around, that is not safe for anyone.  at this point, dd eats like a toddler (see above).  manners aren't really important to us overall, though i personally was raised to know which fork to use and even how to eat at a place where they push in your chair and swap out your silverware.  that's just a social nicety for the upper class, about which i couldn't care less at this point.  but, you know, if that's your thing, those environments are either most likely anti-child or accepting of the older child who sits quietly with napkins and went to etiquette class.  i wouldn't think it would be acceptable to roll in with your shrieking, food-smearing toddler. 

 

expectations change with age.  i don't have many with dd under two, but as an older kid, i would expect the same as for suppers at home, quiet conversation without food in the mouth speaking, just calm in general (which is the opposite of toddler life atm).  food sharing is not for screaming or running around once kids can understand not to do so.  the kid in velochic's description sounds like he needed some parental guidance for sure.  i hate those stupid phones in public places. 

post #51 of 200

I don't mind loud or interactive kids, or adults, in restaurants.  It's a public place and I am there partly for the social experience!  As long as no one is pouring a drink in my lap or peering pretentiously over my shoulder to examine which direction I spoon up my soup, I'm cool with other diners.  I don't go to a public place to have a "peaceful" experience, or to pretend that others aren't sharing the space with me.

 

I used to tip well when there was a mess left at our table when our son was young - if I'm at a restaurant it's the staff's job to clean up, and I have never heard any different.

 

When I do very occasionally see a display of bad manners from children, I always assume that child is just having a bad day, and try to cut the family some slack.  I don't think I've ever met a parent who thought, "Hey, yanno what?  Let's go take the family out to a restaurant, just so we can blow a lot of money ruining the experience of OTHER DINERS bwahahahaha!"

post #52 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post

about waiting tables:  i too have done my time in the food service industry.  i wasn't falsely nice to people, but i can tell you the cardinal sin of restaurant going is not a screaming child-- it is a parent who does not clean up in the least after a cracker throwing fest.  i have a messy child myself, but i ALWAYS clean up, i wipe the floor with a damp napkin and neatly pile the trillion (paper  - we don't go to the restaurants with the other kind ;) ) napkins on the table.  not to derail, but it is ridiculous to expect someone whose job it is to bring you quickly and correctly the food you ordered to sweep up and clean food out of cracks because you are too much of a slacker to clean up after your own kid.  frequently, too, it is not the bussing staff that does this-- they're too busy and loaded down.  or, ok, if your kid makes a humongous mess, then tip big.  tip that person who is cleaning up after you.  if not, THAT is a crappy restaurant going parent.  

 

 


I don't generally completely clean up, but we make at least some effort, especially if the mess is really bad. We also figure it into our tip. If I'm leaving someone to clean up dropped noodles, crackers, etc., then I think they should received additional monetary compensation. I don't clean up the floors much - a lot of the places we eat seem to have carpet (admittedly with VERY short pile), and the staff have a carpet sweeper, so they can do the job much more efficiently than I can. But, I do clean up most of the mess on the tabletop and/or seats.

 

post #53 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post



I have no clue what you are talking about with any of this here LOL!! I had no idea there was a 'right' way to eat bread or that it was possible to spoon soup away from you etc. I wonder how many people I have offended. bag.gif
 


There's a big difference between table manners, which vary a lot not just from culture to culture but even by region within a culture, and basic respect. Dripping sauce on someone else isn't respectful. Eating with the correct hand in Ethiopia or slurping your noodles and belching to show your pleasure with a Chinese meal are table manners - good to know, but not quite in the same category, IMO, as actually being disruptive.

 

My DH and I went through a French Laundry phase and my DH also used to be in a role where he was cooking for (minor) royalty, and really, the classiest stance is to be concerned for the comfort and ease of others, not for all the little rules.



Quote:
Sorry, but not only is that crass (to not put too fine a point on it), it also says, "my kid can make the biggest damn mess they want and I'm not going to teach them how to behave in a restaurant, I'm going to just try to control the damage."  The fact that it's needed means they're not ready for restaurants and parents need to get a clue.  Teach a child manners, and tip well.  Heck, even at places like Denny's (if we ate there), I wouldn't do something like that.

 

When you say "the thing is dd is impeccably polite. not just thru her surroundings but also through movies" means, I can only assume that you're letting TV teach your child how to behave in public?  You're right... we are completely opposite.  My dd doesn't get her cues from TV, she gets them from us.  As uptight and strict as we may seem, she *is* in social situations where the minutia matter.  This isn't the lifestyle everyone chooses for their child, but I would hope that by 7 or 8 years old, no matter how it's accomplished, children have learned respect and how to live among the masses.


I think learning about manners can happen all kinds of ways. We did, with my nephews, and with a 6 year old are starting again, monthly meals where we would break out fancy and/or specific dishes & cutlery (collected at garage sales), cook a particular cuisine, go over the etiquette for that area or particular food, and have some fun with it while also teaching some table etiquette. The sort of fantasy aspect kept it interesting. Then they have the information.

 

I don't believe in making meal times really tense or being a finer-points-of-etiquette arbitrator. I agree that kids need to learn this stuff just for their own comfort and ease as they grow, but the key here is learn it - when they are older then they can make the choice. (I don't mean not correcting really gross behaviours, but stuff like how to butter the roll.) I really have never wanted my table to be about correcting each other; I want it to be somewhere we all come together to share food and our day and care about each other. The pea eating method (British vs. American) for example is something I've seen Brit-leaning parents go ballistic about and I just think well, ok, but this is the kind of thing that's so fun and easy to talk about with an 11 or 12 year old; if a 5 year old is getting peas onto a fork and into mouth that's pretty good.

 

For the more basic stuff (don't run around, don't play with the butter, etc.) I found taking my son to something like a local diner at the off-peak hours was a great way to get him familiar with the expectations and practicing. There was table service but it wasn't fussy or expensive as lessons go, and it's supporting a local business. But really there's no substitute for just being "on" as a parent at the meal itself.

 

There isn't one set of rules either, which we like to get across. A clambake is different than a formal Chinese meal. And commenting on other people's etiquette is not ok in our family.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SneakyPie View Post

 

When I do very occasionally see a display of bad manners from children, I always assume that child is just having a bad day, and try to cut the family some slack.  I don't think I've ever met a parent who thought, "Hey, yanno what?  Let's go take the family out to a restaurant, just so we can blow a lot of money ruining the experience of OTHER DINERS bwahahahaha!"


I agree with this in general. We do have a bottom-line removal policy: If the meal's not going well on the critical points (no running, shrieking, disrupting others, inappropriate pushing around of food/table settings/etc.), we leave right then. It's not about the fanciness of the restaurant, either - it's a bottom-line rule we have.

 

With my older son it only took once. My younger's just 7 months but I suspect, from his basic personality, we might have to do it a few times. For a while we always brought enough cash just to speed up the process. :-)

 

post #54 of 200


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

I'm sure you know where this is going.  This has, I'm sure, been discussed before, but I can't find old threads (heck, I can't find anything here anymore!).  I hope to keep this civil.

 

I'm wondering about dining out and what is expected, not just from the children, but the parents, as well, in different situations.  I'm speaking specifically of different types of sit-down restaurants.  From the one-step-up-from-fast-food places like Outback Steakhouse and Red Lobster to the fine dining restaurants that have a tasting menu and wine pairings that are $250/person.  What should the expectation of manners from children of various ages be in these places?  Beyond manners, I think that there is a set of dining etiquette rules that is necessary for these different situations and I wonder what kids are, in general, being taught these days.  I'm also thinking of what parents are or are not doing in various situations where parenting *needs* to take place because of disruption.

 

Had an interesting experience last night and it got me thinking about this again.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post




As I said in the OP, really I'm asking about all ages.

 

When you talk of "fancy manners" and "loose manners", what does that mean?  Manners are manners.  You should use them anywhere, IMO.  However, different dining environments, I think, require different dining ETIQUETTE and that was kind of what I was thinking about.

 

 

I am first wondering why you assume one needs one set of manners for a restaurant such as Outback and another for a nicer, more expensive establishment.  Manners are manners as you so thoughtfully say later yet you seem to want to belittle places which are less than $250 per person.  One should have the same respect for oneself and for those dining around them at Outback as one does at The French Laundry.  The economic bracket of an establishment does not set the tone for manners.  One should exhibit good manners no matter where you are.
 

I think the only thing that would change is one's style of dress and perhaps once's conversation level.  Because truly, manners are manners and yes, even at McDonald's I'm going to put my napkin in my lap and hold my fork properly because that is who I am and that is how we are raising our son.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

Well, I can't imagine that the guy didn't say something.  I'm sure he did.  I just wasn't so intent on their situation that I know exactly what happened.  I do know that he did get the waiter (or busser) to clean off the back of the booth at one point and the parents were aware of what was going on.  Remember, this kid was probably 7 or 8 (or perhaps 9), so we're not talking a toddler here.  That was what really blew me away.  It also made me think more about WHAT is being taught these days.

 

I realize that we are probably more strict with manners.  Although at home we may be more relaxed, manners are never forgotten. Those don't waver.  In restaurants, though, another set of rules apply because you are in a social situation and the other diners need to be respected...dining etiquette.   We actually have very few things we do as a family for entertainment... dining out is one of them.  We (including dd, 9yo) have enjoyed, as a family, what I would call "nice" dining since dd was about 5yo, and we eat out about once a week.  This may or may not involve white tablecloth, but isn't what I'd call "fine" dining (the bill may be $100 - $150, but rarely more).  We really don't have fine dining of the caliber of The French Laundry or Gramercy Tavern where we live, so any more would be rare.  Still, it's occasionally upscale enough that dd needs to use nuances like properly eating bread, using her utensils continental style (less clanging), placing them properly on the plate, not leaning fork and knife on table, spooning her soup away from her, placing her napkin on the seat when excused from the table, etc.  The esoteric points, I suppose.  I don't expect her to follow those etiquette rules at Outback Steakhouse, but I feel that knowing them has helped her to be more aware at the table, and it has reflected that even in casual places, she is respectful of other diners.  And interestingly enough, we do dine in places where she may be the only child, and has done so for a while now.  Earlier this summer, we were at an upscale French restaurant, and she was the only child.  She had the mussels, and the elderly gentleman at the next table said to her, with a thick accent, "Young lady, it is nice to see a youngster who not only knows HOW to eat mussels, but also so obviously enjoy them."  The whole 3 hour meal was thoroughly enjoyable for all of us and I'm grateful that we've spent so much time teaching dd the finer points that allow us to dine in these places.  She did enjoy it, and it blanket policies of "no kids" is ridiculous.  But... what is a restaurant owner to do?  I guess the few ruin it for the masses of kids who are able to conduct themselves properly.

 

Like, I said, I know we're stricter, but I all too often see, in even family dining places, kids who are disrespectful of other diners.  I'm not expecting them to keep their napkins in their lap or use the right utensil... but I expect them to not throw the napkin at me and to not clang the utensil against dad's beer mug... or hang over the back of the booth dripping sauce.  At *any* age, I would hope that parents are aware enough to... EVEN IN FAMILY DINING... allow others to have a peaceful meal.  Ambient noise is one thing... having a kid hanging over you saying, "Hey, mister, hey mister, hey, mister, hey... oops!!" is another thing altogether.  Don't get me wrong, when dd was a toddler, we lived in Germany and ate at the biergarten where she could play on the equipment while snatching bites.  But we knew she wasn't ready for a nice restaurant or even a casual family restaurant.  We waited until she was ready.... out of respect of others.  Why can't this be reciprocated?  And how can this be ignored until a kid is 7 or 8 years old?

 

(Sorry for the rant... trying to kind of sum up my thoughts replying to several posts.)


Actually the proper thing to do is to gently put your napkin to the left of your plate upon leaving the table.  If your plate has already been removed you should place it in the center of your eating area.  One should gently fold the napkin so as to not have food smears or other undesirable visuals within view of the other diners.  In a nicer restaurant it will then be replaced with a clean napkin folded on the back of your chair. 

 

However, what is considered proper is changing with the times and many do now consider it proper to leave the napkin on the chair if you have left the table but plan to return.  As always, manners does not mean adhering to a strict list of right and wrong but adapting to the customs around us.  So if you do find yourself in an area where it is considered polite to leave the napkin in your chair you should comply with those norms.

 

To answer some other points in your post, if I walk into The French Laundry and see a child dining I'm first going to wonder who in the world thinks a child is the most appropriate dining companion there, especially considering how difficult reservations are to obtain.  Then I'm going to hope I am sitting in a different room because each room is small and the tables are very close together and having a child dining next to you would completely change the feel and mood of the experience.  Now, if you secure the private room...eh, maybe.  MAYBE.  But there still isn't a door on that and I'd be afraid a child would not be able to resist the balcony and switch to an outside voice while out there between courses.

 

Interestingly enough I did encounter two teenagers (perhaps 13 and 16) dining at Moto once.  I must admit I did a double take.  They were there for the earliest possible seating and were leaving shortly after we started our meal. 

 

I am going to pause and consider why anyone would bring a child to a three hour meal.  I don't understand the reasoning.  I also do not understand spending that kind of money on a child's dinner.  Sorry, just don't.  And I do think that we need to consider the other diners and the overall dining experience when deciding who dines where.  Going back to your example, TFL is a very quiet, subdued and romantic restaurant.  That is not an experience for a child.  It just isn't.  And if you are in Yountville, there are so many other, more casual, yet still amazing restaurants, to experience where a child would be more appropriate.  The restaurant at the Auberge comes to mind.  No, not TFL but very very close and as it is a hotel one would be more open to seeing children there.  Plus the dining room is much more open, tables are set farther apart and a child at one is not going to impact every other table's dining experience.  And I can guarantee that outside of Keller's private room it is possible to spend just as much there so you still have your $250 a plate bragging rights.

 

By the way,  I'm also quite certain Thomas Keller would shudder (or simply chuckle) at the thought of Gramercy Tavern being on the same caliber as TFL.  Just  saying...
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post

 

 

And honestly, if I were at a restaurant and someone pulled out a garbage bag to deal with the mess their child was about to make, I'd be mortified for them (and at our typical haunts, the management would probably throw them out).  Sorry, but not only is that crass (to not put too fine a point on it), it also says, "my kid can make the biggest damn mess they want and I'm not going to teach them how to behave in a restaurant, I'm going to just try to control the damage."  The fact that it's needed means they're not ready for restaurants and parents need to get a clue.  Teach a child manners, and tip well.  Heck, even at places like Denny's (if we ate there), I wouldn't do something like that.

 

Actually, I believe that shows the parent realizes their child has not yet reached a point in their life when they can be neat while eating.  Yet, they still want to start exposing them to restaurants.  So, for a small, family restaurant or fast food outlet I think coming prepared is completely acceptable.  There isn't that much difference from this method and using the stick on place mats for children.
 

I continue to be confused as to why you view manners as completely situational.  Or why you feel manners only extend to the behavior of yourself and your dining party but not to the consideration of what are appropriate and non-appropriate family dining venues.  For if manners are truly meant to put others at ease (which, historically they are) then we should consider if bringing a family in for dinner at a restaurant such as The French Laundry or Per Se or Alinea is truly the proper thing to do. 

post #55 of 200

As long as the child is not running all crazy like and being disruptive to everyone, I'm cool with it. I'm not the only one in the restaurant and everyone has different standards. My kids have "manners" even in yes, McDonald's (gasp!) or Denny's. I would never bring a child to a super upscale restaurant, even well-behaved ones. How is that fun for the kid? I would rather have that experience sans children and be able to enjoy it more.

 

Also, Outback and Red Lobster can be just as expensive as you're describing. I'm confused why you felt the need to keep pointing out that it was an "upscale" restaurant and the differences between them. Family dining is called family dining for a reason (i.e. Outback and Red Lobster). A restaurant is a restaurant. And, frankly, manners are manners. Media influence has nothing to do with it.

post #56 of 200

ChristyMarie: Manners of some types are situational. I agree that the core of manners lies in consideration for other people. But...I'll take your example of putting your napkin in your lap (and why is that better manners than not doing so, anyway? It's nobody else's concern if I spill soup on my pants!) and holding your fork properly at McDonalds to illustrate what I mean. I've known several people who would be very uncomfortable if seated next to someone who was using more formal manners at McDonalds. They'd feel on edge, and would feel that the person was putting on airs, and talking down to them with body language. So, the manners being used would actually be contributing to making other diners feel uncomfortable...complete backfire. Napkins on laps and concern about how one holds a fork (I'm not sure I've ever actually used a fork at McDonalds) don't fit into the ambiance of a place like that.

 

In any case, I think there's a big difference between manners (ie. being considerate of others) and etiquette. I don't care about formal dining etiquette and go out of my way to avoid eating in palces where it's a high priority. I can't imagine enjoying a meal if I were concerning myself with whether or not the other diners could see my soiled napkin. (Seriously - do people actually care about things like this? If I were at a romantic, high end, fine dining restaurant, the last thing I'd be worried about is whether I could see a few spots on another diner's napkin.)

 

As to the comments about children dining in such places...if you're assuming that a child will be unable to resist the balcony or will switch to an outside voice, then you're the one ruining your meal. DS1 was a wild child sometimes, and I took him out of more than one restaurant to cool off. But, in very formal situations, he picked up the vibe, and I have very little doubt that he could have sat through an extended meal at a high end restaurant without any trouble at all, if I'd wanted to take him. OTOH, I know several adults that I wouldn't want to have to share such a space with, under any circumstances. Sure - statistically, children are more likely to exhibit certain kinds of behavioural issues, because they have less impulse control and have had less time to learn the etiquette...but that doesn't mean that every child eating in such a place is a threat to the ambiance.

post #57 of 200



 

My children (ages 3-8) follow my carefully set down eating rules whether at "the one step up from a fast food joint" such as Outback or hoity-toity dining establishments - which we have the luxury of visiting very often.

 

All three use napkins, the correct silverware etc.. although the eldest does have the annoying habit of attempting complex origami with the napkin.    It's creative, we let it slide.   redface.gif

 

On the rare occasion there is any funny business, we do make it clear that we will leave the premises (regardless of where we are in the meal) and visit McDonalds instead if the behaviour is not corrected.   It seems to work, my children loathe McDs.

post #58 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyMarie View Post

 


Actually the proper thing to do is to gently put your napkin to the left of your plate upon leaving the table.  If your plate has already been removed you should place it in the center of your eating area.  One should gently fold the napkin so as to not have food smears or other undesirable visuals within view of the other diners.  In a nicer restaurant it will then be replaced with a clean napkin folded on the back of your chair. 

 



Good heavens, yes!   Thank you. thumb.gif


 

 

post #59 of 200
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristyMarie View Post

 

I continue to be confused as to why you view manners as completely situational.  Or why you feel manners only extend to the behavior of yourself and your dining party but not to the consideration of what are appropriate and non-appropriate family dining venues.  For if manners are truly meant to put others at ease (which, historically they are) then we should consider if bringing a family in for dinner at a restaurant such as The French Laundry or Per Se or Alinea is truly the proper thing to do. 


I don't view manners as situational.  What I said is that whether you are a guest of Chef Keller's or the local pizzaria, there should be some basic things that kids just *don't* do in restaurants.  My point is that you don't have to teach them that they place the napkin on their seat when excusing themselves temporarily (yes that IS a hard and fast etiquette rule that has been around since I was a child... so at least 40-something years!), but you need to teach them to sit without turning around and dripping rib sauce on the guy in the next booth!

 

As for dining out in true fine dining and spending 3 hours (or even 4)... some kids actually ENJOY it and want to taste the food... and have the proper etiquette to know exactly how to conduct themselves (sometimes better than adults with their blackberries and smart phones, and drunken tirades!!).  As talented as I am as a cook, I am not trained chef and some things I cannot create at home.  I believe that children, who truly appreciate this type of food have just as much right to explore the cuisine as any other person.  Children are people too, and as long as they can conduct themselves in the appropriate manner, why would their age or height determine if they are or are not allowed to appreciate good food.  That's ridiculous.  It's like saying that someone who is elderly can't possibly enjoy the food because their sense of smell had faded, so they shouldn't be allowed to eat at a place that has particularly delicate flavors.  That's preposterous!  Why is one restaurant not appropriate for a child who behaves themselves impeccably and appreciates the food?  That's discrimination and to be honest, I am surprised that anyone at MDC would think it was O.K. to disrespect a child so.  In fact, I would be very surprised if Chef Keller would even care where the money was coming from as long as there were no disruptions, proper etiquette was followed, and the patron enjoyed the food.  No way would I have taken dd to a place like this when she was 5... but we worked our way up to it, and she is fine in fine dining now.  We've never been with her to TFL, but have been to fine dining on the East coast.  Chefs appreciate a child who can appreciate them.  I know for a fact that Rick Bayless took his daughter to fine dining establishments when she was growing up.  Do the chefs themselves have the market on letting their children enjoy good food?

 

post #60 of 200

This thread makes me want a Cheddar Bay biscuit!  Eaten Continental style, natch.

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