Why Don’t American Kids Eat Curry?

“People think surviving cancer is tough, or surviving a divorce, but NOTHING compares with fighting with American Culture when you want to raise your kids free of junk food.” -Dirk Benedict

In the vein of Tiger Mom, Bringing Up Bebe is a parenting book which extols the “exotic” method as being far superior to the so-called “American” way. While Tiger Mom details one Chinese mother’s intense pressure on her children so that they will be successful (no sleepovers, no acting in school plays), Bringing Up Bebe idolizes the French parenting method, which apparently creates children who will, among other things, eat all the food put in front of them. Of course, plenty of Chinese kids don’t get into Harvard, plenty of French kids are picky eaters, and American kids both fill Ivy League schools and eat Kitfo without complaint.

That being said, the author of Bringing Up Bebe has stumbled upon something that is less of a French tradition and more of a European one: lack of kids menus. I’ve traveled fairly extensively in Europe and the vast majority of sit down restaurants don’t offer a separate kids menu. In America, the vast majority of restaurants offer, if not a fully separate children’s menu, a small section on the adult menu with kids items. The kids menu is simply not the norm in most European countries. Restaurants will often offer smaller portions of several dishes for children.

As such, in my experience, European kids, on average, eat more things than American kids do. Kids eat what is put in front of them. An infant can’t open the fridge and contemplate what to snack on. Toddlers who have never eaten chicken nuggets don’t know that chicken nuggets exist. Indian kids eat spicy curries and Japanese kids eat raw fish.

Perhaps fewer kids menus would mean more kids eating edamame and eel.

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