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Go out to eat with children : "What, you don't like broccoli today?"

THE HOST

He is the main character in this gastronomic dramolet. Because he makes the rules. Like Antonio Ferrari, for example, who recently let himself be carried away to an unusual action in his bar in Padua. There was the long table where four parents and six children were sitting and eating. For hours. Ferrari was thrilled. None of the children ran slalom between the tables, nobody threw the salt shaker around, there weren't even any fights. The noise level allowed the other guests to talk normally. The landlord rewarded that with a discount of five percent. And because suddenly half the world was interested in him, he simply kept the rules. Families with quiet children now always get a discount.

The reward is the postmodern form of punishment, as Jesper Juul once said, who is worshiped by many parents as the god of education. Normal guests can just eat. Families have to take an exam. And this is how going to a restaurant with children often feels like: as if one had to meet expectations. Not as if it were taken for granted.

Of course, it rarely ends as dramatically as it does in the United States, where a restaurant owner just yelled back when a child started yelling. The child was then silent, according to eyewitness reports. The debate afterwards is all the more shrill.

Parents don't want to go to a children's café

But often enough it goes like this: one minute after 6 p.m. The restaurant with the pretty terrace has just been set, all, really all tables are still free, but as soon as you approach a seat with two children, the landlord rushes over, waving his arms and declaring: Everything is reserved! Maybe you can still sit at the cat table between the kitchen and the toilet. But only until 6.45 p.m.

It's not about the fact that every restaurant has to have a play area, colored pencils in all the colors of the rainbow or even childcare, as the “Brenner” in Munich offers on Sunday lunchtimes or - for members only - the Berlin “Soho House” during the daytime . And parents certainly don't want to go to a special children's café. But to where everyone else is. That would be a good signal that you are generally welcome with offspring. A small gesture is enough. Maybe a look in the kitchen. In some pizzeria in Naples the Bambini get a piece of dough to knead. Children busy, parents relaxed.

THE CHEF

He's staying out of it. Stands in his kitchen and stays there. But why he thinks that children eat only fried food, that would be one of the most important questions. An average children's menu - a German "specialty" by the way - offers schnitzel with french fries, chicken nuggets with french fries, fish fingers with french fries. These orthogonally compressed freezer residents are usually called Nemo, Arielle or Dorie.

Even that can still be downgraded. Then there is only french fries. With or without ketchup. By the way, children like it so much because they can usually portion it themselves. Eating is a piece of self-determination. And even the little ones think that's good.

The bold thing about it: the culinary ambition has bubbled away in the deep fryer, but not the added value. The children's plate may be poor in imagination and nutrients, but it is not cheap - especially when measured by the cost of goods.

One way out is half a portion, which never costs half, but only two euros less. Or the pirate plate (children steal from their parents). After all, the little ones try something they don't know yet. After all, early eating experiences shape the taste for life.

THE SERVICE

You get the full broadside. First they have to drag the children's chair, then the order with special requests takes twice as long as the billing at the end of the month, and after they had to wipe up the apple spritzer (only with still water, no lemon, two ice cubes) that the junior tipped over, they will He announced that there was a nanoparticle of parsley on the plate as a garnish: “The plant should go!” At the end they have to crawl around on the floor to pick up the food leftovers that have been spread out over a large area.

Waiters fight on the front lines. Of course it's uncomfortable there. But as soon as children enter the room, reflexively looking as if they had to fish each noodle out of the cooking water by hand, doesn't make things any easier. A little joke, a wink, a little benevolent calm - that would make things a lot easier. Simply convey the feeling that you are doing something completely normal when you take children with you to the restaurant. Oh yes: A bread basket that is brought quickly can also be an effective protection against whining.

The parents, on the other hand, should pay for the service. Children do extra work. So give two euros more tip - be it as compensation for pain and suffering.

One consolation: Parents don't sit for hours in front of a white wine spritzer. No family stays in the restaurant a second longer than necessary. Because there are still ...

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