Monday, October 04, 2010

Let's Take Our Time...Maggie Monday

We had a fairly privileged childhood. When my family went out to celebrate in the 1970s (and we did so at every given opportunity) 'the kids' got to go. We were never made to order off the children's menu. (Of course, when you have my sister eating escargot and salad with roquefort dressing regularly, it's hard to get her to settle for a hot dog.)

Maggie always presided over these meals. We could never order dinner until she had ordered her second martini, which of course meant there had to be a first martini. Now picture yourself as a child, waiting interminably for dinner. She didn't just down these drinks; there was conversation. Now hear the adult voices, "One piece of bread! You'll spoil your dinner." Yeah more like, "stop eating your cousin's arm or you'll spoil your dinner." My sister took to eating sugar packets. Despite what you may think, we were incredibly well behaved through all this.

Then, when dinner was at long last served, my grandmother would lift what was left of her glass and say,
Let's take our time, and enjoy this meal.


Mary said...

My family dinners out must have been much like yours (although earlier in time, since I'm a child of the 60s).
I'm the youngest of 6 and we often had dinner in white table cloth restaurants. My parents felt, as do I, that the way to learn manners and how to behave in nice places was to go to those places and practice.
Same thing - pre-dinner cocktails for the grown-ups, kiddie cocktails for us.
My favorite memory - one restaurant served an extensive "relish tray" - including ripe olives with pits. My closest sister (older by 5 years) and I LOVE those dark globes! However, I didn't love it when Eileen put all of her olive pits on my little dish so it appeared that I ate about 30 olives!

Peggy Lee said...

Well girls...I was a McDonald's/KFC kinda kid! I guess that's why I don't have any manners to speak of today. :)
My parents never drank either....but now I'm thinking they should have taken a nip or two.

Margy@hidethecheese said...

What a great motto! I just wish I liked martinis more because I don't think glasses of wine are nearly as dramatic.

Alice said...

We had meals like this too! Love of good food can be taught, and decently behaved children do exist! My own three grew up going to nice restaurants too and believe me I wasn't the mom in our family who let kids run around when they got bored. (like some cousins I might mention)

Miriam said...

My parents always expressed a deep level of disgust should my brother and I order "kid food." So it was that I ate turtle soup at Brennan's in NOLA and duck off a French menu in Quebec and knew place settings I probably couldn't figure out today. I remember at some point being totally thrilled with a sauce some restaurant put inside a baked artichoke.

I agree with Alice - love of good food can be taught along with a decent sense of adventure.

Jennifer said...

I'm not a big fan of kids menus - all that salty, processed food. Sure, I enjoy a hot dog occasionally, but I don't want my son to think that's what he HAS to eat. I want him to try different things, not just immediately be forced to choose mac and cheese or chicken fingers.

And I think how kids behave in a restaurant has a lot to do with parenting. Not only knowing your child's limits (you don't take a kid you know is on the verge of needing a nap or some down time in for a drawn out, fancy meal) but teaching them to behave as well. Sadly, there are quite a few parents who think that letting their kids run around "expressing themselves and being kids" is perfectly acceptable. As a former waitress, I'd like to inform them all IT IS NOT

Aussie Stitcher said...

We always went out for dinner for any birthday that we might have been celebrating at the time. Mum and Dad would always let us order what we would like. They said that it was better for them to pay a little extra, knowing that we would eat it, that spending less and us kids not enjoying our food.