The History Of The Children’s Menu

August 12, 2013 in Daily Bulletin

Michele Humes presented “a brief history of the children’s menu”:

  • Before 1919 children didn’t really eat at restaurants. These were meant for adults who could engage in “boozy grown-up fun” in a child free environment.
  • Then prohibition happened and restaurants desperate to find a source of revenue that could replace alcohol started offering children’s menu to cater to a new class of customers.
  • At the time a book by a pediatrician called “The Care and Feeding of Children”, was the seminal text about raising children. It stated that they should not be given “fresh fruits, nuts, or raisins in their rice pudding” and that items such as pastries, ham, bacon, tomato soup, or even lemonade were forbidden.
  • These rules against…good food seemed to have been laid down because the pediatrician behind the book “believed there was moral danger in sensual pleasure, and damnation in indulgence”.
  • The popularity of the book meant that restaurants soon began to advertise their meals as being “approved” by pediatricians.
  • Since then our views about raising children have become more enlightened but parents have become attached to the low prices on the children’s menus, while kids appreciate having the booklets that can also be used as clown masks or have cut out paper airplanes.
  • Times may have changed but the bland and unhealthy food on children’s menus hasn’t.

Read more about the hotels that pioneered the children’s menu, how it has evolved over the years, and more over here.

Source: Slate