BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL – JUNE 05: A mother and her son have lunch at the open-air restaurant … [+] installed at Praça da Estação on June 5, 2020 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. About 3000 meals are being distributed every Friday, in addition to food, fruit and water. The campaign is carried out by a bank credit company in Belo Horizonte. (Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images)
When my first son was about six months old, my wife and I thought it perfectly sane to bring him to Michelin star restaurants in France by carrying him into the dining room in a basket. Knowing the French tolerate dogs better than they do children in restaurants, I had to swear he wouldn’t wake up, and my darling son delivered on the promise. Six months later I wouldn’t have dreamed of attempting such a thing.
But as he and my next son grew up, we took them out to dinner all the time, usually casual Italian or Mexican or Chinese eateries where they could escape from the table, but more than occasionally to fine dining restaurants where they were expected, within reason, to behave well. Fidgeting was allowed, running into the sommelier was not.
I thought that dining out in deluxe restaurants was not only a part of their education but a way to make them love all kinds of foods. Since most children are notoriously finicky when it comes to anything beyond French fries and pizza in restaurants, we did what we’d always done in the casual places: We would order a couple of things we knew they’d like, and then a number of dishes new to them without telling them anything about them.