Second class children

Did I ever tell you about the restaurant somewhere in the Highlands? The Resident IT Consultant and I had dinner at a highly recommended restaurant somewhere almost in the middle of nowhere. It was 1984. (A bit ominous, that.) It was a lovely meal and the place was full. As we exited we discovered a parked car, with three children inside, in their pyjamas, eating crisps. The parents were dining in the restaurant.

Fast forward to last week’s Guardian recommendations of what food to buy [not make] for Christmas. Their baking expert Ruby Tandoh picked Betty’s Classic Mince Pies. ‘They’re wonderful, but coming in at a tenner for a dozen, they’re maybe not ones to waste on the kids.’

No. Quite. Wouldn’t want the children to have quality, or anything expensive. (Personally I wonder how many children really want to eat mince pies, but that is another matter.) When they are grown up they will automatically morph into people with taste. People who in turn will discriminate against children.

I’d like to think that her comments just sort of slipped off the keyboard while she wasn’t looking, or thinking. But as it said elsewhere in the same paper, ‘bias may be unconscious – but that does not make it excusable.’ That was about a black person, but bias against children works too.

Is that why our society is the way it is? Because children don’t merit ‘the real thing?’

As a child I was occasionally treated to a restaurant meal. About as often as the Mother-of-witch. Money was in short supply and she was the one paying, and she always took me. We ate good food in those restaurants, with silver service and the lot. (Mostly because there weren’t really the more casual eateries we have now.)

I was never discriminated against, by her. If she could afford it, both of us had whatever it was.

(This neatly reminded me of another childhood treat; chivalry.)


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