Breaking from the hallowed tradition of editors’ columns in cooking magazines being so bland as to be unreadable, Gourmet Editor-in-Chief Ruth Reichl uses her March column to tee off on the idea of gourmet Manhattan food stores just for children.

Reichl begins by evoking the gut reaction of many folks who encounter the idea: It’s cute to give kids miniature shopping carts and let them choose from easy-to-eat, upscale variants of pizza and pasta that won’t challenge their precious little palates.

She then goes to town on that idea, using a lighter touch than might have been desired for a sheerly comic effect, but still getting her point across. Parents, she suggests, are meant to educate their kids and goad them into growing as people, not protect them from the exciting and sometimes challenging niblets that the world has to offer.

So throw aside the Corn Pops and bring on the brain sandwiches! And the prairie oysters! And the fat wads of fugu! Eat hearty, kids, and learn what it is like to be … Ruth Reichl.

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