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December 9th, 2009

Kid’s Menu

Recently, my dad took all of us out to Maggiano’s, a family-style Italian restaurant whose goal seems to be to cause you to develop, and die from, heart problems over the course of one meal. Don’t get me wrong, the food is delicious, but our manicotti arrived in three GIANT platters. We asked the waitress what the deal was with our pasta armada and she said: “The computer said to bring this much.” Yep- the computer. So, we know who’s in charge over there, I guess.

While we were waiting for a couple of humongous salads, I noticed a discarded children’s menu sitting on the ledge behind our booth. According to the crayon scribblings, it had been owned by a girl named Dara, who had tried her hand at all of the activities.

The first page asks her to draw her favorite Italian dish:

Speg-getti! Not to be confused with spaghetti, speg-getti! is a dish made from grape-flavored noodles and topped with beach tar. You have to order it off the Maggiano’s “secret” menu. They don’t usually like to make it, because it involves a complicated computer override.

Soon, Dara moved onto games like “Yum, Yum, Counting Fun!” and Tic-Tac-Toe!

She was very diligent about completing aMazing Spaghetti, but only got as far as the farfalle in the counting game. She probably realized that it wasn’t actually a freaking game. Her Tic-Tac-Toe game makes me a little sad. I imagine her sitting in between a couple of uncles, tapping them on the shoulders as they talk about college football. “Uncle Mike, wanna play tic-tac-toe? You be O’s!” She draws her little X and slides the paper toward her uncle, her little heart getting excited as his hand moves toward the crayon, only to pick up his gin and tonic. So then it was on to page 3…

Word search? NEXT. That didn’t interest Dara. She was more interested in drawing ol’ Manny Maitre’d. Personally, I like how small she made him, and the fact that she left out his bowtie so he looks like a bust of Mannie Maitre’d that is sliding down an incline plane.

Finally, Dara’s dad said, “Dammit, Dara, what are you going to ORDER FOR DINNER?”

Since Dara wasn’t clear on how to order Speg-getti! off the “secret” menu, it took some analyzing, and in the end, it was down to two: ziti or macaroni and cheese. But given how the evening had gonna for Dara thus far, her mom probably just chose cheese ravioli with marinara sauce, and told her to stop pestering her uncles. Well, Dara hates ravioli. And to make matters worse, the computer told the waitress to bring two bowls out. Better luck next time, Dara.

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