The Dirt Cup

A letter I sent to MiMi’s Cafe. I hope they invite me to their offices.

______________________________________________________________________________MMay 2, 2011
Adam Baird “Chef Adam”
Mimi’s Café General Office
18872 MacArthur Blvd, Suite 400
Irvine, CA 92612
Dear Chef Adam,My kids were on spring break last week. We needed a nice lunch before we were meeting some friends at a local petting zoo. Luckily, there was one of your Mimi’s Cafés on the way so we decided to stop in. I am familiar with your menu and as a registered dietitian, I appreciate and value the calorie levels listed on the foods you serve. And may I say this; your staff is lovely. I know how much you value your customers and strive to make us your number one priority. This is why I knew you would appreciate and take to heart a letter from me.I ran into a problem with a menu item you offer kids: the Mimi’s Oreo Dirt Cup. My kids were finishing up their meals, but not close to done, and all of the sudden my waiter brings these black plastic cups layered with chocolate pudding, crushed Oreos and gummy worms on top. In a flash, the solid nutrients my kids were eating coming from your entrees were quickly replaced with a sugary fat load in that black plastic cup. I don’t blame my kids for pushing their entrees aside to dig into your Dirt Cup. What kid wouldn’t? The problem was I had no say in the matter and suddenly my three and five year old took charge of the meal. I felt undermined and in a strange way, deceived.

I have a few suggestions I would like you to consider in regards to this Oreo Dirt Cup:

1.) Let’s be honest Adam. That Oreo Dirt Cup is nothing more than sugar and fat topped with artificial dyes. You should seriously consider removing that Oreo Dirt Cup from the menu. Offer a healthier dessert or no dessert at all. Why not give the kids sliced strawberries or some other fruit not offered on your side of fruit? How about a mini smoothie made with fresh fruit and milk? I have endless ideas, but you get the picture.
2.) Whether you decide to remove that dirt cup or not, (which I really hope you do) every single waitperson in Mimi’s Cafés across this country should be required to first ask parents if they should bring dessert for the children at the table. GIVE PARENTS THE CHOICE. I would have appreciated a say in that dessert option Adam and I had none.

I am sure you are aware of our pediatric obesity crisis in America. Our kids are exposed to more sugar, fat and salt than ever and it is taking a serious toll on our kids’ health. Parents, schools and restaurants need to take responsibility in this matter and this is why I am writing to you.

I live about thirty minutes away from your general office in Irvine. I am happy to stop by for a meeting if you would like to talk about this issue or any other nutritional issue you have. Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,

Melanie R. Silverman MS, RD, IBCLC

About Melanie Silverman

Melanie is a pediatric registered dietitian nutritionist (RD) and a board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) working primarily in pediatric nutrition for well over 15 years. She spent seven years as a clinical dietitian at The University of Chicago Medical Center in the neonatal intensive care unit, pediatric intensive care unit, adult and pediatric burn units, and high risk pediatric follow-up clinic. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago. Melanie has presented at state and national meetings for the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN), March of Dimes, Prader-Willi California Foundation, Texas Prader-Willi Association, Oklahoma Prader Willi Syndrome Association, Foundation for Prader-Willi Research (FPWR) in the United States and Canada and the Prader-Willi Syndrome USA (PWSA). She worked hard for her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry and Spanish from Indiana University and a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center. A member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, California Dietetic Association, Pediatric Nutrition Practice Group, Women’s Health Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs and an active member of the International Lactation Consultant Association.