The allure of going out for dinner took hold early in my life. My dear parents took us to Pizza Hut and Cobb & Co to begin with and then, as we grew into our appreciation, to more upmarket restaurants.
What I remember as being most pivotal to the magic of these experiences was that I got to choose what I was going to eat for dinner. Growing up in a large family, there was no such indulgent conversation that started with 'What do you kids want for dinner?" You got what you got. Thankfully my mother is a fabulous cook.
But discovering that there were places where you got to have control over your dinner choice seemed grown up, sophisticated and downright powerful. Scroll forward nearly four decades and countless dining experiences later, and I notice an interesting change happening to me.
The attachment I once had for choosing my meal is slowly disappearing as more and more of our top eateries are offering only tasting menus, set menus or "trust the chef" options where you are required to sit back and enjoy whatever the chef has prepared.
When these trends first began emerging in our dining scene I didn't often oblige, so fixated was I on having control over the options. But now I'm happy to wave a hand and tell the staff to decide for me as they, or at least the chef, know what they're doing.
As an 8-year-old, a menu of choices represented a delicious form of freedom. Now I feel liberated by turning the choice over to someone else and it frees me up to sit back, relish the company of my fellow diners and enjoy the ride.
I'm losing control and I think I like it.