When I was a kid, dinner was served up at the table at 6pm. Mum would set the table herself (after asking us seventeen billion times to do it for her), every night. We always had a table cloth, correct cutlery and crockery and glasses of milk. The milk was her downfall of course, because we would fill up on that before even starting. It’s amazing how easily the lactation of cows, made for their calves, can sustain the stomachs of human children.
My brothers and I would sit at the table, and it was as if some silent starter yelled, “LET THE GAMES BEGIN!” For that is what befell my mother for the next two hours. Every.single.night. And they weren’t fun games.
I look back, and I wonder how she did it. A single Mum, on meagre wages, working all day, then coming home to prepare something nourishing for her children, who never, ever ate it. Or even attempted most of it. The rule in our house was that we had to eat everything on our plates. I suspect that ‘the rule’ was never adhered to. Not even once. Every night we were bribed, threatened and cajoled. It almost always ended in tears, and that was just Mum.
Skip forward a score and ten, to where I am the person in the Mother Seat. Where I am the person thinking of the food, shopping for the food and cooking the food. So much carry on about food. Only to have the
vermin cherubim screw up their gaping maws cute little faces and say, “I don’t like that.”
Because, of course, they don’t like anything.
And they don’t have the tools at their disposal that we did. We had a pet Labrador (they eat anything, yes, even Corned Beef with white sauce), we had overalls from Just Jeans (so many pockets) and we had milk (did you know you can hide one stalk of broccoli and nine peas in every glass?). The only thing they have at their disposal is whinging. And they use it well.
When they were little, I tried and tried to think of delicious and healthy things the children would like to eat for dinner. I stopped short of making food art, but I did attempt to make their plates contain ‘the colours of the rainbow’ every night. It made no difference. They still hated it.
So these days I have taken to simply pleasing myself and drinking wine. In fact, I delight in lovingly placing their plates in front of them, and hearing them say how much the despise the menu plan of the day. I see their displeasure as a personal success. So you can imagine how I laughed when I saw this on my instagram today:
Sorry family. If this is true, then my love for you is a bit shit.
(Who am I kidding, I’m not sorry. You’ll get over it.)
Are your kids good eaters? What are your failsafe recipes?
…From The Ashers