Thursday, May 28

Malone gets offally serious at dinner-time

- February 1, 2011

When I was little, if I didn’t eat my dinner I would hear all about how “starving kids in Africa” would love my food. Bet they wouldn’t! I would think, as I’d hide ‘cook from frozen’ faggots in an apron’s pocket that was hanging up beside me.

After my mum had let me get down from the table for being such a good girl and eating all my dinner, I would later return to empty the pocket of dinner debris. That apron pocket was like the school dinners’ slosh bucket. Except it never got cleaned. Well, not by me. It was my dad’s chef apron. I can imagine my mum putting it in the wash, exclaiming “What filthy animals men are!”

The dinner hiding mission was quite a process, involving three planned stages. One: looking out to see who was coming. Two: decanting into said apron. Three: removing evidence. I’d say for a five year old this is quite an elaborate covert operation.

“I’d hide ‘cook from frozen’ faggots in an apron’s pocket that was hanging up”

I wonder if I have missed my vocation? Perhaps I should have been a spy. An international dinner-dodging spy. The film would have been called ‘007 And The Hidden Faggots’
Faggots? Do you even know what a faggot is? They’re so old fashioned that Googling them reveals even the internet hasn’t heard of them, instead sourcing me a definition of the slang. A very different spy film.

A faggot is basically an old school meatball. Made from pig’s heart, liver and fatty belly meat minced up. The mixture is shaped into balls, covered with caul fat (a membrane from a pig’s abdomen), and baked. Do you now understand the need for my military operation? Although, when I was carrying out my missions, I had no idea what awful offal they contained, I just didn’t like them.

My child is similar to me in her eating habits, she doesn’t eat huge amounts, (not that she decants food she doesn’t like into nearby aprons).

I’m not stupid, there’s not one apron in our home. Aprons are a sore reminder of the spy movie that didn’t do well at the box office that I never made. I imagine if I tried the “eat up, there’s kids in Africa with only a handful of rice y’know,” she’d reply: “Can I just have some rice?”

Which would be fine until I explained the starving kids of the world don’t get pudding. The only way I can cajole my daughter into eating her dinner is by displaying a dessert that she can only have after she’s eaten her mains. If that doesn’t work, then it’s “eat up or I’ll turn the telly off”.

I’m not sure there’s much parenting evolution if my mother used guilt to make me eat, and I use bribery and threats. In parenting books, bribes are referred to as ‘rewards’. And threats are laying down ‘boundaries’. Yes, that makes me feel better about being a dinner bully – I mean a nurturing mum.

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