Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Cake-eating and aubergine exclusion

“Let them eat cake”. If you remember little else about the French Revolution, you will probably recall those words as proof of regal insensitivity.

I have another theory.

Food, in the reciprocity household, is fast becoming a minefield. It starts with teenage daughter who, having watched avidly some TV chef revealing the grosser practises of the meat industry, now resolutely refuses to eat any meat.

This is in sharp contrast to son. He is of the firm opinion that the only proper diet for a growing three-year-old is meat and ice cream. Vegetables are an insult, fit only to be hurled in the general direction of his sisters.

Ah. Which brings us to sister number two/stepdaughter. She has renounced evil multinationals and all their works: not least, any pre-processed snacks with which formerly they tried to tempt her. So nothing from Tesco. Or Sainsbury. Or Morrisons.

Aside from bread. She still eats their bread.

For a brief moment, she wobbled over Waitrose. Then the stiff upper lip re-asserted itself, and the clear message is “no supermarkets”. Well, except maybe the co-op.

Then there’s the other half who “eats anything”. Apart from too many vegetables. Or fruit. Or salmon. Or…. You see where this is going?

And finally, yours truly. I, too, would like to say that I eat “anything”. This might once have been true. Sadly, a grumbling heart and a life-time ban on high cholesterol mean I must bid adieu to the days when I would perturb check-out girls with my purchase of disgustingly deep red offal. Brain omelette? With onion. A rare delicacy: but no more. Not even bacon sarnies.

Nope. Cooking is a nightmare. Devising menus requires a skill and level of negotiation that would put those running the Middle East Peace Talks to shame.

The closest we have got to common ground so far is the humble aubergine. Even there, the boy is demanding an exclusion zone.

“Let them eat cake”? Royal insensitivity, perhaps.

But in our household, its about the only substance that all concerned still agree on as a valid foodstuff. Perhaps Marie Antoinette – with a fussy husband and associated princelings to feed - was less insensitive than we think.

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