SWB on ‘Making The Dinner Angst’

Do you want to know what is doing my head in this week? I shall tell you: it is making the dinner. It is making something we can ALL eat, that doesn’t involve tons of washing up; take shedloads of preparation, and isn’t nutritionally void. I mean, is that too much to ask? We used to feed the girls earlier and then eat later ourselves, which was a bit of an arse-ache, because I seemed to be washing up all evening, BUT, at least it allowed LSB and myself to be more imaginative with our choice of cuisine. But during lockdown we decided it was nice to all sit at the table together and pretend to be civilised, hence I am trying to cook once and make it do all us and the results are, well, varied to say the least.

Here’s a list of things everyone will eat: Spaghetti Bolognese; chicken fajitas (unrecognisable to most Mexicans, but hey-ho), pizza, roast chicken or ham, fish and chips. So far, so flipping boring. Here’s what isn’t on the menu: lasagne (‘too creamy’), stir fry (‘too cabbage-y’, despite the fact that there wasn’t even any cabbage in the last one I did); curry is ‘too spicy (even if it’s bland as f**k). Salmon, sea bass, veggie burgers or any veggie meals AT ALL, are off the table completely. I tried experimenting with pulses for a while, but other than chucking a few lentils into a sauce, it was a dismal failure. The faces that greeted me when I set down the spinach and chickpea curry from BBC Good Food; are etched on my memory for evermore. Anguished they were, ANGUISHED. Out came the chicken nuggets and into the oven they went. In an effort to avoid waste I ate it for my lunch every day for the rest of that week. That was over a year ago, and if I’m being honest, I’m still not quite sure my bowels have recovered.

It’s all very hard, isn’t it? Used to be, when in doubt, one could always fall back on a sausage. When I was little, The Mothership served up sausages at least once a week, and often they made an appearance at breakfast. The Mothership is a great one for the breakfasts and could write her very own blog about how to get toast ‘just right.’ And tea: fuck me, never get her started on the perfect cup- she sets a timer and all, for it to brew for exactly 4 minutes. Tea obsessed is that woman. Anyway, back to sausages:  I’m after reading about the pig farms in Ballymoney and I was near sick. I don’t know if I can ever eat a pig related product again, except I have a bit of Spanish chorizo in the fridge, and it livened up the chicken fried rice I made last night no end.

When the children were small I read a French guide to child rearing. It taught me many things, but mainly it made me feel shite as the French just appeared superior in just about every aspect of parenting. The book suggested that a child has to try a food thirty times before giving up on it. If I thought I was going to have to watch the Small Child’s face while she forced down a piece of cauliflower thirty times, I would be downing a litre of Smirnoff every night, just to get through the meal. There were many other tips, such as how to get your offspring to eat grilled courgettes and pamphrey and braised celeriac with a balsamic glaze. Needless to say, this is all pure bollocks and my children have yet to eat any of the above.

They also don’t like salads, soups, quiche, meat pies, risotto, or spaghetti carbonara, (which I fecking LOVE). And when I use the pronoun ‘they’, LSB is included in that. He doesn’t have the most refined palette and would live, if I permitted it, on white bread and bacon. At this stage in his life, I think he is about 50% nitrate.

It’s shite, I’m telling you. Every week I get the ‘Guardian Feast’ and entertain notions of trying something new, and then I take one look at Ottolenghi’s list of ingredients and feel tired. I live in Belfast, not the fucking Edgeware Road in London, I think to myself, and it would take me about a month and a half just sourcing the ingredients for a meal, half of which I’ll inevitably to be scraping into the compost bin.

So it’s Friday and thank the good lord above because it’s takeaway night and thus I have very few decisions to make. Hallelujah. I would say ‘send me your suggestions’ but it’s probably a waste of time, so just leave a ‘wee thumbs up’ if you too are suffering from ‘extreme dinner fatigue’.

Check out Dirt Birds too on this theme- it’s Hilarious

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