Tuesday, 13 December 2011

December 13th - pineapple progress and yet more soup

Dear Nigel,

Sophie came home today saying she loved pineapple, so off we went to the supermarket to buy one. It's only interesting because Sophie hates pineapple, wouldn't dream of letting a chunk rub shoulders with her grapes and strawberries in a fruit salad. So, the change of heart? - school dinners. I am a recent convert. I had previously thought that i would have better chance of getting something healthy into the mouth of a right little fusspot if i chose it and packed it myself. But i was wrong. The change to school dinners has had an effect like no other to get her to try new things and increase the variety of things she will eat. Why is it that i have tried giving her the same food as us, pretending to ignore what actually gets consumed, have her friends to tea, visit other people's houses, have grandma cajole and pander to her every whim; and yet it is the school dinner lady with her fast-moving queue, the noise and the rush to get out in the playground, who has had the greatest success?

I meditate on vegetable peelings as i make gallons of sweet potato, butternut squash and smoked chilli soup for the freezer. It is calming and contemplative. My grudge-bearing ex-husband has asked my son Chris, flying in from Cyprus for two weeks only, to spend Christmas with them. He does this two weeks before Christmas, knowing he will be stirring up trouble. Luckily, my son declines, but will visit later. I hadn't realised until this year what a highly emotive time of year this is. The importance of everything being just right, of everyone doing what you think they should, of the hidden dangers in the seemingly ordinary - the right amount spent on a particular person's present, the idea of fairness or 'equalness', the favours bought or paid for, the downright bribery if necessary so that someone won't be offended. It's a minefield. And the more people there are involved the greater the likelihood of something detonating somewhere. Add to this the "modern" family with step-parents, half-siblings, ex-stepchildren and a whole battalion of competing grandparents, and world war three is predicted to start in your own living room sometime within the next three weeks.

You appear to have had enough of pandering to others needs and, as you're not very hungry yourself "they get cheese on toast". Quite right too. There's too much expectation made of the cook these days; and the more you do the more they seem to expect. There is no end to this desire for better, more, different,improvement, and all without a single word being said. I would give them cheese on toast tomorrow as well and see how long before they crack.

Yours, cheesed off,


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