The recent series of ‘The Great British Bake Off ‘has been greeted with such enthusiasm by my children that one would think they’d never seen a homemade cake or bun before. Maybe it’s the upmarket bunting-festooned marquee in a field approach that’s done it….or the element.of competition. It”s all a bit bemusing to me as they have’cooked’ since they were old enough to stand on a chair and wave a wooden spoon in the air. Other mothers embraced the plasticine, glue, glitter and paint experience. Not me! I know my limits. Making biscuits or decorating fairy cakes filled up quite a few hours of toddler time,especially those awkward moments when friends came round and an argument started brewing. ‘Lets make biscuits’ was guaranteed to restore harmony.
Eventually we progressed onto chutneys, mincemeat, lemon curd, fudge, lavender sugar, raspberry vinegar and all those handy goodies that can be prettily wrapped and given to teachers at Christmas. It beats raiding the chocolate or wine shelves in pre-Christmas supermarket madness both in terms of your purse and stress levels.
Then came campfire cookery which is fun, if slightly inedible at times and involves FIRE. (What is it with boys and fire?) Actually anything eaten out of doors tastes better as far as my children are concerned, even the odd cremated potato or squash. However, there comes a time when one has to progress onto proper cooking – putting a square meal on the table -and that time is now.
I wouldn’t want anyone to think that this has been planned in any great detail. It is an intention and happens when it happens. For instance we tackled yorkshire pudding on a day when a bit of distraction therapy was required. Saturday has evolved into pizza night, purely because it’s easy to make a batch of dough in the morning before we go out and it’s quick to assemble an easy pizza and salad when you’re exhausted. And when my eldest son found a recipe in a book for ‘Men only Lemon Drizzle Cake’ based on a competition entry at the Flower and Veg show, open only to the blokes, it simply HAD to be made.
Like many parents I dream of having children who will eat anything – even beetroot. I am a devotee of the theory that ‘If they grow it and cook it, they’ll eat it’ but thus far my optimism has been somewhat misplaced. Cue the sainted Nigel Slater with a beautifully styled new programme, a not-so-sleepy child and a log fire last Friday. Drawn in by butter beautifully wrapped in brown paper, yogurt in kilner jars, a huge kitchen and the quietly seductive Mr Slater he decided that roasted beetroot with goats cheese and sourdough bread was a ‘must make’ dish.
It was made – and a pretty good job of it he made too. And it was eaten…….but not by him. You can’t win them all but at least he has another dish with which to impress future partners.