I love a good dinner party, me. Slap up meal, lots of wine, people to listen to my incoherent rants, no washing up – all good. But everyone – me included – cannot cook any of the kids favourite meals for a dinner party because…they are kids meals and parents cannot ever cook them ever again for anyone who has children, ever.
So, us parents have to leaf through our tired collection of cookbooks trying to cook something interesting when all we want is:
- Spag Bol Delia [throws dart at Delia photo stapled to the wall] tells us that a true bolognese is fashioned from a mixture of pork and beef mince, some chicken livers, bacon lardons and fresh plum tomatoes slow cooked for eighteen hours in a pizza oven; occasionally stirred with a spoon fashioned from dried basil by a tuscan monk called Jerome…but we all know that she’s talking out of her marinated arse. Spag Bol – really – is made with half a kilo of mince meat, a couple of cans of chopped tomatoes and an onion. If we want to go posh we glug in a bit of Chianti, some fresh basil and thin slices of garlic like they did on Goodfellas. Everyone loves Spag Bol and those that don’t are exiled, by the Government, to live on the Isle of Wight, like Escape From New York. The problem is is that kids aren’t stupid and many class Spag Bol as their favourite, so it’s off the menu. That’s a bit annoying, because everyone loves Spag Bol. Even vegetarians (okay, maybe not…).
- Cottage Pie No matter what way you spin it, cottage pie is Spag Bol with mashed potato on top. Our kids love it because it is both Spag Bol and mashed potato a.k.a edible modelling clay. There’s no way to posh this up apart from sticking it in small baking dishes and mixing some garlic in with the mash…or maybe creaming the potatoes. I hate restaurant food descriptions: creamed potatoes = mash…jus = gravy…bruschetta = toast…pan fried = fried.
- Fish Fingers I really like fish fingers. They don’t have bones in them, you can put them in butties and you always eat them with peas. DW hates fish and I’m a bit meh about it. DW was emotionally scared by kedgeree (quite rightly) and I think I just got sick of looking at fish on a plate, it’s beady little eye focused on me like an old oil painted portrait, as I picked bone #2037 out of my mouth. Could you serve fish fingers at a dinner party? Never. Even if you hand-made them. Even if everyone secretly loved them.
- Homemade Pizza Poeple who don’t like pizza are dysfunctional; any food that enables you to eat meat products as long as you sprinkle mozzarella on top is okay with me. We recently acquired a breadmaker; he lives in the cellar and survives off what he can scrape off of the oven tins at the end of the day. The breadmaker makes perfect pizza dough and just to make it seem as if you had a hand in this scrumptuous meal, you can make your own tomato sauce (see Spag Bol without the mince). The only problem is that when you grow up you’re only allowed pizza if you go to a Pizza Express with the kids or have just moved house.
- Cheerios It would be quite a coup to serve Cheerios at a dinner party, and it would certainly save on the washing up. Plus it would be like soup, mains and desert all in one. Result. You sometimes get a toy with it as well. You don’t get toys with Special K…or chicken kiev. Sometimes we do have to resort to breakfast cereals when all else fails. I know it’s bad, but we’re just trying to get some calories into our kids.
I would love to turn up to a dinner party and be given Cottage Pie. Maybe I could push it and ask if I could eat in front of the tv or I’ll start lobbing mash. Oh, and I’ll only eat my dinner if I can wear my Spiderman outfit, okay?