Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Purple One

Blueberry noodles from France with creme fraiche and parmesan. 
When my daughter was little she was a very fussy eater. One evening I attempted to give her something unusual like say, vegetables, she scrunched up her three year old face and asked, and she could barely talk: "Can I have the green dinner or the red dinner?"
 It took me a while to work out what she meant: but it was pasta with pesto or pasta with tomato sauce, I felt slightly ashamed. I realised how limited my cooking had become. Almost every night it was red dinner or green dinner.
Last night I made her purple dinner. She's still pretty fussy. So I covered up her eyes before giving it to her, but she peeked. "I'm not eating that!" She tasted. "I'm only eating it because I'm starving. You are starving me." she announced dramatically.
The teen is revising for her As level exams. (If I call them A levels I get in trouble "You don't even KNOW WHAT EXAMS I'M DOING!  THAT'S HOW LITTLE YOU CARE!!!")
This consists of hours sitting in the living room, looking wan, staring at her laptop with a packet of digestives next to her. But on actual exam days, I do my bonne maman bit, rise early, and make her a high protein breakfast: a cheese omelette, or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, a glass of juice and some milky coffee. She hates eating breakfast but I insist on those days "Brain food!" I declare.
The rest of the year I've given up the battle.
I don't get up early before she goes to school anymore. I did it for years: the eye-watering school run. I used to spend almost three hours a day in the car taking her to school and back. She went to a French primary school in Kentish Town that was 45 mins away. Every morning we'd get into my old banger, a wreck I'd driven back from France which leaked rain and smelt of mould, so nobody wanted to share the run with us. I'd do the worst drive in London: across Hampstead at school run time. The narrow roads were glutted with yummy mummies in four-wheel drives, who didn't know the length and width of their own vehicles. The back ways of Hampstead echoed with shouting velvet hairbanded mothers amidst a Boden catalogue of uniformed kids strapped in the back. Hell hath no fury like a middle class mother late for prep school.

13 comments:

  1. Terrific & bravo on the shade.....more than happy to taste & I just found you via Twitter xx

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  2. Welcome to the blog. What's the school run like in Belgravia?

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  3. That looks lovely! I have two children, and two dinners. One only eats mac&cheese, the other pasta and tomato sauce. It's hard not to feel like you've done something wrong, especially if you're a foodie. Maybe this is why we cook for strangers? An appreciative mouth to feed...

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  4. Why do all adventurous food lovers have such fussy children?

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  5. aoife: Definitely! Actually when Jay Rayner asked me on the One Show why I did this, I replied 'because I have a small family'. It's my feeder instinct, my missed opportunity to have ten kids, that made me start up The Underground Restaurant.
    Sally: so true. But I was terribly fussy as a kid myself...

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  6. Very funny o realistic post, i remember my exams day i was like your daughter :-)) My mum instead make me a lot of lentils because she said the phosphorus make me more cleaver!

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  7. oh this looks so yummy (purple is my favourite colour)! my dad went through a phase of forcing me to eat breakfast when i was a teen...that switched to a thermos flask of coffee and a nutty granola bar when he knew i would never actually sit down to breakfast during the week...but that was the 90s...and Canada. Love your blog! :)

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  8. I too, have 3 children with differing pasta tastes, and whenever asked, & I dread the moment I ask..what would they like for supper ? It's always Pasta -Red Tomato sauce, White - creamy sauce, that's no 1 daughter, always creamy, cheesy rich & indulgent - and Brown - That'll be marmite sauce pasta , you'll be pleased to know ;)

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  9. german: I think my mum went through a 'you must eat your lentils' period. I love 'em now.
    Victoria: yes sometimes I give her a flask. If I were a really swotty mum, I'd do a gorgeous bento box for her lunch. I will do it one day.
    La Rosilla: ha! a brown dinner too, wow, you've really expanded on your repertoire there :)

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  10. I live in Chelsea. Miles apart but it seems that posh mums are universal. Velvet hairbands abound.

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  11. Oh, you made me laugh! I see those mums every day because there's a very posh school next to us. They are scary.

    I also love the idea of blueberry pasta, but then as a Finn I would, wouldn't I? xx

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  12. Blueberry noodles? You learn something new every day!!!

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  13. Wow. I love me a funky noodle.

    I'm getting close to start working on kids. And I'll most likely be the mum with the crap ride shlepping from Dalston to the French school. It's comforting to read about how you've come out alive and relatively sane!

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