Monday, 3 January 2011

Ham It Up And Cut The Cake

Honey roast or Freedom Food maple glaze? Wafer thin or crumb coated? Added water or truly irresistible?

I really do need to ‘man up’ next time I go to a supermarket.

I was in the Nairn Co-op the other day - not quite Fortnum & Mason and nowhere remotely as intimidating as the Tesco Goliath at Inverness Retail Park - and found myself genuinely flummoxed, befuddled and suffering the shopper’s equivalent of stage fright.

Choice. Margaret Thatcher had a habit of answering her critics with that word, believing it appeals to most people and justified her proliferation of privatisations. More choice equals a better life, doesn’t it?

But when you’re me - frazzled from several hard days at the office and zonked from several late nights/early mornings courtesy of a bairn in the hoose - the last thing you need is a multitude of vaguely similar options when it comes to choosing something as simple as flaming ham for flipping sandwiches.

(I’ll pause for a moment to allow vegetarians to feel smug. OK? Had your moment? Good. We’ll move on…)

It’s yet another reason to go to the local butcher rather than give all your money to Terry Leahy.

You: “I‘d like some ham for sandwiches please.”

Local Butcher: “Ham for sandwiches, sir? Certainly. I’ll just wash my hands. How many slices and how thick would you like them? It’s lovely ham this. Our own cure. And from a local farm. Terrible this weather isn’t it? Now, will there be anything else?”

Notice the lack of choice. You get your ham and you stay sane.

If only High Street butchers kept slightly more convenient hours.

Anyway, I feel this blog is getting a bit ham heavy so let’s switch to cake.

Food has been in my thoughts lately. It’s never far from your mind when you have a toddler. I’m sure I’ve blogged already about our wee one wolfing kipper on a cream scone and dunking an empire biscuit in ketchup. I may have suggested a jingly bell from the Christmas tree had been consumed too but luckily that turned up under the sofa the other day. No more detailed inspections of nappy contents required. Thank fudge.

It really is difficult to be Daddy Cool when Toddler Who Must Be Obeyed eats weird things but refuses to taste perfectly normal stuff, especially if you’ve slaved in a messy kitchen to make it.

Tonight a perfectly fine plate of vegetarian sausages, potato waffles, peas and beetroot was binned. TWMBO instead put away crumpets and humous with oatcakes. How dull. What’s that all about?

And not to mention turning up her nose at Wife Features’ drooltastic lemon cheesecake and my legendary banana bread.

It means in the past 48 hours I’ve eaten the majority of the banana loaf. So much for my usual New Year intentions to Cut The Cake, as the Average White Band used to sing.

Raising a kid is exhausting and has made me reach for my food ’crutches’: tea and biscuits. Why bother cooking a proper meal when you can stick the kettle on and plough through a packet of bourbon creams?

The advice to new parents on staying healthy is hilarious. One guidebook suggests maintaining a fitness regime with your child in tow. That’s right. Excuse me while I nip out for a quick jog to the beach and back with a twenty month old girl strapped to my chest.

There’s also the suggestion of taking TWMBO with me on bike rides in one of those precarious looking baby seats. A colleague with two tykes tells me kids just find it boring looking at your back, fall asleep and nod off to one side, dragging the bike off balance and sending you both into the nearest ditch.

So to keep things simple I’m sticking to the Cut The Cake plan (biscuits included) and have submitted a request in triplicate to Wife Features for time off for a morning bike ride, probably this weekend.

Oh, and the ham? I bought corned beef instead.

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