"You remember that thing we wouldn't even touch?"
"That hardly narrows it down. Which one?"
"It was a like a PIE" (shuddering)
"What, like apple pie?"
"No, like MEAT pie"
"I have never made a meat pie in my life. What was in it?"
"Puree" (more shuddering)
"Oh! Shepherds Pie? Hachis Parmentier?"
"Yes! Hachis Parmentier! That was the most disgusting food ever".
"What worse than everything they give you in school?"
I am a rubbish cook as they well know. I'm sure I used to be ok, when it was something I could do occasionally, just for fun. Now I just circle dully around what we could laughingly call my 'repertoire' until something breaks. It's usually me.
Casting around for someone to blame, I am tempted to alight on my younger son. Not only does Fingers eschew all nourishment, living on rage and biscuit crumbs alone, but he has strong views on the poor excuses for meals I do produce. Anything which might conceivably offend his palate (in the unlikely even he were to accidentally eat any of it) is greeted with a full scale diva meltdown. It's like having a small, French AA Gill in the kitchen.
Pasta with tomato sauce or bolognese
Fingers rating: Red. Moaning. "Uuuugh, tu sais que je déteste ça"*
Uncle Ben's Microwave Rice, lardons, peas, sweetcorn (please don't kick me M, I know you have strong views on the subject of Oncle Ben)
Fingers rating: Amber. Toyed with, upper lip slightly curled in disdain. He's judging me, silently.
Sausages and chips
Fingers rating: Green/Amber: "Il est où le KETCHUUUUP".
Fishfingers and chips
Fingers rating: Black. Body flops to the ground and jerks around in apparent grand mal seizure "Nooooooooooooon! Pas des feeeshfinger!"
Soup (probably bought, I'm not stupid enough to make my own when I know it's going straight in the bin)
Fingers rating: Red/Black. Inconsolable weeping followed by "Mais à l'école c'est bon. Celle-ci elle n'est pas bonne du tout. Elle est dégoûtante"**
Fingers rating: Orange. "Que de la peau! C'est trop seeeeec***"
It's reached the point where I dread putting anything on the table; I feel like I'm cooking for Michael Winner every night, if Michael Winner were required to eat in a particularly unreconstructed Happy Eater. Something must change. At present I don't know what that is. Maybe I will indenture him to some Belgian chef. Or maybe the Belgian authorities will take him into care for neglect. He'd make a good case.
* You know I hate that
**But at school it's nice. This one isn't nice at all. It's disgusting.
*** Just skin, it's too dry