Who doesn’t love roast chicken? Other than vegans (hardcore vegetarians that don’t even go to cities with the word ‘ham’ in them) and ‘good’ vegetarians (the ones who don’t say ‘oh, I’m a veggie except for chicken and fish’), that is. If you’re one of them, then keep reading anyway because I need the exposure.
A good roast chicken is impressively easy to make, you can put all sorts of healthy veggies with it in a slow cooker, add a sauce if you want, choose your seasoning to taste and then destroy all those healthy options by adding a big fat wad of thick creamy potato on the side and then stuff your face with ice cream afterwards. All of the above can happen without any drama in the house, especially if you live by yourself or with your other half and, if applicable, a well trained pet that does as it’s told.
Now add small children to the mix.
You may find yourself trying to make recipes that involve quite a bit of prep-work, especially if you have a Pinterest account and wish to take photos of your meal afterwards, providing that you have a good enough camera and the complimentary skills not to make it look like as if the cat has just thrown up on your plate and then peed in the shoddily lit wine glass. Regardless, it should be no surprise whatsoever that it may feel a bit off-putting for you to do all this work on your food, cook it and then present it to your children, who then proceed to complain and poke at the food and in extreme cases, cry, pout, curl up into a ball and continually scream for their other parent.
Yes, mothers and fathers of young children who are reading this, you’re not alone.
But still you feel a need to battle on, to keep making healthy food even though you may end up dousing everything in tomato ketchup because, hey, if you have enough of it then it counts as a veggie for the day, right? Keep presenting that healthy food and eventually they will capitulate because their little bodies need nourishment and do not want to star in a charity commercial about child poverty. They will eventually come around to a vaguely healthy food option, but like a rogue AI, they will eventually learn your ways, adapt accordingly and change tactics on you. Hence, the first sentence about roast chicken.
So when Butterfly, my adorable 4 y.o daughter that loves to help to cook from time to time even though she actually just stands there not doing very much and gets a bit upset if you’re the only one that can use the big sharp knives, decides to turn off the slow cooker with said chicken in it, you have to ask ‘Why!? For the love, why did you do that for!?’
You have to ask that type of question so that you can judge for yourself whether or not to send them to college later on.
‘Because it was on, Daddy, and it was using too much lektricataity’, she said.
This is a valid point in this day and age where our electricity use may kill the planet and send us all back to the Stone Age where there weren’t any hipsters. Which isn’t a bad prospect, come to think of it.
Still, I didn’t know how long the slow cooker had been off, which is a bit of a letdown if it was meant for supper. So I switched it back on so that it would still be okay and not destined for the rubbish bin. And it’s chicken, so I’m usually a bit more wary about it because of Edwina Curry, she who instilled fear of salmonella to my entire generation in the UK. It also meant that due to time, I had to have a Plan B and only according to what I had in the house as no way was I dragging three cranky kids down to the grocery store. No sir, not going to happen, as my nerves were frazzled enough for one day.
Pancakes! Pancakes are always a last resort option in this house and everybody likes them. I make them myself, not out of a packet and I usually double the recipe so that there’s enough for everyone in our household. Easy, right?
Well, yes. Up until the point when you’re doing a bit of stirring and then you suddenly hear a ‘ugh, yucky’ and then a spitting noise in the background. Being a bit of a clean freak when it comes to food, it caught my attention and so I asked my daughter what happened.
‘I saw something in there so I took it out and then I ate it and then I spat it back out because it was yucky’, came the answer.
I asked, ‘Back into the egg mixture?’
And she said yes.
My 5 y.o son, Lightning, piped up at this point and said, quite helpfully, ‘That means you’re going to have to make it again.’
Change of tactics, see? Or am I just being paranoid?
After a lot of sighing, I remade the egg mixture, put it all together and we had pancakes ready in time for the roast chicken to be ready. At least we ate well on both those days. But when your children ask if they can wear their aprons to help or not, first check for a telltale smirk or a subtle gleam in their eye. If that’s the case, then so help your ‘healthy option’ for tonight.