Here’s a real conversation about food that happened in our house this week:
Me: Did you get a snack at school today?
Flea: Yeah, I had a bacon roll.
Me: OK. But if you’ve had breakfast, try and get something else, ok? Not always bacon.
Flea: Oh, I don’t always have a roll. Some days I have a waffle or a panini.
I’m fairly confident I was 21 and working in Soho before I tasted my first panini. It wasn’t until I went to New York that same year I realised not all waffles were frozen and made of potato.
If you ask me, kids’ food today has all got a bit fancy.
When I got home from school in the 1980s, it was to a PROPER tea.
My Mum worked full time and was a single parent to boot, so week night meals were quick and easy. Maybe sausages with boiled potatoes and peas. Fish fingers and instant mash, with carrots. Or jacket potatoes with tuna and salad.
On the weekends, when there was a bit more time, it might be spaghetti bolognese or cheese and onion pie, or Mum’s chicken and vegetable broth, cooked up with rice in the pressure cooker and served with chunky slices of bread.
Pudding was really just for treats, but on a school night there might be a Ski yoghurt or an apple. If we had guests or it was a special occasion, we might get to feast on a Wall’s Viennetta. Let the good times roll!
It seems these days like kids have forgotten how to eat like kids. We’ve been testing various food delivery boxes recently and I complained to one company the dishes didn’t seem all that child friendly. The firm apologised and sent me their “family box”.
Sample family recipes? Chorizo calzone. Beef ragout with black olive salsa. Chicken and spinach taquitos.
Checking out social media, it feels like even normal, home-cooked food these days seems to need to involve ingredients that 12-year-old me wouldn’t have known how to pronounce. Risotto. Fajitas. Grilled halloumi.
I can’t help but wonder if food hasn’t become just another social media status symbol. As though feeding kids herb-crusted salmon and pesto potatoes is BETTER than gammon and chips. *pause to remember how much I love gammon and chips*
I get it, I do. To an extent, anyway.
Food’s more widely available than in the 1980s. Retailers have access to a global store cupboard of amazing foods. This is A Good Thing.
I love grilled halloumi as much as the next person, and I have been known to make a pretty mean risotto. Oh and that chicken and spinach taquito? Was flippin’ amazing.
But sometimes I yearn for simpler times when you could just stick something under the grill, and dinner would be ready 15 minutes later, without the need to stir fry or marinade anything. When the addition of little sausages to a tin of beans meant you had basically won at life.