The future father of my children…is a meanie-pants

4 09 2013

Cooking disasters

In my never ending quest to earn the title of Domestic Goddess, I occasionally set myself little challenges for self improvement.

This week in a bid to use up some left over broccoli I decided to do some internet research for a recipe for broccoli and Pasta bake.

I found a recipe at the following website: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1094665/cheesy-broccoli-pasta-bake

However despite my enthusiasm for this project, such efforts are fleeting and as such I am reluctant to stock my cupboards with ingredients that I will only ever use once. So I do have a tendency to take a creative approach to cooking.

Rather than buy flour for example I had an ingenious idea and substituted it with stuffing.

Stuffing is largely breadcrumbs; bread is made with flour – flawless logic!

Should you wish to try my recipe – DONT! It was a monumental disaster and my efforts results in a scathing online review: http://sofaruntitled.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/ready-steady-cook/

 

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The Future father of my children…is an amazing cook!

27 03 2013

Daddy Chef

I have been reviewing FFOMC’s suitability for parenthood and I realised that it would be remiss of me not to mention his talent in the kitchen, and yes I am talking about cooking!

Before he met me he had several jobs that involved cooking. For example, he worked at The Little Chef when he first quit college, followed by his pub job which included some time in the kitchen, he even held a position  Fish restaurant which offered him the chance of taking an NVQ and other training which may have resulted in him making his role as a chef a more permanent career choice but retail beckoned and has ultimately led him into a 9-5 position at head office at long last!

For as long as we have lived together we have shared the responsibility of cooking. We rotate, taking turns to cook every other night; and I must say he is pretty damn good at it!

While I rarely have any complaints about any of his food, my favourite dishes would definitely be his amazing fried breakfasts, his fantastic roast dinners (particularly his roast pork), and recently he has experimented with delicious dauphinoise potatoes when he discovered I had a liking for them.

It is wonderful that we can share this task and FFOMC definitely has a talent for preparing good food. In fact he takes great pride in his cooking.

When I started my current job and discovered that my boss, who quickly became an amazing friend, did not cook at all and prefered to use her oven as a storage unit for past coursework. She lived alone so FFOMC started to cook a little more than we needed and would make her up a plate for me to take to her at work the next day for her to heat up in her microwave. She always seemed to really appreciate this and he beamed with pride everytime he wrapped up a plate in tin foil and presented it to me to give to her at work in the morning. He knew how much I valued this woman and when she became ill last summer, he scolded me when I made a bolognaise one evening only using half a packet on mince as it would mean there wouldn’t be enough to take her a portion – he was deeply disgruntled to discover that she was on a restricted diet during her recovery and his efforts in the kitchen would have to take a leave of absence.

His skill does not however, come without its problems.

We have different attitudes towards cooking. I tend to cook things so they are as I like them rather than as they are supposed to be. Thinking back to my childhood I remember my Dad’s burnt offerings on the BBQ, the only option for steaks being the ‘well done option’ and vegetables were always overcooked and soggy. I remember this with a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy – a positive one though not memories of food poisoning! When I cook this way, FFOMC transforms into a less likable and more irritable Gordon Ramsey, issuing instructions and offering ‘helpful’ advice that I promptly disregard and continue with my tried and tested methods learnt in my childhood.

FFOMC and I enjoy watching the odd cooking related show together and have particularly enjoyed Hell’s Kitchen, all things Heston Blumenthal and the personable Jamie Oliver’s attempts to resolve all the world’s problems through the medium of cooking on Fifteen – although I was less enamoured with his attempts to FIX education with his ill conceived notion that non teaching, subject specialists could do a better job than qualified teachers.

The problem with watching cooking shows is that FFOMC resolves immediately to sign up as a contestant thinking that he would clearly do a better job than the shortlisted candidates selected to participate and even worse he starts to do weird and unnecessary things when he is preparing food that elongates the process and as far as I can tell does not improve the quality of the meals he serves.

He is quick to criticise my efforts in the kitchen and warns me that our future children will prefer his cooking to mine.

For what it is worth – I am happy for him to never suffer the indignity of choking down another meal I have prepared for the reat of his life if that is his wish. Unfortunately he in turn seems to feel I would benefit from more practice.

We have reached a deadlock.

But I suppose if someone is going to critic my culinary skills it is preferable that it is someone who actually knows what he is doing in the kitchen.

If he does achieve his goal of becoming a house husband I imagine that cooking is one skill that will come in handy for him.

Then again – how challenging is it for a master chef to heat fish fingers, potato waffles and heize baked beans?

 

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The future father of my children…has some questionable role models

13 03 2013

role_models

We all have our role models – people we admire or maybe even aspire to be like one day.

When it comes to parenting I have a number of inspiration women I look up to. I would like to have Super nanny Jo Frost’s patience and common sense approach to parenting, but mixed with Delia Smith’s no nonsense approach to cooking. I wouldnt mind sharing Anthea Turners adept skills as the perfect homemaker as long as I was as cool as Mum as Sharon Osborne and despite their flaws I have always admired the passion and sense of responsibility Victoria Beckham and Angelina Jolie’s have twards their beloved children. If I can find a method for combining the virtues of all these women I think I would make one hell of a Mother.

FFOMC also has many role models. To be fair to him most of the people he aspires to be like one day have admirable qualities that would be beneficial for a future father. By way of example: FFOMC is a fan of Gordon Ramsey and I must admit that if they shared the same culinary flair in the kitchen, I would be the last person to complain.

Equally I would love FFOMC to make ‘Geek’ look as cool as Gaming fanatic Chris Metzen or for him to have the creativity and passion of JJ Abrams or Joss Whedden. If his passion for writing turned him into the next Robert Jordan I would value the fcat that he could have a job he was passionate about while still working from home (which would compliment his role as ‘house husband’). I would be his No.1 groupie if he had the musical ability of Kurt Cobain or James Hepfield and I would not object if he had Alan Sugar’s finances prowess.

However – while I could live with the role models listed above there are some father figures he admires who I find a little more troubling.

First is a comic character; unemployed, daytime television fanatic and jammie dodger enthusiast…

…Jonny Keogh:

From BBC sitcom Two Pints of Larger and a Packet of Crisps. FFOMC loves this hapless and eccentric husband of Janet and father of baby “Corinthian McVitie Keogh”. The name of his child may say it all without furthir explanation! FFOMC’s favourite episode of this series features a heart wrenching decision Jonny must make about how to spend the £1000 prize he wins on a scratch card. Following much deliberation by Jonny and speculation by his nearest and dearest his final decision is to hire the character of Bungle for the day, from children’s TV program Rainbow who comes with a free bouncy castle – this is apparently a more obvious choice than the engagement ring girlfriend Janet is expecting.

Moving on to a man who has a young family…

…Homer Simpson:

This beer swilling working class stereotype somehow manages to hold down a steady job at a Nuclear Power Plant which appears to come with minimal responsibilities (unexpected for a Safety Inspector), but he is unintelligent, crude, incompetent, overweight and his negligent attitude towards his offspring should surely warrant some sort of red flag on the Social Services radar. I am 100% confident that it is not OK to strangle your children for poor behaviour and Homer’s over-reliance on Duff beer must be a cause of some concern for his long suffering wife Marge.

But what happens when the kids are a little older?

Apparently FFOMC will become Modern Family man like…

Phil Dunphy:

Phil’s unique approach to “peer-anting” seems to be the major appeal for FFOMC (rather than Phil’s love of Musical Theatre as seem in his attempts to recreate scenes from High School Musical). “Peer-anting” is based on the premise that kids respond well to a ‘cool’ parent who just ‘gets them’ – becauseall adults know that having a high ‘coolness’ rating is a fool proof strategy for commanding respect and engaging with teenage kids who obviously know that adults are – deep down – just like them – errr NOT!

Another favourite of FFOMC is My Family’s…

… Ben Harper:

This Scrooge like character has one primary objective in life – to get his almost adult children to leave home. Should FFOMC and I embark on the journey that is parenting it is of some concern that he already has half his mind on them flying the nest – a simpler solution may be to stay as we are – childless – to avoid the unnecessary burden of spending years trying to rid ourselves of any offspring we produce n just over 18 years time.

But surely – when the kids have flown the nest I can look forward to weekends with the Grandchildren and we can enjoy a peaceful and rewarding retirement reaping what we have sown. NO! Because then I will have to contend with…

…Victor Meldrew:

The original grumpy old man; forced into early retirement at the age of 61, his main goal in life seems to be to torment his poor wife and catalogue the many slings and arrows life tosses his way. He is often misunderstood and usually the victim of incredible bad luck resulting in his much loved and quoted catch phrase “I don’t believe it”.

This is not exactly the life I have mapped out for myself and FFOMC may need to seriously reconsider his role models.

I have made an executive decision that I will be the FFOMC’s mentor in this area and recommend more suitable role models for him.

For now and purely because I understand that the process of making babies, (a necessary evil all future parents must force themselves to endure), involves a level of intimacy; I will be recommending that he become aquainted with a certain Mr Grey and model his behaviour accordingly.

I have no doubt that I can direct him towards more suitable role models for later stages in our lives as parents as and when circumstances demand.

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The future father of my children … wants to be a ‘HOUSE HUSBAND’

20 02 2013

House husband

Despite only being in his early 30’s my husband’s favourite topic for discussion EVERY morning when I drive him to the train station – is his retirement.

He seems to feel now that I am the main wage earner in our household that he should be permitted to give up work and stay home. I have pointed out that he would be unable to draw his pension just yet, but he is undeterred. Recently though he came up with a new strategy that would enable him to hang up his shirt and tie forever – he wants to be a house husband.

Now this is not something that I should simply reject without due consideration. However while I can see both pros and cons of this plan of action, I am not entirely sure that he understands exactly what is involved in being a house husband.

There is a lot to be said for having one parent stay at home to look after the children, and it makes sense that it be whoever has the smallest wage. We could save on the astronomical cost of child care and he could enjoy spending time with our children in the early years of their lives – a privilege denied many fathers.

I would be delighted in many ways to see him taking sole responsibility for looking after babbykins, cleaning our home and making sure there was a cooked meal waiting for me on my return from work every evening.

However I suspect that my interpretation of a ‘house husband’ wildly differs from the ‘World of War craft’ extravaganza that he has in mind. In his head the child will sleep for 90% of the time, be easily pacified, require minimal time and attention while he breezes through about 1hrs worth of housework each day and have the rest of the time to do as he wishes, after all “What do all these housewives do with their days?”

I doubt he has considered how regularly a newborn needs to be fed or the increased workload for the washing machine when coping with ongoing spit-up, nappy changes etc, and for that matter I would question whether he knows how many nappies a baby goes through in a day or how many cuddles are required to stop the crying that occurs for no apparent reason. Has he considered the endless hours he will need to spend watching Tweenies and Sponge Bob or some other nonsense concocted to drive new parents insane? What about playgroup? I am not sure how comfortable I would be if he was the one Dad in a room full of hormonal new Mums, especially if as a hormonal new Mum myself I would be shipped off back to work.

Not to mention that I would be the one to have undergone the major trauma on my body only to go rushing back to the fairly stressful environment of Secondary education. Instead of using my time to bring up my own child I would continue to be subjected to other people’s children – hardly a relief from the responsibility but more an endurance test by day followed by much of the same in the evening when hubby would no doubt expect to hand over the torch!

Who would do night time feeds? With a full day of child care behind him would he ‘man-up’ and leave me to get much needed sleep? If I am to work full time am I absolved from the responsibility of breast feeding? What if breast is actually best?

If he is truly intent on remaining in the house would he ever leave it? Will the pram that will no doubt cost a fortune simply collect dust while he shouts at computer generated images of his ‘online friends’ while juggling our offspring and a variety of stuffed animals in one arm? Does he understand the need for walks in the park, feeding the ducks, swimming, coffee mornings with other ‘Mums’ or jingle tots?

The jury is most definitely out on whether the FFOMC should be permitted to be a stay at home Dad and deliberations may take some time.

For earlier posts about FFOMC check out: