Thursday 22nd March 2012
“I know!” He said excitedly. “Daddy could time 15 minutes & me & Mummy could cook something, without the oven, & see who wins.”
My son, Zephyrus, was up early this morning watching ‘Junior Bake Off.’ It’s a children’s tv program where kids are put through various tests to see who will become crowned junior baker of the year.
“What about Daddy?” My wife chipped in not wanting me to be left out.
“No but, Daddy’s the best cook in our family,” He continued squirming. “So he’ll win but we’re about the same so…” He trailed off realising the hole he was digging for himself was big enough.
“Ok!” Said my wife slightly affronted that her cooking was being compared to that of an 8-year-old boy.
“Why can’t you cook anything?” I asked trying to tactfully change the subject.
“Cos’ I can’t use the oven.” He said in the baby voice he uses when he wants to be seen as a baby.
Sometimes he can revert to type with such ease and dexterity, anyone would think he was a child.
“Ok, so you get 15 minutes to make something without cooking it & I’ll judge the winner?” I reiterated.
“Yeah, time it on your phone!” He ordered.
And with that we were off running down the hall in search of food.
“I must warn you both that there isn’t a lot in at the moment. It’s the end of the month so we’ve run out of a lot of stuff.” I confessed with my cap in hand.
Luckily, they weren’t interested in what we didn’t have, only in what we did have. So they both ignored me.
Zephy knew exactly what he wanted to make, as he was already rummaging around the larder pulling out various tins.
“We’ll do the old favourite, eh Dad?” He said handing me a tin of mackerel.
About 18 months ago, he was off ill from school. I asked what he wanted for lunch & he said; tinned mackerel with two slices of raisin bread. The old favorite was born. We haven’t had it since!
I facilitated by handing them various bowls & plates but the rest was up to them.
“What time is it?” Zephy suddenly demanded to know.
“You’ve got 7 minutes left.” I said.
“Right, you’ve got to make 3 plates then Mum.” He announced.
The heat was on!
For the next 7 minutes we all flew around the tiny kitchen in a perfectly orchestrated fandango, just without the castanets.
Time was called & the dishes were ferried through to the dinning room table.
“And don’t just say 10 for everything, like you always do.” Zephy said in full competitive mode.
“I am offended that you would even think that of me. I am always completely unbiased in every bake-off competition I judge.” I said scrubbing out the 10 I had already written on my makeshift mark sheet.
I then went about diligently tasting the dishes that they had prepared. Taking the time to point out individual excellence with a few minor faults thrown in for good measure & so as not to look too obvious with my final marks.
“I have deliberated long & hard about my decision & let me just say, that this has been the toughest round ever.” I began to announce. “You have both worked incredibly hard to come up with new & innovative creations & your efforts have not gone unnoticed,” At this point I had lost them both but I was enjoying the pomp & ceremony & so ploughed on. “but, unfortunately there can only be one winner here today…Mummy you have been a noble contender,” They’re back with me again. “and a force to be reckoned with but I’m afraid the clear winner here today is Zephyrus for the sheer quantity & quality of his dishes. 9/10” I concluded.
“I knew you’d say that.” He replied matter-of-factly.