Toast Jenga – and other ‘finger food’ revelations

Working as a journalist for over 15 years means you do encounter slightly bonkers stories from time to time.

Especially working in the UK, where people love to sell tales to the tabloids of how they bought a vegetable that looks like Santa Claus, or a tortilla that looks like Jesus. Ahem…

My personal highlight has to be when hubby was made to strip off so he could be photographed pretending to be a naked ‘hermit’ living in some cave in the North of England. The hermit was famous for some reason, I forget why, but still it must have been a fantastically slow news day.

Fortunately hubby was only ‘on show’ from the waist up poor thing. (And poor snapper come to that!)

But given all that I was still highly amused, and a little shocked, when a story popped up in my inbox yesterday about a dad resorting to desperate measures to get his two little girls to eat a proper breakfast. Apparently the poor sod has to start each day by crafting and then playing an elaborate game of toast Jenga…

After painstakingly building each tower of toast fingers, which he creates in three different flavours by the way, he and his one and three-year-old then battle it out to see who is ‘top of the toast’

Apparently this is a good way to ‘spice up’ the most important meal of the day.

One wonders if he’s considered offering his pre-schoolers eggs with chilli flakes. Or last night’s left over curry?!

In all seriousness I have great admiration for parents prepared to go to extreme lengths to ensure their offspring are chomping on a perfectly balanced daily menu, probably because I seem to have lost the inspiration to do it myself.

I have vague memories of poaching and then lovingly flaking fillets of fish for mini-me, which would then be mixed with diced, de-seeded tomatoes and pre-charred aubergine.

And then of her throwing it at the wall.

Now hubby and I are more of the ‘spaghetti hoops and cheese on toast for tea okay?’ school of thought. And we are also big consumers of brioche.

Oh dear all this is sounding very ‘un-Gwyneth’… Or at least like Caroline Aherne’s character from the Royle Family who used to make ‘her Dave’ Dairylea on toast for dinner.

I do actually cook from scratch pretty often, but it’s usually a fairly safe selection of ever-rotating meals, like meatballs, chilli, sausage casserole and spag bol.

Probably why when my dad, a brilliant cook, offers mini-me options such as frittata that she has absolutely no idea what he’s on about and proceeds to request fish fingers and ice-cream please.

And poor old blue-eyed boy is not likely to encounter a toast Jenga tower in the Neat Freak kitchen any time soon.

Having worked right through with him and now juggling two businesses as well as the kids I have to admit that toast with a choice of two toppings is about as exotic as it will probably ever get for him.

That reminds me I’m sure someone told me recently that they make their children home-made waffles. Hmm, must cross them off the Christmas card list immediately.

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