The Lesser of Two Evils

Jubilee TeaNever mind Brexit, we have a bigger crisis to contend with at home:

Cupcake Armageddon.

Younger daughter turns nine this week and wants to bring cupcakes into school. But we’re not talking ordinary cupcakes, and definitely not store-bought ones, but custom-baked rainbow coloured cupcakes with homemade icing.

My children’s fine taste in food and pastries is entirely their father’s fault. A trained chef-turned psychotherapist, he treated our daughters to homemade white-wine risotto when they were barely a year old; ready-made baby food from the supermarket was banned from our home. No wonder our children turned into insufferable food snobs who approach dinner-time at home as if they were choosing off the a la carte menu at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.

Until recently, we were fortunate enough to be able to call on our former nanny for help with all things baking – her cupcakes were nothing short of pieces of (edible) art with their Harry Potter and emoji-themed decorations. Unfortunately, she now lives back in Sweden, which means it’s up to my husband to try to live up to our children’s expectations.

As for me, I am utterly useless in the kitchen, and if it weren’t for my husband, the children would probably starve, especially since they stopped eating the one food I know how to cook: fish fingers. Thank goodness I married a man who loves to cook, and who takes enormous pleasure in preparing tasty and nourishing food for his family because I have none of those skills. Sometimes I even complain about the fact that children need to be fed at all. It’s such a hassle!

‘But don’t you have the urge to nourish your children,’ my therapist once asked me, clearly struggling to comprehend my total aversion to cooking.

‘Eh, no,’ I replied, ‘I guess I’m missing the cooking and nourishing gene.’

My mother, herself a more than capable cook, tells me to accept that I hate cooking and to rely on Marks & Spencer’s ready-made meals whenever my husband hasn’t got the time to prepare food. Yet I fear that my husband and therapist are in cahoots, working to transform me into a passable cook against my will.

‘Look at how fearful you were of driving only a year ago, and now you drive all the time, and you enjoy it’ my therapist says.

‘But I don’t want to cook,’ I say. ‘I hate cooking, it makes me moody, antsy, and I am always wishing I was doing something else.’

‘But don’t you take pleasure from knowing you’re nourishing your children?’ he insists.

‘Nourishing?! Bah, don’t give me that mumbo-jumbo crap.’ Actually, I don’t say that aloud – I’m far too polite to shout at my therapist – but inside I’m screaming.

I love my children more than anything in the world, but if I had to choose between cupcake Armageddon and Brexit, I’d go for the latter.

Speaking of Brexit, we’re escaping London for a couple of weeks, flying off to sunny Tenerife this weekend, and what Britain we will return to is anyone’s guess. So to be on the safe side, we’re bringing the children’s British and Swedish/EU passports with us, along with my newly acquired permanent residence certificate, to ensure that all of us are allowed back in the UK should Brexit have come to pass at last.

That said, I don’t think any of us would complain if we got stuck in Tenerife a bit longer than intended. Far away from both Brexit and rainbow coloured cupcakes.

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