My poor deprived farm kids don't get much fast food in their lives. If we lived in a town there would be plenty of days when I'd be tempted to send out for supper, but out on our farm we just open a tin of baked beans and cook up some rice on days when I've forgotten to de-frost something or have been glued to the computer until 10 minutes before supper-time. It's a lot quicker than going to fetch a pizza from our nearest town half an hour away.
Going out for a pizza is an occasional treat. Making pizza at home is just as occasional and always ends up taking way more time than I think it should, plus dirtying a lot more pans, so fast food it most certainly isn't.
Last Sunday ended up being a total junk food extravaganza … home-made junk food but junk food de luxe! My sister-in-law, having just returned from three weeks away, decided to treat us all to a full cooked Sunday breakfast. Both my sisters-in-law have the English breakfast down to a fine art, including mushrooms, tomatoes and fried potatoes with the bacon and eggs and managing to serve it all hot, bacon crispy. I know I can't compete on this front, so never do. For the kids crispy bacon is the draw card and it's always a question of two packets or three when deciding how much to cook. When they were younger they earned the nickname 'The Bacon Bandits", as they used to run over to their aunt's house on a Saturday morning, when she often cooks breakfast and hopefully join the breakfast table to snaffle a few slices of her bacon, to make up for their super-dull breakfast of cereal.
After we were totally stuffed with our fry-up, that bloated feeling that reminds you why you don't do it too often creeping over us, I asked the kids whether they still really wanted the pizza that I'd promised to make for lunch. Stupid question! What have a few pieces of bacon got to do with lunch, which is at least three hours away?!
The thought of pizza to follow a cooked breakfast was bad enough, but the children had also decreed that their aunt's birthday, which she'd had when she was away, had to be celebrated properly. A chocolate cake with candles was scheduled for tea-time! So if I put back lunch to have pizzas at two, then we had a bare two more hours to make room for chocolate cake…
Abandoning any thoughts of vitamins, nutrition, empty calories and cholesterol we declare it an official junk food extravaganza day and have done with it.
I console myself with the thought that at least they like spinach on pizza, the only form they will eat it in and the tomato sauce is home made, so there will be some vitamins, though that doesn't make any difference to the inevitable bloated feeling that results. There's no question of me making pizza and chocolate cake and not eating it myself, even though I know it's going to have uncomfortable after-effects - and if we're going to do junk food we may as well do it properly.
As well as pizza the lunch table was the scene of an impromptu joke-fest, with us wheeling out all the terrible jokes that we can remember and the children inventing ones that they found hilarious, the punch-lines of which were a triumph of lateral thinking. My husband managed to come up with a line of jokes which all had the same punch line - "Holy Mackerel!" and had the kids groaning Da-aaad, in protest, a pale foreshadowing of a teenager's groan, but definitely Dad was being way too silly!
Some fried aubergine/brinjal/eggplant slices with fresh basil make a wonderfully sophisticated pizza topping for us adults and proved to be my downfall. There was nothing for it but to fall onto the sofa and assume a comatose position until the chocolate cake gets wheeled on to finish us off.