When a hungry son circles Wendy...

I CAME across an article in a magazine the other day called, ‘ Feeding teenage boys’.

I quickly zeroed in on the wording thinking it might give me some helpful hints on how to fill up the forever-hungry bottomless pit that wanders around my kitchen masquerading as my son. Imagine my level of disappointment when in the first three lines of the text the words ‘salad’ and ‘teenager’s lunchbox’ were mentioned. This was obviously going to be a work of fiction.

No doubt the dietician who penned this article did it with the noblest of intentions but it has to be said the Brothers Grimm wrote more believable stuff.

Paragraph two started: ‘Make one large batch of undressed coleslaw at the beginning of the week to save you time’. Time for what? To throw it out again at the end of the week?

There is more than one fatal flaw with that sentence, not the least of which being you never under any circumstances feed a teenage boy cabbage. They already have enough natural gas swirling around in their systems capable of giving the dog a run for his money so you certainly don’t need to be adding fuel to that fire by stoking it with a highly flammable material like raw cabbage.

Her next little tip was, ‘Using the appropriate attachment on the food processor, finely shred carrot and a couple of sticks of celery’. Again, obvious signs this article was written by a complete amateur or at the very least someone who has never given birth. Anyone who owns both a teenage son and a food processor knows that the teenager will already have used the appliance for a science experiment back in Year 7 and the appropriate attachments, which were used inappropriately, now no longer work. My poor old food processor only has two options left – on or off – so shredding is no longer a choice in my kitchen.

Moving on. The next paragraph was devoted to eggs and mayonnaise and what a ‘delightful addition they make to a teenager’s lunch box’. Oh really? Have you ever opened a lunch box crammed with egg sandwiches that was left in a school back pack for an entire morning without refrigeration? It’s anything but delightful. Try opening it after three long hot summer days and you’ll be struggling with your gag reflex and reaching for the scuba gear just to take it out to the bin. And you can forget about ever using that lunch box again. Just like stretch marks, smelly Tupperware is forever.

Her final foodie suggestions included, ‘The easiest, quickest and smartest snack has to be fruit and the more you add to the lunchbox, the more that gets eaten – give your teen options in the lunchbox and the less likely they will be to crave sweets or buy a bag of chips’.

In what universe? In the real world teenagers can be counted on to do three things without fail – drive their parents nuts, pick at their pimples and to eat chips, fruit just doesn’t come into that equation. Just ask schoolteachers about fruit, they’ll tell you what really happens to it – if it’s not used as some sort of missile it’s left to ferment in the bottom of the schoolyard bins.

I kept reading to the end of the article hopeful the writer may still be able to give me some useful advice, although I know the only way my eldest is ever grabbing fruit as a snack is when it comes in a box and has the word ‘Loops’ after it.

But all hope was surely lost when I read the sentence, ‘Use your Sunday roast leftovers and put them in a sandwich for your teenager’s school lunch’.

Leftovers? Who is she kidding? I have a teenage son who is in a perpetual state of ‘starving’. Where on earth am I going to get leftovers?



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