We don’t eat out that much as a family, to be honest it’s never been much fun. The food is way too colourful (ergo suspicious), it takes too long to arrive resulting in the unpopular activity of extended sitting and if you down your babychino in one and lob the cup over your shoulder unashamedly, well it turns out some places are not quite so ‘baby friendly’ after all. In short I can think of better ways to spend 50 quid.
Now compare this experience to that of McDonalds – the food is consumed voluntarily and without fuss, delivered to you within seconds, all wrapped up in an exciting looking box and with a piece of plastic tat for good measure. Is it a no brainer? Do you scurry your brood in, head hung in shame or would you not let your kids within 100 ft of the golden arches?
When I was a kid Maccie D’s was part of childhood. It was the post panto tradition every Christmas eve, it was the crème de la crème of birthday parties with the coveted kitchen tour. I fondly remember scoring stacks of no purchase necessary game cards and standing in the street with my sisters, fervently scratching the panels in the hope of revealing ‘free regular fries’.
We used to wolf down the chicken teeth and giblets along with the nuggets no bother and moo at our mad cow brain burgers. Mechanical separation – say what? Pig fat milkshakes – Yum!
Yet times have changed and despite a massive positive shift in the processes and quality of the food there those who would have you believe that every time someone buys their kid a happy meal Jamie Oliver finds a kitten and stamps on its head repeatedly until it is dead; which seems confusingly contrary to his general ethical stance on stuff but hey ho.
I confess – we go. I just make a massive show of licking the babies chips clean of salt before he eats them. Better people think me unhinged than an irresponsible parent. And I can hardly wax lyrical about the benefits of healthy eating soon as the only vegetables I would consume up to the age of 25 were potatoes and the tomatoes in ketchup. Look at me, I’m not dead (yet).
Worth a visit for one of my favourite photos ever
So does taking your kids out for chicken nuggets and chips as the odd treat or a convenient refueling stop make you a bad mum?
Well I guess it depends on who you ask, for my 3 yr old the answer is a resounding no. His expected opinion to my very shame – ‘Best tea ever!’
As for the cute little guy below, he may disagree, but then I’m not the one performing the death stamp am I?
Kitties your beef(burger) is with the naked chef. #leavechickennuggetsaloneyoubastard
**************P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)