Burned-out parents like nothing more than to spend 40 minutes cleaning up after an ill-advised food choice. Here are five foods guaranteed to do the job:
1. Weetabix (…and Bixies and other own-brand products)
These crunchy, bone-dry lozenges are so thirsty they soak up a litre of milk per square cm. No danger of them dripping off the spoon, then. But don’t get too cocky… You see edible if gruel-like nourishment. Your child sees play dough and will act accordingly. Stray Weetabix paste hardens to cement in under two minutes and is loosened only by chisel. Fashion tip! Weetabix is perfect for fixing hard-to-style hair in place! Simply brush through with fingers caked in mush. Remove from locks by soaking in painfully hot water for 20 mins. Do not wriggle.
2. Happy Hippos
Delicious light and crispy treats. Kids love ’em. They’re great for quieting a grizzling toddler but did you know they’re also perfect for wasting overpriced wipes? The sweet fondant centre melts on contact with the saliva inside a child’s mouth, forming a delightfully viscous oozing syrup. It’s denser than standard-issue dribble, so has the extra weight required to flow stoutly and unhindered into chin creases, under clothing and up up up into armpits.
3. Peanut Butter
Mmmm. Peanut butter. Tasty, nutritious and wholesome. Also dry, clinging and tenacious. It adheres to any surface and wiping only serves to spread it further. Children love to rub it all over, especially across fabric sofas and freshly laundered t-shirts and deep into the roots of the baby-bird hair behind their ears. Danger! Peanut butter bonds to host fingers in seconds. Gaps between digits can harbour residue for up to 12 months.
4. White fish
Cod, coley, haddock. You name it. White fish is packed with protein and rich in vitamins. Nothing makes you feel more pleased with yourself than dishing this up and going on about it later. But how does white fish behave when it’s not replenishing an infant’s reserves of Niacin and Selenium? By throwing itself about with abandon, of course. Try as he might to contain it, your child will unwittingly toss this fibrous matter all over himself and the carpet. Raise the spoon too briskly and it will leap out with impudence. Lift it gingerly to the mouth and the lightest, most whispery fairy-breath will cast it far and wide. It will satisfy its wanderlust one way or the other. This defiant behaviour elicits distress and multiple mid-meal requests for hand-wiping. Plus everything smells of fish for ages.
Falafel are healthy and balanced and taste delicious. But watch out! These spongy, together little balls are just waiting for the poke of a juvenile finger, upon which they intend to fall fully and completely apart. Each falafel is trained to self-destruct on contact, breaking into 743 micro-falafels, whose brief is to get stamped into carpets and bind themselves to wool and acrylic clothing for all eternity.
So there you go. Five foods to serve when your day’s not panning out as stressy as you’d like. It’ll all end in tears.