I can cook. I can throw down a canard de confit with spiced peach marmalade and a side of braised escarole. I deserve a TV show. I’m that good.
Unless you’re a kid.
For kids’ cuisine, I’m egregiously overqualified. If I laid a nice plate of maple glazed pork loin with a beet and goat cheese salad down before you, a grown-up with an established and sensitive palate, you’d swoon. You’d lick the plate. But my kids?
Boy: What the heck, Dad? Is this even real food?
Or, say, I knock out a sweet coq au vin with a side of braised Brussels sprouts, chopped walnuts and prosciutto.
Boy: What is this?
Me: Coq au vin—chicken with wine.
Boy: Why are these cabbages so small? What did you do to them?
Me: Look, it’s just braised—
Girl: STOP BRAISING THINGS! We hate braise!
Me: Look, when you ate the duck last week—
Together: WE ATE A DUCK!?
Me: Yeah, canard de confit. It means duck cooked in its own fat.
Girl: I’m gonna throw up.
Boy: WHAT ELSE DID WE EAT?
Me: There were the goat burgers, raccoon casserole, parakeet, skunk, badger—
The next day, the boy comes home from school and races into the house.
“Dad, Dad, Dad, what’s for dinner?!”
“No. I told my friends about all the gross stuff you cook. They can’t wait to hear what you make next!”
“I’m making spaghetti.”
Boy: Now we’re talking.
“And pickled badger nostrils, wombat knuckles—”
A week later, I am, again, fed up with pandering to the family’s preferred cuisine. I need to get my chef on.
I buy a rabbit, some parsnips, chestnuts and mushrooms. The kid comes home from school.
Boy: What smells so good?
“Fruit bat stuffed with shriveled yak spleen.”
Boy: Oh my god, that sounds delicious.
“Here, taste this.” I shove a steaming chunk of parsnip in his mouth. “Roasted zombie finger bone.”
Boy: This. Is. Delicious.
“Well don’t tell anyone. Fruit bat is illegal.”
Boy: I’m gonna be the most popular kid in school!