This is alarming if you are a child, particularly during Christmas dinner. You’ve had your turkey, you’ve dutifully chomped on a couple of sprouts, and now you are ready for dessert. Let’s hope it’s jelly and custard or even strawberry ice cream.
No, you’re having a mince pie with brandy butter.
Now, even as a child you are able to differentiate between what is good and what is bad and meat and butter doesn’t sound much like party food. It’s the equivalent of a punishment, like sitting on the naughty chair.
A child thinks: ‘I’ve behaved, I haven’t said Grandma smells of wee and I’ve eaten little green cabbages that taste like bogies. And now I’m expected to eat more savoury crap that’ll make me soil my nappy – and right above the waistband too.’
Time to throw a tantrum.
For years parents have been unable to determine what exactly is wrong with their kids at Christmas time. For pretty much the whole day their child has been the model toddler, so much so that they’ve even convinced themselves that their little angel could have a career as a child actor. Then, without warning, the pick of the progeny grows horns and demonstrates the kind of behaviour that only an exorcist would be able to tame.
If you want your kid to behave like he or she is destined for stardom in a fish finger advert refer to your dessert as a ‘Wonder Tartlet’, ‘Angel Pie’ or a ‘Sweet Delight’. Talk about giving them ice cream – even if it is vanilla – and watch their eyes widen, but for the love of the most holy God, do not say, ‘Mince pie’. If you do, expect to spend the next half-hour wiping most of it out of your eye, the carpet and you newly acquired velvet wallpaper that cost you a bank-account-emptying £30 a roll.