“There’s nothing to eat.” “What’s for dinner?” “I’m hungry”. Anyone else have one of the new super-race of giant teenagers in their home? The kind that rise up out of bed around 2 and immediately proceed to scour the house for food? For a non-cook like me, keeping this lanky sulk on legs fed is a nightmare.

I don’t even know when dinner is anymore. If he gets up at two, is he still having breakfast or is it brunch? Maybe it’s some other combination meal like brinner or dunch. Whatever it is, my head is wrecked trying to think of something different to make. And I’ve been told that despite varying it with different sauces and veggies, he’s tired of “chicken and rice”. Don’t worry, I told him what I thought of his suggestions. 

I’ve no appetite myself. Well, aside from the two Flakes (mini!) I had with the second to last cuppa and the hot cross bun I’ve just had there now. No appetite at all.

I’ve not been tempted to become one of those people who fills these long days cooking wonderful dishes. As far as I can see, you spend hours slicing, stirring and sweating only for it all to be demolished in minutes. And that’s if you have the ingredients in the house to start with. I’m trying to go to the shop once a week so if a recipe calls for something I don’t have, I bung in whatever I think is closest. When I don’t happen to have shallots and Dijon mustard lying around, I just use pickled onions from the back of the fridge and mayonnaise with pepper in it. “Guess the meal” is just another fun activity. The days fly back with all the crack. Anyway, the teenager is hungry again about half an hour after we eat, sticks the oven on and had a pizza for afters.

So no, alongside not taking up knitting, new art projects or meditation, I will not be the new Nigella when all of this is over. 

Bronagh McAtasney, mystery meal chef

About the Author

Bronagh McAtasney is the creator of @NrnIrnGirl1981, real extracts of the diary of her 13 year old self. She is studying for a Master's in Public History, focussing on the unheard stories of women and has worked with the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland on projects looking at diaries and letters locked away in the archives.
She lives in Benagh with four cats, two dogs and a teenager.


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