Did your family do birthday meals?
If you chose Scotch eggs, then you probably grew up to be a great chap
Every October, a little angel in the Coleman household would have a birthday. There’d be a present from mum, which would be functional, inexpensive, and probably socks. There’d be a present from an apologetic dad, which would definitely be LEGO. And then of course, there would be the birthday meal.
In theory, we could choose any meal we wanted, and mum would make it. In practice, however, there were many terms and conditions that were applied along the way.
Here are the most memorable (and crushing):
It can't be a takeaway
Yes, I tried ‘a McDonald's dinnerbox’ once or twice. Or maybe every year.
You have to eat the birthday meal
My dad once said that the next time lentil lasagne was made in the house, he was taking anyone who wanted to go with him to McDonald's. So I tried working the system by asking for a lentil lasagne – hence the hasty introduction of this clause.
You can't have had a similarly (or not) special meal the day before
Yes, I once requested a meal, but was told that we’d already had something nice the day before (I can’t remember what it was, but it wasn’t something I would have requested). And thus it was now time to get back into the practical dishes.
It must be made with ingredients close to hand
"But mum, you've only got pasta and mince!"
“You like spaghetti bolognese, don’t you?”
On the whole, it was a bit of a failed scheme –and if my mother hadn't regularly come out with amazing birthday-worthy meals as a result of working in restaurants, I'd have become an aggrieved child (more of an aggrieved child).