Regular readers know that I have spent the last 20 years fighting a long and bitter battle against one of mankind’s deadliest foes – the quiche.
I’ve conducted a relentless guerrilla war. Sadly it has been entirely without success.
“What’s for dinner?”
“Mum’s been shopping. She’s bought quiche.” Obviously Jessica is trying to wind me up. I check in the fridge. And it’s even worse than I’d feared – two of the damn things.
“You’ve bought two quiches,” I protest.
“Yes,” Jane replies. “Everyone likes quiche.”
“Everyone except you.”
And that’s true. I have to sit there eating tasteless baked egg with flabby pastry and two scarcely-visible-without-a-microscope pieces of bacon while the rest of my family beam with satisfaction – and betray me.
“You don’t like quiche, Tom.”
“Yeah I do, dad. Is there any more, mum?”
Another department where I’ve fallen down as a father.
It’s now more than 30 years since Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche first hit the bookstores.
Have I pressed a copy into my boys’ eager hands? “Here’s everything you’ll ever need to know, son.”
No, I haven’t – and now I must pay the price.
So it was last week that Jane, Ben and I sat down for another delightful meal. My wife was still in buying-for-five mode so there was a healthy slab of Mistress Lorraine left over.
“Don’t go eating the quiche for your breakfast,” she commanded. “I’ll take it to work with me.”
I was more likely to eat the dog food.
“Not to worry, darling. There’s a nice piece of rotting fish in the fridge.”
But Jane didn’t take it to work. And there the quiche stayed for a couple of days. Until Saturday, when our youngest son was once again overcome with hunger.
“Have we got anything to eat?”
“Damn it, Ben, you had an enormous bacon sandwich only an hour ago.”
“Yes. An hour ago. Can I have this quiche?” And that was that. Quiche and teenage boy disappeared.
Ben emerged from his bedroom three hours later. “Good timing, mate. Dinner’s in five minutes.”
“I’m not hungry. I’ve got a really bad headache. I’m going to lie down.”
If 20 years of parenting teaches you anything, it’s how to recognise when a child is going to puke. And how to be quick with the bucket. I arrived in the nick of time.
Naturally it was Jane’s job to make sure he was alright and my job to empty the bucket down the toilet. (You may wish to look away at this point: I’m about to describe the contents thereof…)
Never in all my years of being a dad have I seen such a perfect depiction of what my child had eaten. The boy could have been a magician.
“For my next trick – you will be amazed – I eat the quiche, I swallow it – see, there is none left in my mouth – and then…”
There it was in the bottom of the bucket. Undigested quiche. All the proof I could ever want. “You see? What have I been saying all these years?”
“Dad’s right,” a weak voice muttered from the bed. “I’m never eating quiche again.”
“Bird flu. Swine flu. Now our son’s got Quiche Flu.”
“It’s a bug, you idiot,” Jane said. Naturally I flatly refused to accept her diagnosis.
Can you get something for dinner? She texted on Monday.
No problem I replied. But it won’t be quiche #NoWishToPuke
I stood up from my desk. And immediately felt dizzy. And sick. And I had a headache. A really bad one…
What sort of bug was this Quiche Flu? A worldwide epidemic was inevitable.
Even texting the word was infectious…