Ben is 16. It naturally follows that he’s been buying his Mother gin for the last five years.
Birthdays, Christmas, our youngest son has never failed to deliver a litre bottle of Gordon’s. (And a large Toblerone: she has many vices…) But as his 17th birthday approached it seemed appropriate that he should go the extra mile. No, not follow in his sister’s footsteps and get a fake ID. Learn to make his Mum a G&T.
“Come on, Ben,” I said as I cheerfully covered myself in sausage meat en route to homemade Scotch Eggs, “Time to learn one of life’s essential skills.”
He reached for a glass. “No, no. Not just any glass. That heavy, sexy tumbler I bought her last Christmas. Red wine, gin, you have to drink them out of a decent glass.” Is there no end to the wisdom a father can pass on to his son?
“So, ice first.”
Ben drops the tray from a great height. Ice cubes fly in all directions.
“Good start. Just choose any two that are still on the worktop – or that haven’t killed the cat. Now take the gin bottle…”
I break off to wrap sausage meat around an egg. What does the recipe say? Making sure that the coating is smooth and completely covers the egg. Sadly I fail the MasterChef audition. I’m still focused on the gin and stick my thumb straight through the middle of a not-quite-hard-boiled egg.
“£$%&!” I say. Twice.
I’ve momentarily forgotten about Ben. He’s still pouring. Jane is on course to receive half a pint of gin with a splash of tonic. Even by my wife’s standards a tad strong…
“Er… you might just tip a little bit of that back, Ben.”
I point out the correct level with my egg and sausage meat finger. “And then a slice of lemon…and the new bottle of tonic. It has to be fizzy.”
What a pity the boy doesn’t have a LinkedIn profile yet. Check out Ben’s new skill. See what’s new with your LinkedIn connections…
“Is Gordon’s Mum’s favourite then?”
“No. He’s too mean to buy her favourite. He buys Gordon’s ’cos it’s always on offer at the corner shop.” Ah, my Beloved Daughter has finally offered her six penn’orth.
Thus far she’s been leaning against the dishwasher, silently mocking my efforts with the Scotch Eggs. “Yeah,” she said when I agreed to her order from the menu. “I did them at uni. Got runny yolks obviously.”
You might imagine Marcus and Monica leaning over your shoulder while you’re reducing a jus is pressure. You clearly haven’t tried to produce a runny Scotch Egg while your teenage daughter stands cynically by.
Twenty minutes later it’s clear that I’ve failed. The yolks are not runny. Then again, the Scotch Eggs are remarkably good. Even Jane says so, and she doesn’t like them. But that could be something to do with the gin. Maybe Ben didn’t tip any back…
“Better luck next time, Dad,” Jessica says, leaving enough sausage meat on her plate to whet the dog’s appetite.
“What’s wrong with that?”
“It’s not cooked properly. That’s because I chose the only Scotch Egg you hadn’t burnt.”
You can’t win can you? “Alright Miss Clever Clogs, what should I have done?”
“What I did. Put the eggs on ice to stop the yolk cooking. And then fry them gently.”
“Well why didn’t you tell me that?”
“You didn’t ask. You were too busy swearing at everyone.”
I bite my tongue. Two years at university and she’s moved from Cadburys to cordon bleu.
Meanwhile someone else appears to have gone backwards…
Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and moderately humorous to read – you can buy the ‘Best Dad I Can Be’ sample book with 27 of my favourite posts covering all the years I’ve been writing: it’s all of 99p on your Kindle. Alternatively the first chronological book, ‘Half Dad Half Fish’ which covers the time when the children were 9, 7 and 4 is available here.