The Mother’s Day Deputy

"The best Sunday lunch you've cooked, darling..."

“The best Sunday lunch you’ve cooked, darling…”

A lie-in. Cup of tea, slice of toast. A husband prepared to brave the elements and go to the corner shop; who’ll struggle back to the house under the crushing weight of a Sunday paper…

Yep, it’s a day to show the mother of my children how much we all love and appreciate her.

Thank goodness she finished filling the walls and hanging the wallpaper yesterday.

I’ll be expelled from the Real Men’s Union but it’s true. As the children get older Jane and I are specialising. She’s a remarkably competent decorator. My talents extend to putting the wallpaper paste on and making tea. I can, however, spatchcock a chicken.

Not a skill I’d be needing this week…

Nope, Mother’s Day is sponsored this year. Love Pork have very kindly sent me a hamper. Shoulder of pork, other goodies and a cute little recipe card.

“How about this?” I said to Ben. “We can do this together for Mum. Pulled pork with plum compote. How good does that sound?”

“Ah…” my youngest son said. For some reason he was looking slightly shifty. “About the plum compote.”

“What about it?”

“Does it need plums?”

“Well, duh. That’s why they’ve sent some.”

“I’ve eaten them.”


“I rang you. When you were in a meeting. You said ‘eat whatever you want.’ So I did.”

“But I was focused on work. Not your stomach…”

There was no point protesting. The plums were gone and they weren’t coming back.

“OK,” I said. “Plan B. We’ll make it up as we go along.”

“Don’t, Dad. Last time you made it up as you went along you ended up with that bread model of the Seven Kingdoms.”

So I had. It still haunted my dreams.

“OK, you win. Let’s have a look at the recipe book.”

Mix the salt, paprika and dark brown sugar. Massage half the mix lovingly all over the pork.

That sounded a bit tame. Let’s add some garlic. And mustard. Massage that little lot into the meat.

My phone made its ‘HGV reversing’ noise. A text. From my lovely wife. Any chance of a cup of tea?

“It’s Mum.”

“Probably a good idea to wash your hands before you touch her, Dad.”

“Yep. Not many women are turned on by the smell of mustard and garlic.”

I made the tea, despatched Ben to deliver it – along with the regulation Mother’s Day kiss – and went back to work. Wrapped my handiwork in tin foil, gas no. 2 and that was it for eight hours. Time for the really important decision. Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc?

“Right,” I said, five hours later. “The pork looks sensational. Smells sensational. Come on, mate, let’s get the vegetables done.”

Now Ben’s phoned buzzed. “Ah…” he said. Mr. Shifty was back. “Is it alright if I go into town?”

“Town? What for?”

“To meet my friends.”

“But what about doing the veg? Finishing off the pork? Setting the table?”

“Well, you could do that.”

“But it’s Mother’s Day. You’re the only one here.”

“Exactly. Tom and Jessica are at uni. So you’re representing them. You’re their deputy.”

With that he disappeared into the bathroom for twenty minutes. Why did I have the feeling ‘friends’ was singular? And female.

I sighed and starting peeling potatoes…

But he was back in time for dinner. Gosh, it looked good. I took a photo and sent it to Jessica.

Your Dad’s eight hour slow roast pork. Cooked on your behalf. 

Looks burnt, she texted back…

I shook my head sadly. “Can a chef ever impress his children?”

“Don’t worry, Dad. I’m sure you can ask Gordon and Jamie next time you compare notes…”

Thanks for reading this post. If you enjoyed it – and you’d like something light and “very, very funny” 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


  1. ‘Nice one! I had a quick look at the commerical. Quite funny!
    So back to the more serious question at hand – Can a chef ever impress his children? Nope! I’m not really that good in the kitchen (I’m more your academic type…) and clever-clog son doesn’t help. On making a very nice home-made-English-Toad-in-the-Hole dish. His comment – “This isn’t what I was expecting!”

    • Your big challenge is when he comes back from uni and cooks for you…
      Beloved Daughter cooked us fajitas over Xmas: she simply hadn’t cooked the chicken properly – and there was just no tactful way to tell her. Cue meltdown…

  2. Sounds very yummy. We took my mum out for the first time ever this mothers day – felt a little weird not to be in the kitchen cooking

    • Yep, Ben was working at his p/t job as a waiter on Mother’s Day. Said it was busiest he’s ever been & demanded to know why we hadn’t gone out. I consoled him with the crackling…

Thanks for reading: feel free to comment...