Food, glorious food (fights)

We have a lot of food fights in our house. Not in a rock ‘n’ roll, let’s-throw-caviar-and-Cristal-at-each-other kind of way. Just the humdrum, eat-the-food-in-front-of-you, daily battles that most parents have with their children. But we seem to take it to a whole new level of crazy.

I suspect my boys are in training for the day when they get to add riders to their contracts, to ensure the venue they are performing at treats them like the divas stars that they truly are. In show business, these riders are also known as addendums. Firstly, am I right in saying that isn’t too far off “Ah, diddums!” (which is what comes to mind when reading that Katy Perry doesn’t want the chauffeur to engage her in conversation or look at her in the rearview mirror); and secondly, shouldn’t that be addenda? Am I the only Mumager in the business who studied Latin at school?

Van Halen famously added a rider to his contract stating the band wanted a bowl of M&Ms backstage: “Warning: absolutely no brown ones”. He later explained that this was a test to see if the promoter paid attention to detail (though I don’t think it adds up that if a minion was asked to pick out brown M&Ms, the venue will have taken extra special precautions to make sure that the stage doesn’t collapse during a fan invasion). Lead Vocal similarly likes all red and purple Starburst removed from the pack. He is not testing my attention to detail. He’s just weird. (Everyone knows the purple ones are the best.)

Lead Vocal has led us a merry dance across the years with his fussiness over food. He’s now eight years old, and we may have turned a corner. For three consecutive years, the only fruit in the world that he would eat was raspberries. Did he deliberately choose the most expensive imported fruit in the supermarket? But, last year, he began to experiment wildly and will now eat strawberries and pineapple as well. Yee-hah!


This is what his contract addendums/oh-diddums will look like:

  • two small bars of Kinder Chocolate. Not the yucky hazelnut kind. And they have to be small bars. Not the Maxi-bar size. Definitely not the Kinder Surprise eggs. That’s just wrong. And NO OTHER CHOCOLATE IN THE WORLD. Only small bars of Kinder Chocolate.
  • apple juice – but not the cloudy apple juice, just the clear kind that looks like the urine of a dehydrated person. It can be diluted 40:60 with water. Don’t try for 30:70, because I will know. And don’t ever offer me plain water, because water is disgusting. Just vile. I will never, ever drink water.
  • chips/French fries with ketchup – these can be steak chips, fat chips, crispy coated chips, ABC chips, but they mustn’t have sharp ends on them. And no skinny chips. The only acceptable brands of ketchup are Heinz or Hunts. Del Monte does not cut the mustard, if you’ll excuse a condiment-related pun.

Air Guitar Is just as unreasonable:

  • spiral pasta (aka fusilli) with butter and grated cheese. The pasta has to be ‘twirly’ – no macaroni, linguine, penne, farfalle or other strange shapes are acceptable. No weird colours either. Don’t try to sneak spinach into my diet with green pasta. Two types of grated cheese, please. An orange-coloured cheese and ‘salty cheese”. You may know the latter as Parmesan.
  • slices of cheese – orange-coloured, please. No yellow. No white. No broken corners.(Lady Gaga likes her small plate of cheese to be “non-smelly, non-sweaty”, so I don’t think Air Guitar is being too diva-esque here.)
  • hot dogs with the ends sliced off. End of.
  • no germs. None. Whatsoever. Don’t anyone else touch my food. Don’t sample off my plate. Don’t ask for a bite.

Drummer Boy is a simpler child:

  • Cake with lots of icing (frosting) on it. It doesn’t matter what cake. I’m just going to scrape the icing off with my teeth.
  • More icing, please.
  • Oreos with the biscuit circles removed. Yes, just the icing bit. Thanks.

The Cute One

  • Goldfish crackers. I know I’m too young for them, but I’m the fourth child, so the amount of sodium or sucrose in my diet is irrelevant. I’m just happy to be fed.
  • Cinnamon Graham crackers. You can just leave them in a cupboard low down. I’ll go help myself whenever I feel peckish. Mumager won’t even notice.
  • Plastic food. I love eating it. Can’t get enough of it. Don’t say ‘yum yum’ and do a pretend eating motion in front of me. I am going to stuff that whole plastic potato in my mouth. And then in your mouth.

I hang my head in shame as I read the above riders. What kind of Mumager have I been to have created such monsters? Lead Vocal had a friend once who would request – request – a snack of frozen chopped vegetables. Needless to say, the high-achieving mother of that organically superior child didn’t want much to do with my chemical-ridden children, and the friendship between our sons swiftly waned.

But I’ve given up apologising for my sons’ poor eating habits. You think I’m poisoning them? So sue me!

And venue promoters, you can sue me too, after you stock the backstage area with unbroken slices of orange cheese, the icing from inside Oreos and two small bars of Kinder Chocolate, only to find that the Boy Band have changed their minds. It happens. Every day. We agree on a meal, only to find – two hours later –  promises broken and flat-out denials that anyone ever agreed to eat cheese toasties. So, you want to cry about it? Oh, diddums!!