Food news: A mum is not just for Mother's Day
Talk to anyone who cooks for a family on a daily basis and chances are that, no matter how keen a cook they are, the relentless drudgery of it is what gets them down. And in the majority of Irish households, it's the mothers who do the bulk of the shopping, meal planning and cooking.
Very small children are not much use in the kitchen, but anyone over the age of seven or eight can be put to work. There are so many laborious, time-consuming jobs that go into the making of a home-cooked meal - the peeling of vegetables, the chopping of onions - that it's no surprise exhausted parents resort to the easy option of processed food that can simply be tumbled out of the packet into the oven and onto plates 20 minutes later.
Tomorrow, lots of Irish mothers will be treated to breakfast in bed and taken out for a meal in a restaurant. Some families will make a big deal about insisting that Mammy puts her feet up while everyone else organises dinner. They'll even do the washing-up afterwards. Aren't they wonderful? And then on Monday, it will be back to the same old, same old.
On behalf of the mammies of Ireland, I'd like to make a heartfelt request for more co-operation in the kitchen: for involvement on a daily basis with meal-planning, shopping and cooking. It's important for our children that they learn how to cook, so that when we send them out into the world, they are capable of feeding themselves decent, wholesome food. And the only way that they are going to learn how to do that is by doing it at home.
The nurturing of a family through good food is a responsibility that should not fall on one set of shoulders but be shared by everyone in the household who is able to participate, to whatever extent they are able. With more people involved, the family menu is bound to become more diverse and interesting for everyone. So what if some meals are a failure? It doesn't matter. What does matter is that everyone participates.
So, get the younger members of the family peeling and chopping, and challenge the teenagers - boys and girls - to be responsible for at least a meal a week, cooked from scratch. Get them to plan it, budget it, shop for it and cook it.
Happy Mother's Day.
SABA FOR MAMA
Mammies, in common with the rest of the population, like Thai food - and Saba has a special Mother's Day menu available in its Clarendon and Baggot Street branches in Dublin, priced at €25 for two courses and €30 for three. There's also a take-out offer from Saba To Go for €29.95, sabatogo.com
TEA AND CAKE
This M&S Teapot Cake for Mother's Day is delightfully mad: just the thing to accompany a deep and meaningful chat with your mammy about your boyfriend or lack of one, for the day that's in it. It's chocolate sponge, with chocolate buttercream and soft icing. What's not to like? €18, marksandspencer.ie
PERSONALISE AND POP
If yours is more a Champagne mammy than a cake mammy, maybe splash out on Moët & Chandon bubbles, personalised with a picture of the two of you, available exclusively at Brown Thomas Grafton Street, Dublin; €19 for a 200ml snipe; €62 for the 750ml Rose Imperial, brownthomas.com