Collectively, as a society, we seem to have decided that one must at least appear to be welcoming of a little constructive criticism. But I, for one, vehemently object. I do not accept that anyone likes feedback, and the idea that I must accept it in any way other than with a full-scale tantrum is simply untenable.
I used to work as a chef in a chalet in France and part of the job involved cooking a separate meal for the children staying with us. 'Kids' dinner' rapidly became the bane of my existence in that job. Anyone who's even had passing contact with children knows how crushing their 'feedback' is, and made all the worse by the fact that retaliation is somewhat off limits - especially if the child is not your own.
"This is yucky," little-wittle Annabelle would moan from the head of the table during 'kids' dinner'. There was always an Annabelle, an instigator, but kids are bloody sheep and soon all of then would be saying how disgusting the food was.
"You can't take it personally," Himself would say as I slammed pots around in the kitchen. "They're ingrates," I'd hiss back, so their parents - our paying clients - wouldn't hear me. "Kids are dicks, they'll eat Billy Roll but apparently my spaghetti bolognese is 'disgusting'."
Since having kids of my own, I have largely grown indifferent to their devastating criticisms of the meals I lovingly prepare for them. "I hate this, it's 'gusting," the toddler whines. "Grand, don't eat it," I'll shrug, promising myself a little micro-revenge.
The micro-revenge is great for parents. We need something to cling to given that our days are largely spent weathering emotional beatings from our toddlers. One micro-revenge I enjoy, for example, is to stand at a distance and flick water at my sons while their backs are turned. Very satisfying.
While I've grown a thicker skin regarding criticism of my food, I am unfortunately still liable to throw a tanty if the rest of my work is picked apart. With a new book out this week, I am entering into the dreaded position of being reviewed. Horrendous. "You can't get hung up on what other people say," says Himself, as always, irritatingly magnanimous. "Oh, can't I? Look, I'm sorry but you have no idea how it feels to be picked apart in a national newspaper."
"Just remind me what your column is about again there, Soph?" Touche. I quickly pop one of these peanut-y slices in my gob before I say anything else stupid.
You will need:
70g oats, blended
60ml coconut oil
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
115g cashew butter
30ml coconut oil, melted
Salt to taste
100g salted peanuts
1 Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Place the oats in a blender and blitz until fine, then add the 60ml coconut oil, 45ml honey and vanilla extract, blend to a smooth paste. Pour into the loaf tin and smooth the surface, put in the freezer to set.
2 Mix the cashew butter, 30ml honey and coconut oil together, adding a little salt to taste. Pour this over the oat layer and scatter the peanuts on top, pushing into the caramel layer. Return to the freezer until set, about 20 minutes. Cut into eight bars.
3 Melt the chocolate and drizzle over each of the bars and allow to set.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine