As a human, I have never really had the experience of being anything but on the very top of the food chain. Or, at least, I hadn't until the advent of having children. For the last few years I have occasionally dropped from the top position to the second rung, and it is a strange experience indeed. Only mothers know exactly what it is like to be sitting down to the dinner table, eyeing up the delicious meal in front of us, only to become aware that a few feet away another person is staring at us with the same ravenous anticipation. It's unsettling.
Because of the way the baby's eyes follow me around the room, Himself now calls me the Hamburger, given I provide for the baby the same delicious fascination that a big juicy hamburger gives me. Of course, understanding that doesn't make the feeling of being hunted any less weird.
I've noticed that my three babies all have distinct strategies when it comes to their prey - me. The first baby was an omnivore and greedily ate anything that strayed near him: bottle, boob, a cigarette butt he once found on the ground in the park. He wasn't picky.
The second baby was like a tiny, bald cannibal. He stalked me around the bed at night with the tenacity and ingenuity of Hannibal Lecter, despite not yet even having acquired a modicum of head control or tensile strength. He would claw at clothing, the same way I claw at the packaging when my Deliveroo order arrives. I had to grudgingly respect his rabid dedication to getting what he wanted, even though it often stood in the way of what I wanted, which was simply to relax without fear of being devoured by my young.
The latest baby has a completely different style of hunting. Somehow, again despite being just one adorable, roly-poly baby, he makes me feel as though I'm being attacked by a school of piranhas - in the nicest possible way, of course. He is just a very athletic eater - which is where he takes after me, I suppose.
Just as he can devour a boob in just seconds flat, I can dispatch a burger in mere minutes. Also, like me, he is a particular guy, partial to some quirks. For example, we both like perfect conditions for our meals. If I am eating a meal that is heavy on accoutrements - like this burger, for example - there is no way I can countenance so much as a single essential component being missing. I would rather scrap the entire burger experience, than tolerate a burger in a sub-par bun or without the exact combination and correct ratio of condiments.
The baby's deal-breakers are different of course, but he is just as wedded to them. In preparation for his every meal, for some reason, he must aggressively pummel what's on the menu: me. Who knows to what end? Tenderising? Then, when he's satisfied that he has mauled it enough, he will latch on to the boob while keeping his unblinking eyes trained on the prey - again, me - lest I try to what... I don't know, escape? Read my phone? Then the piranha-like feasting begins. I'll spare you any further visuals.
Instead, I recommend making this whopper lamb burger for a twist on a barbecue classic.
You will need:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon juniper berries, crushed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
500g minced lamb
75g porridge oats
1 teaspoon salt
2 large cooked beetroot
100g Greek yoghurt
1 teaspoon honey
10 mint leaves
4 pitta breads, toasted
120g blue cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the finely chopped red onion, the crushed garlic, the finely chopped fresh rosemary, the crushed juniper berries, the smoked paprika and the ground cumin. Cook until the onions are nicely softened — add a dash of water if the mix is too dry, to give a paste-like consistency — and set aside. In a bowl, use your hands to blend the minced lamb with the porridge oats, the egg and the salt. Add the onion mixture you set aside earlier, mix well and form into four good-size patties. Chill the burgers while you make the topping.
2 To make the beetroot topping, put the beetroot, the Greek yoghurt, the honey, the mint leaves and the walnuts into a food processor. Blend until the mixture is smooth and has the consistency of hummus.
3 Grill the burgers for about five minutes each side. Serve them in the toasted pittas with some blue cheese, the salad leaves, and the beetroot topping, along with some freshly ground black pepper.
Sunday Indo Life Magazine