Monday 18 December 2017

The Domestic: Saving my bacon...for Father's Day

Finding a Father's Day gift for Himself was proving a real struggle for Sophie White, until he revived an appalling pre-parent habit that gave her the perfect get-out clause

Wedge of soft brie cheese
Wedge of soft brie cheese
Sophie White
Cooked bacon rashers

Sophie White

This year marked my first official Mother's Day as a mum and I decided to treat myself, as Himself appeared to feel no pressing urges to get me so much as a card for the occasion. I even used this column as a forum to rant about how I did still deserve a "push present", despite having had a C-section.

The ring that I bought myself, I maintained, was a "surgery splurgery", and I have been ostentatiously enjoying it ever since, which has, unfortunately, led Himself to believe that he, too, is deserving of a present this Father's Day.

Now, I wouldn't usually be a gift begrudger at all, but the fact is, Himself is notoriously hard to buy for. He appears to want for nothing and is, at times, charmingly simple in his tastes.

Whenever I do the weekly shopping, for example, nothing pleases him more than a couple of those yoghurts with the separate chocolate crunchy balls that you sprinkle on top.

I tried to tempt him with new clothes, but, if it's not brown corduroy, then he's just not interested. Nasal hair trimmers seem to offend him and he doesn't own any shirt that isn't flannel, so a tie is pretty redundant. Time was running out and I was beginning to feel a bit guilty about my own OTT Mother's Day gift, when opportunity knocked and I realised that I could repay Himself in kind.

Allow me to explain. Yer Man inherited a lot of traits from Himself, one of them being quite a sensitive gag reflex. Of course, in a baby that's to be expected. For many years, Himself's nights out were plagued by bad luck. He was always getting a "bad pint" or an "iffy curry chips" and could usually be found spooning a toilet before dawn.

For a brief time, Himself and I had a bedroom that had a cast-iron, free-standing bathtub beside the bed. I had visions of enjoying a Cadbury's Flake in it, while sheet music swirled to the floor around me, until Himself, after nights out, began to treat the bath as a remote toilet. I couldn't even look at it without images of something that looked like mango chutney and smelled like badness, flashing across my brain.

In our current home, the bathtub is downstairs and I dared to hope that this inconvenience might cure Himself of his predilection for tub-spewing. I figured that we are parents now, and that defiling bathtubs was a thing of the past.

Last weekend, however, I was proved wrong. I awoke in the night to that old familiar sound of the "bad pint" being regurgitated. I was aware that the sounds were disturbingly close, but I was too tired to take action and went back to sleep. In the morning, however, I uncovered a depraved scene. Himself was curled, fetal-like, around the baby bath. Even more horrific was the fact that he hadn't even bothered to put in the stopper, and some kind of hell juice was slowly draining out on to the floor.

My first instinct was to launch a reign of intense passive-aggression, manifesting as prolonged silent treatment, during which I would do housework really loudly. But I pulled back and realised that the best course of action was mercy.

I could bank this bad parenting and use it in the future as currency. I could exchange it for any kind of bold behaviour of my own and use it as an excuse for a lack of a Father's Day gift.

I took a few photos to send to the Bitchherd via WhatsApp, then went downstairs to get him a cup of tea and make him this quick hangover cure.

Pan-fried Bacon and Brie Sandwich with Apricot Jam

Serves one.

You will need:

2 tablespoons of butter (don't skip this bit, as it is the main source of the cure)

2 slices of thick white bread. I think sourdough is nicest, rather than sliced pan

4 slices of crispy bacon

4 slices of brie

1 tablespoon of apricot jam

This sandwich can really only be attempted when you are so filled with self-loathing and remorse that eating

a fried-cheese-and-bacon sandwich doesn't seem so bad when compared with your original crimes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4. Melt about 1 tablespoon of the butter in a cast-iron pan over a medium to high heat on the hob. Put a slice of bread on the pan and then top it with the crispy bacon and the brie.

Spread the apricot jam on one side of the other slice of bread and place it, jam-side down, on top of the brie. Spread the top of this slice with the remaining butter. When the underside of the sandwich is golden brown, flip the whole sandwich, then put the frying pan in the oven for about five minutes to finish.

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