Dear Mr Fortune, HELP!
Breakfast time at our family has turned into a nightmare and I would rather stay in bed than face another morning at the table with our seven-year-old son.
We are trying to eat healthily and so breakfast consists of porridge and local Sherrington honey on toast. We have Marlborough Windsong organic blueberries from the freezer and even local apples and pears from the farmers' market I use as part of our weekly shop.
The problem is that Mr Seven-Year-Old won't eat his porridge, even with all this goodness in it. He refuses to even taste it, saying it is horrible, yucky, gross, vomit and a number of other things that I can't print. We have sent him to his room for four hours, we have kept him at the table and we have taken away his privileges, but he still refuses to eat it.
Desperate Porridge Mother Enforcer
Gidday Chris Fortune, HELP!
My mother and father are trying to make me eat something I don't like, PORRIDGE! They have sent me to my room, they have taken away my toys and TV time and even made me sit at the table until I have had a teaspoon full of it. YUCK – I wanted to spit it out and I did once, but mummy and daddy told me off. I have tried yelling at them that it is gross. Please help me as I don't understand why they are making me eat something that I don't want to! Can I sue my parents? Are there porridge police?
Porridge Hater Number One
Dear Desperate Porridge Mother enforcer and Porridge Hater Number One
It sounds like your breakfast table is the battleground and the battle is over not the porridge, but that you have a young independent boy who is growing up and making decisions for himself about what he likes and dislikes. Encourage his independence, but you do need to be firm and not allow bad behaviour and temper tantrums to rule at the table.
I don't think that one teaspoon of porridge is asking too much, although if you were using imported, out-of-season fruits then I would be concerned. As for Mr Porridge Hater Number One, your mummy and daddy are not asking you to eat tripe or liver (yet) so I would just eat the porridge and leave the battles for something a little more serious.
POACHED PEARS FOR THE BREAKFAST TABLE
300ml water or white wine
55g (2oz) caster sugar
2 Tbsp clear honey
1 cinnamon stick
8 Winter Cole pears, peeled and quartered
Place the water, sugar, honey, and cinnamon in a deep saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer and add the pears. Poach the pears over a low heat for 10-20 minutes or until translucent, turning occasionally. Chill and serve with porridge.