Anyone else remember when you could grout walls with your breakfast?
Back in the good old days before children's food became a thing, food was fuel, or whatever your folks had decided you were having that day. No discussion.
Then: in the 70s and 80s most children were powered by instant hot oat cereal. On weekends you might be treated to an egg, or if you were seriously fancy, half a grapefruit.
Now: kids these days are high maintenance. They can’t function without bagels and croissants, and even if you make them porridge you have to draw a smiley face / cat / flower in honey. Toast needs to be cut into triangles or in the shape of a teddy bear. Got that?
Then: um, what is this thing you call a 'mid-morning snack'? Have a packet of crisps.
Now: parents must always have artisan breadsticks on hand. And bananas. And sliced apple or mango and grapes (seedless). And a water bottle always on standby to keep them happily hydrated at all times.
Then: an impossibly designed Snoopy Roughneck flask that leaked Vimto all over your bag, a white bread sandwich filled with questionable meat paste, crisps and / or a Wagon Wheel or a mint Viscount. Usually this was chucked in the bin and you bought a bag of chips from the chip van that stopped outside the school gates every single day.
Now: it's a whole world of stress. I mean just look at the effort that's gone in here. Lunchboxes plus an organic smoothie, a variety of sliced organic fruits, a Frube and a Babybel. Served in a portable designer lunchbag along with a water bottle with a non-spill sports top.
Then: Mum was probably at work, so you had to live on your wits. You’d buy a pack of candy cigarettes from the tuck shop to give you the energy to climb trees, roller-skate, skateboard or cycle (without a sniff of protective pads, helmets or anything), play football with school jumpers as goal posts and play chicken on every available street.
Now: all kids are collected from school by a parent, child-minder or nominated trusted adult. You break out the Yo-Yo fruit snacks, boxes of raisins, carrot batons and organic hummus. (Modern children have hummus as part of their DNA.) You might make them a nice hot chocolate with mini marshmallows because they have come to expect these high standards.
Then: children of the 80s adhered to a very strict grey and brown theme. Dinner was very often grey curls of mince. Or pies. Usually with mash and soggy veg. Sometimes you might have sausages, which was thrilling because it gave you a chance to re-enact the title sequence to Grange Hill.
Now: "Little Barnaby can’t do without his pasta pesto. Honestly, it’s all he’ll eat, and it has to be the twizzly fusilli pasta, not the straight penne kind. And the pesto needs to be Jamie Oliver’s – we’ve tried the other brands but he just won’t touch them – with some salmon fillet and raw broccoli on the top."
Then: Bird's Ice Magic. Three words to thrill and excite even the most unenthusiastic kid. This liquid chocolate sauce could be squeezed onto ice cream where it formed an unbreakable plastic shield that would shatter your teeth. The 70s or 80s kid might not have had PS4s, DS3s and hummus, but that little bottle contained all the entertainment you could have ever wanted.
Now: Annabel Karmel’s fruit crumble or home-baked chocolate chip buns? Dessert needs to be arranged in a thrilling way and as a parent you're faced with endless creative possibilities. When all the other mums are artisanally squirting whipped cream into the shape of a fluffy sheep there's no excuse for slacking.