Good parenting involves baked beans

Marta is away at a conference and so I’m in charge of “the chicken”. This strikes fear into the heart of “the mother” who wanted to organise a host of helpers to relieve me of every possible duty but I bravely stepped into the breach using the opportunity to make another dent in my 40+ days holiday this year. This will give me a break and keep the accountants at work happy (they can reduce my ‘staff cost’ if I take holidays) but is unlikely to make “the mother” think this is going to be anything but a complete disaster.

Judging by the warnings and notes I’ve had I think the main concerns are that;

  1. The chicken will not get to school or do her homework because I’ll forget.
  2. The chicken will not be fed properly – if at all
  3. The chicken will be sick when the mother returns for all sorts of reasons but mainly because I’ll send her outside wearing no clothes.
  4. The chicken will not get to tennis lesson because I’ll either forget, get lost, or both.

Well so far we’ve managed 1. pretty well. Not surprising because getting her to school is my job anyway but I even managed to collect her as well and judging by the number of other mothers there it was pretty much the right time to do that.

I can claim particular success with item 2. feeding.

Baked beans on toast - yummsville!

I’m slowly working my way through a carefully crafted menu, consisting of all the nutrients an eight year old needs and more or less in line with Jamie Oliver’s own recommendations. Yesterday we had McDonalds, today we had baked beans on toast and who knows, tomorrow I might even cook some spaghetti although I’m actually tempted by homemade burgers with oven chips. I know this might not entirely meet with everyone’s idea of perfect food for kids but we all know there is no such thing. What’s good about my food is that she actually eats it all, which is more than can be said for some of the meals that would be better for her – if she ate them, which she mostly doesn’t.

A classic trip down memory lane for me, this advert. Loving the way the accents have been engineered – mother appears to be the daughter of Lord Snoot whilst her son is a ‘cheeky chappie’ from the East end and the daughter somewhere in between. :-)

I’m especially proud of the baked beans as they serve a dual purpose. Firstly nutrition but also and perhaps more importantly education, putting her in touch with her cultural roots. Nobody eats baked beans in Poland. You will find the odd tin looking lost and slightly embarrassed on the shelf of a good supermarket sharing its tiny portion of shelf-space with fasolka po bretonsku  but if you check the sell by date you’ll find they expired in 1990. Fasolka po bretonsku (Brittany beans?) is the nearest Poland gets to baked beans and nobody eats them either. I’m not saying that for dramatic effect. I’ve been here more than 10 years and I’ve never, I mean never ever, seen anyone eating them, seen them on a menu, seen anyone buying them. If you ever do see anyone doing these things it will be a desperate Brit who can’t find a shop that sells baked beans!

Polish style baked beans

So this is why, for a child who is 50% Brit it is so damned important to teach her the traditions of her nation. To instil in her a true appreciation of all the important culinary nuances the island nation has to offer. We’ve already scored successes with fish & chips, bacon baps, cheddar cheese and now baked beans but failures with anything involving sausage meat, Christmas pudding and pork pies. There’s a long way to go!

Regarding item 3. – we shall just have to wait and see. I think I’m doing alright and so far no signs of sniffles or general deterioration of health.

Item 4. – put a big tick in that box. Sorted.

This is easy. I don’t know what everyone is complaining about!

[hides behind sofa]


13 thoughts on “Good parenting involves baked beans

  1. Maybe British baked beans are different than the baked beans I ate while living in the US… but I never liked them. I never disliked them as much as acorn squash, yams or sweet potatoes but since baked beans show up at every picnic/bbq they are almost definitely the one thing I’d make a point not to eat if I could avoid ’em.

    That being said, beans are good for you. I don’t know if the baked bean sauce is good for you or not but it can’t be *that* bad. Certainly no worse than some fried pork thing.

    Anyway, your efforts to broaden Zosia’s cultural horizons are commendable. I am the same way – the next time Paula and I visit the US, I plan on making her shoot some guns (target practice only). I’ve told her they’re a part of my heritage and she should experience it. We’ll see if I manage to get her to go along with it or not in the end.

    PS: What about Marmite, pasties, curries, battenburg cake, crumpets and other British foods? There’s plenty of good and relatively healthy stuff to try out.

  2. Baked beans – we wash the tomato (toMAYto to Brad) sauce off ’em, then make our own sauce involving tinned tomatoes, tomato puree or salsa – anything but the sickly, sugary stuff that Heinz drownz its beanz in.

  3. If “the mother” is this concerned, it means she must be away for some time. We all know you can handle Zosia for at least 2 days given Marta’s recent study weekends, but longer than this? Have you created cause for concern with past exploits or failings? Made Zosia ill using moldy bread under the beans?

    I noticed in Morrisons tonight that you can buy Fish ‘n’ Chips, prepacked and oven ready in 2 minutes. Want me to bring you a pack? I noticed it because it reminded me how lazy the Brits are becoming.

    My boys are fully agreeable with fish and chips. Pork pie is still a little weird for them and they have asked Granny for custard with every meal. But then we had bagels with jam and philadelphia cream cheese for breakfast this morning which is not overly British anyway.

    Good luck for however long you need it!

  4. I think you need a license to feed Marmite to 8 yr olds!

    Pasties – one of my all time favourites, proper ones of course. I’m saving that until we visit Cornwall.

  5. You can buy fish n chips pre-packed in M&S Warsaw so no need to import, thanks! Didn’t try it yet, I have to say.

    What is it with kids and pork pie? One of life’s great treasures they are missing.

  6. Baked beans on toast that is a first for me. British Recipe??? No wonder the red coats lost the war with that kind of “ammunition” :P

    Your baked beans look like Campell’s pork & beans. There are good baked beans and there are just plain ole beans. I start with a can of Grandma Browns Baked beans and add to that mustard, brown sugar and top it with bacon and bake it till done. These are thick and not runny…..and very tasty. Cook up some sausages to go with them.

  7. Excellent, Scatts. She’ll probably recall these days with happiness forty years from now. Will you have the chance of giving her a proper English breakfast? Fried egg, bacon, tomato and – crucially – a piece of fried bread, all nice and crunchy, under the egg. A field mushroom might be pushing your luck and could reap a wrinkled nose. Eschew black pudding at all costs – north-country nonsense.

  8. I’ve always thought baked beans, or, for Poles, beans à la bretonne, were actually quite popular in Poland. I remember eating them regularly as a kid (in West Pomerania – maybe it’s a regional thing?). They’re also a staple food for college students as they’re cheap, quick to reheat, and provide interesting special effects when you need to fill a lull in conversation.

    I can, however, imagine that due to that stigma of unsophisticated student fodder, baked beans may be considered unworthy of a grown-up’s table and are only kept around as last resort in case the house is snowed in…

  9. Me too. In the 80’s it was really popular in Polish shops and restaurants.

    Maybe that’s why Poles do not like this “Martial law” food anymore…bad association…? who knows.

  10. Toot toot! What is it with beans and farts? Fibre? Does fibre generate trouser trumpets?

    Edit – I found this:

    Why are beans so notorious for making people fart? Beans contain sugars that we humans cannot digest. The most offensive sugars, known as “flatulence factors” to scientists who research farts, are raffinose, stachiose, and verbascose. When these sugars reach our intestines, the bacteria go wild, have a big feast, and make lots of gas!

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