Mama Mayhem

The steaks were high for my bogus bolognaise

By Ivy Jensen

I WANTED to start off with a meat pun but I’d probably butcher it.

Plus, meat jokes are pretty rare.

So, I’ll just get straight into it.

I tricked my children into eating ‘fake meat’ the other night - and I still haven’t told them.

Now, I’m no meat-hater or vegan fanatic, but I would like to have a vegetarian meal at least once a week. Just to change it up, you know.

My sister recently found an ‘alternative’ mince at the supermarket which she claimed tasted “just like real mince” and “the kids didn’t know the difference”.

I was extremely dubious considering Ayla is a voracious carnivore and would pick out the fakon from the bacon every time, while Maya is the pickiest eater on earth.

So, the steaks were high.

But I love a challenge.

I found the plant-based mince, which I admit looks weird and smells even weirder, as well as the other ingredients for my new spag bol.

I soon found out cooking vege mince is a lot different to the real deal, as it dried very quickly and burnt to the bottom of the frypan.

After 10 minutes of picking out the burnt bits, I chucked it in the slow cooker with some garlic and basil, vegies (as if the plant mince wasn’t enough), a splash of red wine, tomato paste and pasta sauce.

And let it simmer for a good four hours.

Which was enough time for me to cook another meal (chicken stir fry) because I was so convinced the girls wouldn’t eat my mock meat.

My Mum would be horrified to hear this – forcing me to eat everything on my plate when I was a kid.

My sister and I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the table until we had finished our dinner.

The worst would have been our weekly dose of sauerkraut. And not the nice sweet kind.

Apparently if it was good enough for the convicts, it was good enough for us.

I had to block my nose to avoid tasting the sickening slop just to get it down. And keep it down.

Thanks to my mother, I learnt to eat what was put in front of me – no matter how revolting.

Which reminds me of the time my mother outlaw fed me corned beef – another vile cuisine.

I can feel the judgement from all you true blue Aussies, who have probably been devouring this salty staple topped with a thick lashing of cheese sauce since they were old enough to eat.

That sauce is probably the only reason I managed to keep it in my mouth, let alone swallow the disgusting dish.

And I’ve tried many meats over the years. From the traditional to the more unusual.

I’ve eaten kangaroo and crocodile in my home country, snails and frog legs in France (not a fan), raw herring in Holland, and warthog stew, kudu lasagna and eland pie in South Africa.

I even had a go at fried crickets and grasshoppers, which I do not recommend.

Anyhoo, back my pièce de (expected) résistance. After four hours of simmering, my bogus bolognaise was ready.

I boiled some pasta, threw it in the Vince (vege mince) and, voila, dinner was served.

I waited with bated breath as the girls took their first bite.

No comment.

Second bite.

No comment.

Third bite.

“Why are you staring at us mum,” they chanted.

‘Who was I looking at?’ would have been the better question, especially when Ayla asked for seconds and Maya requested “more meat”.

I’ll never be 100 per cent sure they believed it was real meat, which is why I reckon they clearly think revenge is a dish best served cold.

Such as my week’s lunch – one day of fake meat leftovers and three days of cold chicken stir fry (that must never be seen at home).


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