For example, when the Wunderkind was six years old he had a certain antipathy to various green veggies, notably spinach and courgettes. Nothing unusual in that of course but I thought I should help him get over it. For his own good, obviously. His cousin Stephen, two and a half years older but less precocious, was visiting at teatime one day and I was serving up spinach. ‘I don’t like spinach,’ says the Wunderkind.
‘It’s not spinach, it’s minach’, says I.
‘Minach? Minach? What’s minach?’
‘Oh a lovely vegetable that tastes great and gives you immense brains and muscles. Do you like it, Stephen?’ (Wink from treacherous mother).
Stephen’s penny drops: ‘Mmm, yes, we have minach all the time, I love it.’
Wunderkind extends the tip of his tongue and licks half a gram of minach from the end of his fork. ‘Yes it’s okay,’ and eats it up. Ha! I win.
Next day I serve up courgettes. ‘I don’t like courgettes,’ says the Wunderkind … similar conversation ensues in which I assure him these are bourgettes, yum yum, and Stephen is nearly wetting himself with the joy of another joke against Smart Wee Cousin. Wunderkind tastes, swallows, concedes bourgettes are okay whereupon Stephen and I fall about in fits and Wunderkind realises he’s been had. He looks at me as if I’ve murdered the tooth fairy. How could I be so BAD?
Yeah I know. I mustn’t try it on the Oldies. But evil or not, 19 years later, the Wunderkind is still enjoying his minach and bourgettes.