Heinz Tomato Ketchup. I can chart my student life with this trusty condiment; she was always there for me at 3am when everyone else had dispersed in a mashed-up haze. United with briny red white, she delivered a stealth richness to my spag bol that no amount of Tesco Value puree could rival, and she’s always the last condiment standing in the fridge.
Then we embarked on project procreation and overnight she became a seemingly cruel mistress. With a sugar crazed enfant terrible on my watch, our relationship has become schizoid, vicious and unhealthy. If my friends truly knew what went down between us, they’d tell me to ‘bin the bitch’ and move on to a more wholesome condiment.
I reluctantly reach for her (E colours visibly IN MY FACE) when the urchin is having a fish finger-related meltdown and everyone (bar the goldfish who doesn’t have tear ducts) is crying. I crave her when I have 13 minutes 24 seconds to get the urchin to eat that painstakingly hand-prepared Ella’s Kitchen sweet potato mash before the iPad crashes and I have to source the charger from ‘the drawer of doom’.
I even slip her into things when my Mum is around so it looks like I’m a great parent in getting my otherwise reluctant eater to heartily chow down. “Yeah, she seems to be eating fine with us at the moment.”
And then when the last irksome mew of Iggle Piggle is done and the urchin is dreaming of a psychedelic Katie Morag scampering around the Caingorns, I vow to start the next day afresh. I banish her to the back of the shelves, to the graveyard of condiments – behind the dusty Lea and Perrins, left of the jar of unnamed pickles from our Vietnamese honeymoon in 2010 – in the hope that the ‘out of sight out of mind’ approach might work.
Who am I kidding? She’s a saucy minx, she knows I’ll be back.