If you ask me, and because I feel like it, and because this is my column and I can do what I like with it – I could turn it into a rocket and fly to the moon, if I wanted; I could bake it into a cake and eat it, if I so fancied – I have decided to give you a recipe today, and it's a recipe for How To Get In The Face Of A Teenager Who Has An Exam Tomorrow But You Wouldn't Know It.
You will need: An exasperated air; a nagging tone of voice; a jabbing finger; a copy of Paradise Lost (or similar. Wuthering Heights works just as well, as does The Tempest).
Directions: Turn oven up to max as you may want to put your head in it. Alternatively, you may want to put the teenager's head in it. It's best to have it pre-heated, either way. Now, interrupt your teenager who, chances are, got up at noon and is sprawled on the sofa watching TV. Alternatively, he may be on his PlayStation or doing something furtive on the internet which could be anything, although it's unlikely to be an Ocado shop. Next, using the exasperated air, ask something along the lines of: "Haven't you got English tomorrow?" If he comes back with "take a chill pill, Mum" do not. Chilling will ruin the flavour of the fight to come. Instead, bring yourself to a simmer, and add the nagging voice – John Lewis do good nagging voices, as do Debenhams – while brandishing Paradise Lost (or similar) and saying: "Shouldn't you be reading this?"
You may then wish to stir in any of the following: "They are not going to test you on doing furtive stuff on the internet, you know"; "do you want to end up washing dishes?" and "Do you think Milton wrote Paradise Lost just so you could call it 'a poor book, yo'? Do you think he had The Wire in mind in 1667?" By this time, you may have reached boiling point. You will know you have reached boiling point when you take out your jabbing finger. Delia recommends the index finger, but any will do. March across the room and turn off TV/PlayStation/computer, which he will immediately turn on again. Finally, place your head in the oven, or his. This is always a matter of personal taste.
This is an excellent spring/summer recipe, although if the teenager has to do retakes, which is now looking likely, it can easily be reheated in January and every six months thereafter.
(Next week, I shall be turning my column into a horse, and entering a rodeo. Yee-ha!)