Do you remember that scene at the end of Pixar’s Ratatouille? Anton Ego, the feared critic, is presented with a plate prepared by our rodent hero Remy. We all hold our breath. Will he like it?
Now imagine that scene in reverse. The human character has prepared the meal, the rodent is the fierce critic. The plate is presented and we await the verdict… Welcome to my mornings.
Now I thought that keeping guinea pigs would be straightforward. After all, they don’t really do much. And their favourite meal is grass, which is hardly gastronomically complex. But yet, every morning I find myself selecting from a range of delectable vegetables; slicing, chopping, tearing and presenting. A bowl of greenery for you. Is it to sir’s liking? May I offer you anything else from the menu?
I crouch on my haunches and watch, making sure that today’s selection has been given their approval. There have been some notable failures. Vegetables presented and two little noses turned up in disdain. I’m not sure how much rejection I can take before I am crushed beyond repair.
I think I have it down now. I have a pretty good handle on their favourites, plus the things they will endure. But what if they grow tired of the same old, same old? How many new vegetables can I find for them to try? These questions vex me. I thought it was tricky enough to get my head around the amount of veg I need to eat (my 5-a-day, and all that), but there are now two additional fussy eaters to cater for as well.
And at the end of the day, I do have to remind myself that they have their own standards to maintain. It’s just hard sometimes, having your culinary efforts thrown back in your face by a little creature that will, when the mood takes it, happily eat its own poo. That is quite the stinging criticism of your skills in the kitchen.