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The first rule of thumb is to never, ever learn how to hold a knife, fork or spoon correctly. This ensures maximum mess, however carefully you try to manoeuvre your eating implements, although exercising care is not the order of the day. The second rule is to complain about everything that is put in front of you. It’s not cool to like anything that isn’t junk food. The third rule is to completely forget hand-to-mouth co-ordination. In fact, forget about any form of co-ordination completely. Rule number four is to eat with your mouth open at all times.

Once the above techniques have been mastered, the rest is simple.

Whilst holding your fork (in the wrong hand) like an ice pick or weapon, blindly lunge at the food on your plate several times until you manage to secure a morsel on the end of the prongs. At the same time, fidget around on your chair and concentrate on anything except the task in hand. Argue with your siblings, sing, pick your nose or talk to the cat. Even better, decide that you need to go and empty your bowels, returning to the table only when the food is too cold or stale to eat.

Once you have a piece of food dangling precariously from your fork, attempt to guide it towards your mouth. Miss on the first two attempts and stab yourself in the face. Cry loudly. Bellow hysterically when one of your parents chastises you for being so incompetent. Wipe your snotty nose on the back of your arm or jumper, whilst whimpering pathetically and retrieve the food that has now dropped into your lap. If it has dropped onto the floor, leave it and attempt to harpoon another item on your plate. Wave your fork around before attempting to aim it at your mouth to enable any sauce or gravy to have time to trickle down your arm or onto the surrounding surfaces.

When you become bored, use your fork as a catapult, aiming your food at any object, animal or person that takes your fancy.

Wipe your mouth with the back of your hand at regular intervals and drop your fork in the middle of your plate or onto the floor at least five times during the meal.



Knock your drink over. Grizzle. Wail pathetically when scolded and told that you’re not getting a replacement drink or that the squash has all gone so you’ll have to make do with water and that it’s your fault for being so clumsy.

Repeat the above procedure until your plate is three quarters’ clear and you, the walls, table and floor are coated in an attractive, abstract design of second-hand food and drink. Mould the remaining food into a small pile on the side of your plate to create the impression that you’ve eaten more than you actually have.

If the menu consists of finger food, such as sandwiches, crisps etc., make sure you cram your entire hand inside your mouth, leaving traces of masticated fodder adhered to your fingers. This will come in useful later.

If you really can’t abide the thought of eating the fodder that has been placed in front of you, particularly if it is classed in the healthy category and doesn’t involve fries or a mountain of tomato sauce, there are a number of tactics that you can employ. However, most of these fail to work, so you may find yourself having to resort to the inevitable, “I’m going to be sick.”

The vomiting method is most effective when you are being force fed like a baby, generally following an hour of shifting cold food around your plate. A couple of seconds after your parents have thrust an overloaded forkful of cold, tough meat into your reluctant mouth, start making gagging noises, forcing all the blood into your face and making your eyes bulge.

Immediately following several thumps on your back from an anxious parent who thinks yu are about to choke to death, re-issue the contents of your stomach into the centre of your plate, thereby allowing you permission to leave the table without having to finish that revolting meal.

If you do actually clear the plate by yourself, however, wipe your hands through your hair before yelling, “FINISHED!” and before your parents have had time to issue instructions for you to wash yourself.


Wipe your mouth on the back of your hand, submerge your knife and fork in the middle of any remaining food, remove yourself from the table and, en-route to the bathroom, smear your greasy hands over every surface you pass, in particular any pale-coloured, soft furnishings. Quickly wipe your face on the nearest available dry towel, missing most of the dirty bits and leaving encrusted towel in a heap on the floor. Run into the sitting room and dive headfirst onto the sofa, transferring the remains of your meal from yourself onto the fabric.

Mission accomplished.