Wednesday 27 May 2009


A rose by any other name does not smell as sweet

I think I've posted before about Jamie's obsession with Ryvita (or Dida as we call it). 'Tis the breakfast of champions. And the lunch. And the dinner. So prolific is his appetite for Ryvita, that a couple weeks ago we questioned our ability to fund his habit. So, casting a critical eye over the health food aisle, I noticed that generic supermarket own-brand Ryvita is half the cost of proper Ryvita. 'Great,' I thought as I piled the imposters into the trolley, 'He'll never tell the difference' . Because they are made of cardboard and fibre, and taste of air.

Later that day, I proffered the pseudo-Dida lathered in peanut butter to the connosiuer. With one tiny nibble, he swivelled his head towards me while pushing the plate away. 'Is not Dida,' he said, 'Tastes like Crisp Dida'. I wasn't aware of this distinction, but it is apparently a deal-breaker. And so the love affair for Ryvita ended, he would not entertain it any longer. His fickle heart turned to rice cakes. Which, you might be aware, are so bereft of nutritional content that I believe there is a limit on the number you can give your child before they are taken into care. And so, I was determined to resurrect the mighty Dida.

Another thing I might have told you about Jaim is that he has a superhuman sense of smell. In fact, I think this is the reason he refuses to entertain eating new foods. Everything is held below his little nostrils for a sniff, before the dismissal, 'I no like, it smells like carrots', 'I no like, it smells like pasta'. Or my own personal favourite, 'I no like, it smell like PJs'. As in pajamas. Right.

Yesterday I bought a fresh box of fully-fledged, 100% certified Ryvita. I showed him the box to demonstrate their authenticity. No game. I took one from the packet and offered it to him. Expecting further subterfuge, he reluctantly took it and cast a wary eye over the familiar furrows and grains. A small sniff, the beginnings of a smile. A bigger sniff, pure joy lit up his face, 'It's not Crisp Dita, it's Dita!'

When I was telling my mom this story on the phone last night (because she doesn't always remember to screen her calls), she wondered, 'What does it mean? What do you think he could use his talent to be?' A wine expert? A man who checks for gas leaks? A BO consultant? Nope, a serial killer. Because this particular little eccentricity always reminds me of Perfume, the (fantastic) book by Patrick Suskind. To quote Amazon, it is the story of a young man who:
"grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odor he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill."



  1. How funny,I'm always trying to trick the kids with cheaper versions, they always refuse.. I know a few call screener's too!

  2. Some own brand things really do taste yuck though. I tried Sainsbury's own brand shreddies and had to throw it away it tasted so very non-shreddie.

    Never heard of food smelling like pjs before. I wouldn't want to eat it either...

  3. I love your son. When he's taken into care, I'm going to offer to foster him ;-) I buy real dita... well, I write it on the shoppping list... except I spell it more conventionally.

    In 15 years time when he discovers your blog and is reading it, aghast, in the privacy of his own cave, can I be there to hear the shrieks? Please?

  4. I laughed so much I spat out my own saliva