What’s the real meaning of ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’?

What’s really going on in Judith Kerr’s classic children’s book ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea’? Is there a deeper meaning?

Having read it MANY times, and over analysed it, I’m pretty sure it’s not about a Tiger coming to tea…

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‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr, published by Harper Collins Children’s Books.

After a bad day of parenting, who hasn’t wanted to blame the tiger for all the things you haven’t done around the house.

And some days, I have certainly fancied cracking open the beers early. Potty training springs to mind. But moving beer o’clock to before all the household chores are done is a clearly risky proposition.

Look at the dad’s face in this picture. He looks a bit like he’s heard this all before. All credit to him, he goes along with it anyway.

 

Pink is for Girls. Why do people think it shouldn’t be? Girls love pink!

Pink is for girls?

Pink is a girls colour. Why do people think it shouldn’t be? Girls love to dress in pink, to play with pink toys, to have pink rooms filled with pink things – it’s just a fact that pink is for girls. They still have plenty of choices – just as long as it’s in pink.

While it’s unlikely that girls do indeed have a predilection for pink, the marketing-industrial complex is very clear: “Pink is for girls”, and they keep churning out their wares targeted at them.

It’s all too easy to have or buy our girls ‘plenty’ of pink things. The big problem is one of smallness – the focus of what these things are remains relatively narrow, and this is potentially limiting our girls imaginations, opportunities, and ambitions. It’s for us as parents, and our children themselves, to set any parameters – not those trying to sell us things.

I completely buy into this line of reasoning. I avidly support the aims of campaigns such as Pink Stinks and Let Toys Be Toys. I like to think I am very studious about not buying pink things for my daughter.  I am very clear with family & friends, ‘Please don’t buy her anything pink’ (she still gets pink pressies of course, and we are very grateful for peoples’ generosity!).

Anyway, I’m a total hypocrite, because when I see cool things for my daughter – that also happen to be pink – I’m powerless to resist:

Farrah Fawcett
To cool not to dress her in…
And again...
…and still going many months later.

And how can I complain about a pressie tee like this:

We love Spidey...
We love Spidey…
...so much it's exhausting.
…so much it’s exhausting.
Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl hat from Wellington
Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl hat from Wellington

And always on the lookout for apparel with cool & confident female role models, this hat ticked all the boxes – well, apart from the non-pink one. And it just went so well with that cardigan…

Tricky eh? So despite all my great intentions, far too often I still ended up dressing my daughter like this – not what I intended at all when the great parenting adventure began.

And she’s not even at pre-school yet. I’m guessing it’s only going to get much worse when peer pressure kicks in – currently her cultural icons include Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, Princess Leia, Toy Story, and Totoro.  I fear it’ll be all Angelina Ballerina and Peppa Pig before too long. So I’m beginning to think I need another front of attack against pink. Or do I?

In my early teens, I happily wore my pink Pringle jumper, or a pink tee under a suit jacket (the Sonny Crockett look). It was the eighties, and that was the style (as much as a teenage geek knows about style). But as the nineties dawned, I felt like a fool for wearing a ‘girls’ colour, and I swore an oath – I really did – to never wear pink again.  And I haven’t.

As the years marched on, I pitied those fools who came into work with a pink shirt, or the people with grown up jobs wearing pink ties. I wouldn’t even wear shirts that were red and white patterned – because from a distance, they looked pink.

Pink was a girl’s colour, and I didn’t want to wear a girl’s colour.

Except pink ISN’T a girls colour. That underlines this whole issue. It’s just a colour like any other, and perhaps I need to embrace that rather than always fight it.

I think it’s time for me to break my oath, or make a new one: I need to wear pink.

In fact, I would like all men need to wear pink, and it would be great if parents could dress our sons in pink too. If the all-powerful marketing-industrial complex is going to continue to tell our girls that pink things are the only things for them, we need to subvert that. One way is encouraging our boys – and men – to play and dress pink too.

So I at least need to add pink to my wardrobe. Because pink isn’t a girls’ colour. It’s just a colour like any other. I reckon it might even suit me. Like it does my daughter.

New Zealand Play-Dough

Why spend £££ (or $$$) on buying loads of Play-Doh, when you can make your own Play-Dough at home for far less. This was the best recipe doing the rounds at various playgroups in New Zealand when we lived there.

500g flour
550g salt
4 tbsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp oil (don’t be stingy or it won’t bind)
500ml boiling water
1tsp food colouring(s) of choice

Mix these all together and then knead until it becomes play-dough!

It tends to start off looking as though it’s not going to be the right consistency, but just keep on kneading and the magic will happen…

NB: When using green food colouring mixed with other colours, the mixture can become really sticky and impossible to work. I have had to throw it away. No understanding why, but narrowed it down to when using green and another colour. If your mixture isn’t binding then that *could* be the problem. If you want green then try mixing blue and yellow colouring instead.

(Recipe courtesy of Richard, via Petrina, in New Zealand)

Savoury Mince on Toast Recipe (New Zealand Style)

Mince on toast, savoury Mince on toast, New zealand Mince on toast
New Zealand Savoury Mince on Toast

Savoury mince on toast is a New Zealand staple dish, especially at cafes, and this old fashioned savoury mince recipe delivers as good as any I tasted in NZ (at our great local cafe The Wadestown Kitchen).

It’s a great family food. Ensuring my daughter has a well-balanced diet has become something of an obsession. This dish covers pretty much everything a growing girl (or boy) needs. It’s also perfect to batch cook and freeze in portions.

We’ve been lucky (so far!) to not have a fussy eater on our hands, but one of the great things about this dish for those who do is the volume & variety of hidden veg in it. Given this, I also recommend using a food processor on chopping/grating mode if you have one.

To reduce sodium levels, use low salt versions of the beef stock, and soy & Worcestershire sauce, and unsalted butter.

This is for about 8-10 adult servings, or 16-20 kiddie ones. Adults will likely need to add salt to taste.

New Zealand Savoury Mince on Toast Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1kg beef mince
  • 50ml Olive Oil
  • 1 large swede
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 2 onions
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1ltr beef stock
  • 2 cup warm water
  • 50ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 50ml dark soy sauce
  • 100g tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp hot English mustard
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 50g butter (optional)

Method

1. Peel and dice the vegetables into large pieces (the ideal is 1 cm cubes), then peel & crush garlic and finely chop onions.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, and mince, and cook until meat is browned.

3. Add the vegetables in this order: swede, parsnip, carrots, celery. Cook until much of the moisture has evaporated.

4. Add tomato paste, stock and Worcestershire sauce & dark soy to taste.

5. Mix flour with a little water to make a paste, then add to mixture and stir through well, for a rich gravy.

6. If necessary, add some water to just cover the vegetables and mince. Bring to the boil, then simmer until the vegetables are tender and liquid has reduced.

7. With a masher, mash the mince and veg together, to thicken the dish and release the full savoury flavour.

8. Adjust seasoning and add chopped thyme & parsley. Serve a ladle full on hot buttered Vogel’s or similar toast, topped with extra herbs. Potential additional toppings include a poached egg, parmesan shavings and watercress.