Today we took the kids to a friend’s birthday party.
I asked her mother, who is also my friend, if there was anything I could do to help, as she was a bit under the weather, and having sixteen 7 year olds round to your house, plus a magician is not a winning formula for feeling better. Although I suppose it depends on just how magical the magician actually turns out to be.
I said: ‘I could make you a cheese and pineapple hedgehog!’
To which she said: ‘????’
I explained that they were a staple of my 1970’s childhood party reminiscences, along with cocktail sausages on sticks and Party Rings.
She said: ‘Oh! Go on then.’
I confess that even though I have catered many parties for my children, and I do not think I have ever invited anyone round to a party at my house whatever the occasion, where I have not made cheese and pineapple on sticks (a party is not a real party unless there are unlikely things on sticks, and cake to eat), I have never made them a cheese and pineapple hedgehog. I do not know why. Perhaps I was afraid that they wouldn’t live up to the splendour my memory has enshrined them in.
Anyway. I bought all the ingredients and suggested to the children that it could be a fun, and bonding family thing to do together. After all, how hard can it be?
Basically, for the uninitiated this is what you do:
- Take a large orange, or half a melon and wrap it in tin foil (I do not know why. Perhaps it is to stop harmful radiation from penetrating the skin). This is the body of your hedgehog.
- Chop up pineapple into even sized, bite sized chunks, or alternatively open a large tin of pineapple chunks and save yourself a lot of stickiness.
- Chop up the cheese of your choice (I recommend cheddar. It really doesn’t work with say brie. Too runny) into chunks roughly equal to the size of the chunks of pineapple.
- Take a cocktail stick. Stab onto one end a lump of pineapple and a lump of cheese to make a tasty duet of flavours.
- Stick the other end of the cocktail stick into the body of your hedgehog.
- Repeat this ad nauseum and make sure they are in a vaguely spiny fashion.
- For true authenticity you will need some glace cherries, which you stick onto cocktail sticks and then stick into the body of the hedgehog to form the face. Because we all know that as well as having bodies made of aluminium, hedgehogs have huge, protruding red eyes (thyroid issues).
So easy a child could do it.
Unless you are my children.
If you are my children you whinge, bicker, whine, fight, sulk and cry over every single part of the process. You steal lumps of cheese and/or pineapple and sneakily try to jab each other in the flesh with cocktail sticks until your mother hates the sight of you and sends you all packing because it has taken half an hour to produce a hedgehog that looks like Charlie from Casualty is just about to pronounce its time of death by hedgehog alopecia and you wish you’d never bloody bothered in the first place.
Then mummy takes ten minutes to produce a masterpiece:
Note that this cheese and pineapple hedgehog even has eyebrows and rather a cute pout.
I am also available for christenings and Bar Mitzvahs.