“Carnage!”: Even Jamie Oliver finds family meal times a bit of a nightmare

Jamie Oliver and baby River

If you’re struggling to keep the peace at dinner time, you might be heartened to know that even one of the world’s most vocal proponents of eating together finds mealtimes with kids a tricky business.

“It’s carnage”

Chef Jamie, who is married to Jools and dad to Poppy, Daisy, Petal, Buddy and River, spoke to TV Week earlier this week about just how chaotic dining together can be, despite best intentions.

“I’d say about three times out of 10 it’s really pleasant,” Jamie said.

“But seven times out of 10, someone’s kicking off. It’s carnage,” the dad-of-five admitted.

Further, he noted that keeping everyone’s foodie preferences in check proved a very relatable challenge.

“Look, cooking for kids is utter psychological warfare and this thing called perfection doesn’t really exist!”

Best laid plans

It’s heartening to hear this from the high profile chef, who had previously spoken out against pandering to children’s whims and implementing a tough love approach.

“We are too subservient to our kids – you have to be tough,” he’d previously told news.com.au.

“To love a child is saying no sometimes. It is much easier to give in but the minute you give in consistently you are in trouble.”

It seems that in theory, the hard line sounds ideal. In reality, though, things play out differently.

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Buds 💘 a Little Bird ☀️

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Pancakes 💛

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“My family isn’t perfect”

Jamie admitted that keeping kids focused on the (delicious) task at hand often proved near impossible, too.

“My family isn’t perfect… it’s like warfare,” he said, revealing that concessions were made very often, to keep the peace. (Sound familiar?!)

“We’ve struggled with the ‘no electronics at the table’ rule for older kids yes, and for Petal she is edging towards being a little bit of spoilt brat – everyone wants to placate here the louder she screams and I have to admit that sometimes to have some peace while we eat she will get to watch Fireman Sam on the TV.”

Parents reading Jamie’s comments will be intimately familiar the appetite suppressing power of a very cross toddler or upturned bowl of soup. Sometimes “flexibility” in the name of peace is the only way to ensure everyone gets something in their tummies and a modicum of sanity is maintained when the whole gang sits down to eat.

Is meal time chaos at your place? Can you relate to life at Chez Oliver?

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