Would you eat stale cake you found in your car? Apparently, our Sussex columnist would

Picture the scene. You get into your car and there, on the back seat, is a little paper box containing a piece of chocolate birthday cake.
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‘Winner, winner, chicken dinner’, you might think. But this chocolate cake has been languishing in the family vehicle for two days.

Not covered by any cling film and not protected by anything as fancy as a piece of Tupperware, this cake has pretty much been exposed to the elements for the best part of 48 hours.

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It was given to my son when he went to a friend’s birthday party, and was accidentally forgotten about by my husband when he got out of the car after taking my son home.

Would you eat a slice of cake you found in your car?! Picture: National WorldWould you eat a slice of cake you found in your car?! Picture: National World
Would you eat a slice of cake you found in your car?! Picture: National World

Sadly, it’s now not at its best (the outside air and lack of protection drying it out quite a lot) and should probably be resigned to the composting bin.

But it’s the pre-dinnertime slump. Lunch was hours ago and dinner is still hours away, the risotto I plan to cook is still just a gem of an idea in my head.

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I’m hungry, and a sugar hit might just give me the rush I need to take me through the bath and bedtime routine. Do I eat it?

I would really, really love to tell you that, nope, I did what I assume most sensible humans would do and took the cake inside to give it a proper burial. That would be a lie.

Because, safe in the confines of my car, I took several guilty mouthfuls of the Dried Out Car Cake (DOCC).

Did it taste good? Surprisingly, despite the lack of moisture, it was still quite a nice afternoon treat. A generous amount of buttercream allowing me to just about digest the past-its-best sponge.

Did I feel good afterwards? Absolutely not.

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Aside from the fact I’m trying to be good and eat fewer sugary treats, I just ate food that belongs in the rubbish.

Worst of all, this isn’t my first low when it comes to parental eating. However, unlike the DOCC, for which I have no anecdotal evidence that others have done this, this admission is at least something I know other mums (and dads) do.

Eating your children's leftovers. Usually cold, sometimes a bit chewed, why is it that scraps of food rejected by your offspring are just so tempting?

I’m guessing it’s because they appear at a time when you’ve fed the children early, and hunger is getting the better of you ahead of dinner time.

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You know you shouldn’t, you know you’ll feel all the shame after you’ve done it, but you’re seemingly powerless over the lure of a half-eaten fish finger.

Then there’s children’s party food. It’s torture watching the children enjoying a beige buffet knowing none of it is for me.

Surely I’m not the only person to ever pile my child’s party plate a little too high, knowing there will be some left over that I’ll just have to eat to save it from being wasted and going to landfill.

Some parents might also select a crisp/sandwich/biscuit they know their child doesn’t like, and then pretend they forgot, thus having to eat the offending item(s). Some parents might do this, but I can’t possibly say if I ever have…

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And don’t get me started on my habit of eating sneaky treats over the bin. It’s so wrong, but it’s oh so right.

The deal is this. I’ve told the kids they can’t have pudding or anything containing sugar for the rest of the day. They’ve had enough treats already, and the only things on offer to them are fruit or vegetable sticks with hummus.

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But that doesn’t mean I don’t want a Kit Kat. So, I have to be sneaky.

Many a naughty treat has been consumed hastily while standing, foot depressed, over the kitchen pedal bin. It might not be the most relaxing way to have a snack, but I’ll take standing over a literal pile of rubbish as I speed-eat Jaffa Cakes for the security of knowing that should little footsteps suddenly approach, I can ditch any offending biscuit immediately. And they will remain blissfully unaware that their mum is an animal.

It’s not big. It’s not clever. And it’s most certainly not good for the waistline. But there’s a reason the saying ‘do as I say, not as I do’ exists, and I like to think it was created for moments like these.

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