Of worms and psychology and doctors vs. 7-year olds!

“Doctor, my child won’t eat anything. He’s losing weight and I’m worried.”

Hands up all those with children who have asked this question at least once in your life. All the other liars, please prepare to meet your Maker!

Almost all kids, even the most unfussy ones, seem to make that effort to fit in with the herd by throwing the occasional food tantrum!

Anyway, the story goes that the doctor in question took the kid (not to mention the mother!) seriously and decided to use some psychology on him (must have read the same Melanie Klein series on psychology that Bertie Pollock’s mom subscribed to in Alexander McCall Smith’s Scotland Street series!) and plays along.

“Well, young man, what do you have to say?”

“I don’t want to eat” – baldly and without any embroidery as only a child can.

Some coaxing and cajoling happens – to no avail.

The doctor finally asks, “If you could eat anything in the world, what would you like to eat?”

Seriously?? Forget psychology – common sense would dictate that is a very loaded question!

The kid eyes the doctor sidelong – this is a gift he’s not bargained for!

A worm,” he says – trust a seven-year old to judge adults to a nicety in terms of how far they can be pushed!

The doctor blanches but continues down his suicidal Melanie Klein path… (I have no sympathy – he deserves what he gets!)

“Wait here,” he tells the patient and goes out to the garden and digs around after elusive worms, finally managing to run one hapless specimen down… and bears it triumphantly into the clinic.

The kid has had plenty of time to marshall his wits.

Cut it in half,” says he.

Taking a clean scalpel (for a worm that eats mud??!), the doc proceeds to obey orders.

The kid, let’s call him Dennis, sizes up the situation.

You eat one half,” he tells the doc, waiting to scoot if there is any sign of the doctor breaking and resultant retribution…

The doc, whose knowledge of kids seems to stem primarily from the textbooks of that awful woman Melanie Klein again, blanches but is determined to call the kid’s bluff. He picks it up, opens his mouth wide (they practise saying “aaah” on themselves before they enter practice!), pops it in and manages to swallow it!

“Waaanh!! WAAANHH! WAAAANNNNHHH!” wails the kid, throwing himself back on the examination table in a classic tantrum, “He ate MY half!”

And you thought you could get the better of a seven-year old using a textbook on psychology??!

Thankfully, my kids were never fussy – at least they weren’t allowed to be! I used a very simple technique – everyone in the family got to choose the menu on one day – provided they ate whatever the others chose on the other days! Kids were easy to train but husbands are a different matter!

Even the fussiest eater though, won’t cavil at these specialties of my aunt Malathi Mohan – the…


  • Maida/plain flour – 250 gm
  • Butter – 55 gms
  • Eggs – 2
  • Sugar (powdered) – 85 gms
  • Salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
  • Baking powder – 1.5 tsp
  • Oil for deep frying – 300 ml

Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.

Cream the butter and add the sugar. Add beaten eggs along with a tbsp of flour so it doesn’t curdle.

Add vanilla essence, the rest of the flour and mix with a very light hand to a soft dough.

Roll out on a floured surface to 1/2 cm thickness. Cut out rings with a lid with a handle. In the centre of the circle, cut out small rings with a smaller lid (say the essence bottle) – see pics.

Roll out all the doughnuts and start frying the doughnut holes on a very low heat till golden brown. Drain.

Fry the doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time – ditto.

Box when completely cool, if there’s any left!

If you like them sweeter, roll in powdered sugar. Or dip one side in chocolate sauce.

Get ready to face your seven-year old!