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Mother and Baby

Giles Coren: 'There’s Nothing Wrong With Burgers And Fries’

Junk food is an important part of your child’s diet alongside the organic lentil and carrot bakes, says our dad-in-residence

The news that McDonald’s has launched a new mascot called ‘Happy’, hot on the heels of a revamp for Ronald McDonald (they’ve given him a nice blazer but he still looks like a serial killer), has had middle-class parents all over England choking into their hand-woven gravel and compost muesli, horrified that McDonald’s should dare to try and make its product appealing to children.

If the kid wants a burger, give him a burger

These are the bien-pensant lunatics who believe in the existence of gluten allergies and make cake day at your kid’s nursery the hell camp of lentil and carrot bakes that it is. Those aren’t cakes! That’s cattle food!

Oh, these sub-Gwyneths with their five-a-day and their organic baby food and their Annabel Karmel bibles, forcing their poor little mites to live on broccoli and white fish and watching them shrivel and fade before their eyes. For heaven’s sake, if the kid wants a burger, give him a burger!


There is nothing wrong with burgers. Burgers are great. And fries. And children who never eat junk food grow up to be mad and insular and have no friends and hate their parents. It’s been proven. By me. From a random glance round my friends.

Children should not be protected from fast food. Healthy diets are for the most part unrealistic and counter-productive. You eat junk food sometimes, don’t you? You dial a curry or pizza when you can’t be bothered to cook. And then the rest of the time you try to eat better: home-cooked meals, fruit and veg, lots of water, etc. Well, your children should do the same.


My Kitty loves McDonald’s fries, so she gets them whenever she wants (whenever she spots a drive-thru from the back seat of the car). The same goes for ice creams (most days in summer), chocolate (as much as she likes after tea), Cheerios (every morning) and pizza (every weekend).

And the rest of the time it’s boring old meat and veg out of some wimpy organic recipe book. My one-year-old boy, Sam, eats ‘better’ than Kitty (by simpering bourgeois standards) because he can’t walk or talk so makes no specific demands. But he’ll yarf down a burger if I or my wife chew it for him first and give him the resultant squish to inhale.

Don't fill your kids with the sort of unsalted, sugarless mush you wouldn’t eat yourself

Children are just smaller versions of people. And people like a Big Mac occasionally. So don’t treat them like babies and fill them with the sort of unsalted, sugarless mush you wouldn’t eat yourself without a gun to your head. Show them some respect, and give them a blooming burger!

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