Ham Steaks with Pineapple

What did you eat when Mum or Dad couldn’t be bothered?

Mum, Dad, Parents, Caretakers or anyone who kept us fed…

For most families I knew when growing up, the responsibility for cooking dinner was the domain of one person over another. Sure, some fancy kids had parents who shared the responsibility, but in my house, Mum was the major provider of the night-time meal.

Mum was (and is) an excellent cook, but there were definitely nights she simply couldn’t be stuffed. Not a fan of ordering takeaway she preferred getting “creative” with the back of the cupboard and bottom of the fridge. Mostly on a Friday.

Affectionately known as “Frankenstein Fridays“, we didn’t know what we’d get. Though, it did stand an 80% chance of containing tuna from the 60s. Why was there a surplus of tuna at the back of the pantry? Were my parents closet doomsday preppers? Where was the spam?

So many questions…

I conducted some serious #marketresearch on the internet to find out what heinous meals you had to endure when the primary meal maker wasn’t on their game. Boy oh boy have people been creative with the definition of “food”



Is that really cheese? Image (and recipe) from Campbells

Tuna mixed with mayo and celery, atop a slice of toast, covered in cheese-like substance and grilled till gooey. If mum was feeling extra fancy there’d also be a tomato slice with the ambient temperature of lava to really take the top layer of skin off your mouth.

Cheese toasties and jaffles of pretty much any kind were popular. Cheese. Cheese and Baked Beans. Cheese and weird sauces. Or sometimes just sauce.


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If it wasn’t rice and condiments (soy and parmesan???), it was rice and a replica of food dug out of the back of a freezer. 10 points to the person who’s mum made them polish off the crab flavoured tripe sticks the next day, both thrifty and efficient.



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Some people were lucky enough to get a jar of Dolmio heated up atop their spaghetti. Others not so much. There was a strong theme of spaghetti (and mac’n’cheese) varieties to folk’s “mum can’t be bothered” recipes.

Canned, boiled and microwaved, the plain tomato sauce above takes the cake for the grossest… except mum didn’t make a cake.



The mystery mashups your parents came up with ranged from categorically brilliant to “I’m calling child services”. The remnants of the veggie crisper, combined with one or two mystery meats and a random carb for balance. The inventiveness of some parents knows no bounds.

Some also just sounded darn tasty!

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The 80s were a fine time for eating meats with fruit. Dishes like apricot chicken and duck an l’orange were popular Sunday meals. When these fine ingredients or the effort to cook them couldn’t be found, enter the ham steak and pineapple.

Cos who doesn’t love a meaty layer of processed gristle covered in sweet acidic rings of fruit from a can.



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2 minute Mie Goreng is a dish many of us remember fondly from our uni days. However, in some households, they are the backbone of many a cbf meal.  The humble Maggi noodle, (the less fancy of the 2-minute varietal) was certainly a workhorse too. Being the conduit for pretty much any leftover imaginable.

The lucky person below even had the broth drained off and served as a warm drink to accompany the meal. Delightful! 🤮



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Doritos corn chips and baked beans. Cheese if you’re lucky. If. You’re. Lucky.

I’m unsure if this actually fits the definition of either nachos or in fact a meal. The nutritional value of such a dish leaves little to be desired. Mum or Dad have definitely never been to Mexico.


brekky.jpgBreakfast for dinner was highly popular, possibly due to the fact that pretty much any kid over the age of 6 can pop some toast on and heat up a can of baked beans. Did their parents even cook on these nights or was it chalked up to a “learning experience”?

On a side-note: just because leftovers have eggs in them does NOT make them bubble and squeak! 


Feeling inspired? There are some legitimately mind-boggling “recipes” in the facebook thread that gains more and more inspiring comments each day.  I’d love to hear your own experience of what you had to ensure when the parentals couldn’t be assed…


  1. Deb · June 7, 2019

    I found this very funny, people were wondering why I was laughing so much at work.

  2. Kath Wilkinson · June 8, 2019

    Ham steaks with pineapple slices -yes! Definitely cbf meal and actually enjoyed by whole family. Tried to avoid tomato sauce but was generally overruled.

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