How to hide your delight when a couple breaks up

KNOW someone who’s been abandoned to singledom like you? Hide your obvious glee with these tips:

Make a sad face

It’ll feel unnatural, but when you hear that a friend’s relationship has gone to shit you should make your facial features resemble a sad emoji. Think of upsetting things to achieve this look, like the fact that you haven’t been on a date in five years and the wedding photos your ex recently posted on Instagram.

Use an upset tone

An upbeat tone of voice is a dead giveaway that you’re happy someone else’s romantic life has gone wrong. Instead, try to sound miserable and lifeless, like when a checkout cashier asks if you’ve got a Morrisons loyalty card. Your friend will mistake your monotone drawl for sympathetic sadness and feel reassured.

Cover your grin

A carefully positioned hand will mask the beaming grin that’s spreading across your face as your friend recounts the months of simmering hatred that led to the split. You knew their relationship was too good to be true so the vindication will feel euphoric, but do the polite thing and let them wallow for five minutes.

Laugh internally

You’ll be a pressure cooker of joyful cackles after hearing that your friend got ditched on their birthday, but you must only laugh internally. Your raucous interior hysterics will be so loud that you won’t be able to concentrate on your jilted pal spilling their guts, so just nod along on autopilot and hope they don’t want you to say something wise and thoughtful.

Excuse yourself

If your delight is too much to contain, pretend that you need to pop to the bathroom so you can punch the air and perform a little happy dance. Even though you’d need hours to express the full extent of your joy, try to keep your absence to less than 10 minutes because even the biggest of shits don’t take that long.

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How to make normal food mental, by a dreadful foodie

WE all need food to survive, but I like to make cooking and eating as needlessly complicated as possible. Here are my tips, writes foodie Helen Archer.

Deconstruct your meals

Where’s the fun in serving up a regular lasagne? I enjoy turning dinner into a laborious, messy process by putting a bowl of seasoned mince, a jug of tomato sauce and some flaccid pasta sheets on the table and inviting my family to build their own. It’s different, quirky and means I only have to be arsed to make half a meal.

Cook everything very slowly

After a long day at work and school, my family want a quick and tasty early evening dinner. They don’t get it though, because I’ll be making a five-hour braised lamb’s shoulder which won’t be ready until 11pm. Don’t moan, this is what time they eat on the continent, I say as they fall asleep in their kohlrabi and oca slaw.

Make foams and reductions

My kids love nothing better than a big plate of chips with ketchup, but I won’t allow mass-produced poison like that in my house. Instead I’ll buy some heritage tomatoes from my local biodynamic farm and create a gorgeous frothy foam for them to dip their soggy sweet potato chips in, while they mutter angrily about just wanting some sodding Heinz.

Serve it on something totally inappropriate

Serving a meal on a slate is so passé. Having fed my family their dinner on everything from a straw hat to a thimble, I now just serve it directly onto the table. We’ve lost a few peas and runaway gravy has caused burned crotches, but it adds a drama to dinner that I know they really enjoy.

Disguise it as another type of food

The best way to f**k around with food, and other people’s heads, is to disguise one type of food as another. How your children will laugh when you serve what they think is vanilla ice cream but is actually a smoked Brie and haddock mousse. Well, they might laugh. Mine told me to piss off and rang for a takeaway.