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Tom Shields Royal teacakes, to go

AS a dutiful daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall should be spending time looking after the Queen.

She has done the next best thing and asked the schoolchildren of Britain to invent simple and nutritious dishes to sustain Her Majesty through the diamond jubilee celebrations.

What would I set before an octogenarian monarch who should have been retired 20 years ago? A cup of Complan and a digestive biscuit. Just the job for a sit-down and a wee read about her extended European royal family in Hello!

With her many stewards of the household, chefs, cup-bearers and other catering lackeys, the Queen does not need schoolchildren to construct a menu. It's a patronising ploy to involve the proles in the party.

I will play along with another suggestion. A roll on swan. The royal family is allowed to eat these big birdies. Just the one would not be missed from the flock or herd (actually the collective noun is a game of swans) down at Glasgow's Rouken Glen.

As it's a gift from the loyal subjects of the west of Scotland, we would send it already deep-fried.

Once when I was a boy, I thought we were having swan for our dinner. It said Zwan on the tin. It turned out to be spam by another name.

The anti-monarchy group Republic has declared that it may be illegal for schools to give weans lessons about cooking for the royal family. Under the Education Act, there is a duty to teach children that there is an alternative form of government called republicanism.

The Republic folk should just get into the spirit of things and come up with a recipe for abdication chicken. Ekaterinburg cake instead of Battenberg.

These dishes would be, in Dundee parlance, to tak awa. Or, as the Americans say, to go.

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