Organization is always a good thing. Just because it’s not something you naturally excel at, just because the thought of such an exercise has you running for your bed covers, doesn’t mean that it’s not something you should attempt. Over and over again, even if you do it badly. There are points for trying.
I’ve decided to replace our signature “Oh-no-what-will-we-feed-the-kids-for-dinner!’ hootenanny hoedown, with a written out meal plan for the coming week. My friends have assured me it makes mealtimes as easy as pie. I tried pointing out that I don’t really make pies unless I can buy a pre-made crust, which they don’t seem to have in this country, but I was encouraged to give it a go anyway. Surprisingly, it actually has been a great solution. Sure it’s a bit more work, but the result is a reasonable meal with a great presentation – I mean the kind that actually requires place settings, everyone sitting together at the table, and napkins.
However, I’m also a working mommy, and some of my uncomplicated meal plans have required a bit of prep. Namely, our make-your-own pizza night. The problem is that the dough needs to rise for an hour before you can split it up into sections for the pizzas, and our beautiful brand-new stainless steel oven is apparently on the small side, and we can only fit two pizzas in it at a time. So my solution was to call my sweet and capable First Daughter, and see if I could walk her through the act of making the dough in advance.
I’m a good mother, so I prepared her for this for at least two days. “Would you be willing to help me with dinner tomorrow by making the pizza dough by yourself? If I call you on the phone and tell you the steps?”
“YES! YES! YES!” eagerly cheers First Daughter.
Day two: “First Daughter, are you still willing to help me make the pizza dough this afternoon? I will call you around 5 p.m. to help you…”
“Yes! Eema, I will so make the best pizza dough ever!!!” cheered First Daughter.
So at 5:00 PM (17:00 hours), I called home while holding the recipe in front of me. If you are new to this blog, I should probably point out that not only does my First Daughter have ADHD, my husband also has ADHD. I also seem to have quite a few of the symptoms of this disorder, so all of us problem-solving together are quite entertaining.
Me, calling First Daughter from work: “First Daughter, are you ready to start the dough for pizza?”
First Daughter: “Yes! Yes! I’m going to start making dough, I’m going to be cooking! Yes! Yes! Wait, I need to get some supplies – there are broken eggs in pizza dough, right? I’m getting the eggs now!!”
Me: “Wait, first let’s try getting all of the equipment out. Please pull out the plastic blue mixing bowls.”
First Daughter: “Ok, plastic blue mixing bowls- “
Me: “Wait! Did you wash your hands first? When was the last time you touched the dog?”
First Daughter: “Ok, let me wash my hands, hold on.” After thirty seconds of silence, First Daughter returns to the phone. “Ok, I’m ready now. What do I do?”
Me: “Get the plastic blue mixing bowls out.”
First Daughter: “I can’t reach them!”
Me: “Go get your father.”
First Daughter: “Abbbaaaaaaaaaaa!”
Husband: “WHAT NOW!?! I was finally able to read a paragraph! I can’t even read a paragraph in this house?”
First Daughter: “Eema needs the mixing bowls.”
Husband: “Eema’s not here right now.”
First Daughter: “No – I’m going to start cooking, and Eema’s telling me what to do. I need to get the mixing bowls-”
Husband: “Who came up with this idea?” (Note to self: Next time also prepare the husband.)
First Daughter (sighing): “Eema’s on the phone now, and she’s telling me what to do and I AM MAKING PIZZA DOUGH! Now I need the blue plastic mixing bowls.”
Me: “Yeah, the really big one, and the really small one.”
First Daughter: “Eema says the really big one, and the really small one.”
Husband: “Fine.” Husband rattles around in the cabinets. “I can only find the really big one.”
Me: “Ok, so use any other small plastic bowl.”
First Daughter: “Eema says any other small plastic bowl is fine.”
Husband: “No, I can find the small blue one.”
More rattling in the cabinet. First Daughter begins yelling that her father isn’t listening to her, and husband is insisting on finding the blue bowl, after all he had to purchase it at some point, therefore it should be in the kitchen. I complain that I can’t understand two voices at once, and please just pull down any friggin’ bowl. Husband eventually does succeed in finding the missing blue bowl.
Me: “Ok, now let’s set the yeast. I don’t know what it’s called in Hebrew, but there is a small red bag in the door of the fridge, that looks like brown powder. Take a few spoonfuls and add it to the small bowl.”
First Daughter rattles around a bit: “Got it. Eema, if you don’t know what it’s called in Hebrew, how do you know where to find it in the grocery store?”
Me: “Let’s leave deep philosophical questions aside for the moment. Once you’ve added the yeast to the small bowl, add a small spoon of sugar to the bowl.”
First Daughter: “Done!”
Me: “Now add a warm half cup of water. You know where the measuring-”
First Daughter: “Yes, I know where the measure cup is. Ok, done.”
Me: “Great! Now the big second bowl. Let’s add four cups of flour to the really big bowl.”
First Daughter: [Working and clattering of utensils] “Ok, done! I’m so good at this I can’t believe it! I’m having so much fun!!”
Me: “Ok, now this is the part where you might need Abba to watch you. Now we will need to add the small bowl to the big bowl. But first, let’s measure out 4 cups of warm water, with the big measuring cup -”
First Daughter: “Eema, right that I’m really good at this?”
Me: “You rock. Now let’s make sure the water is in the measuring cup -
First Daughter: “Done! I put it in!”
Me: “What’s done, what part?”
First Daughter: “I added all the water to the big blue bowl. Now what?”
Me: “Which water, all of it? The small bowl and the full measuring cup?”
First Daughter: “Yes…. was that bad?”
Me: “Um… maybe you should get your father.”
[Silence, a bit of rustling.] Husband: “Ok, now how do we fix this?”
Me: “Just add more and more flour, until you have pizza dough.”
So, 2 kilos of flour later, Husband and First Daughter made pizza dough. And while everyone had pretty thick pizza crusts for their personal pizzas that night (plus a side of garlic bread), for a change we didn’t end up with any waste.
Success! Now we just have to get the same results, night after night after night.