“Listen to this recipe, Squints,” I said. “No-knead pizza dough that keeps in the
fridge for days. Tastes like sourdough.” I began reading from the recipe printed in my
Mother Earth magazine.
He wrinkled his nose and grabbed his Bon Appétit. “My recipe sounds better.” He listed the various toppings: bacon, some
cheese I’d never heard of, arugula, Brussels sprouts…
Squints has gotten to the point in his cooking where he
considers himself an expert—certainly he considers himself a better cook than
I: He’ll offer to add some spices to a soup I’ve been working on all day or he’ll
tell me that I might add a bit of salt to the lentils. Sometimes I find this endearing. Often it irritates me.
“Well, we should just have a pizza cook off,” I said. “All
Then we’ll know who’s got the better recipe.”
“Yeah!” Squint’s eyes
brightened. He scanned the recipe again. His face fell. “Oh.”
“We need a baking stone and peel.” Squints likes all that fancy-pants cooking
equipment. He wants a waffle iron and a
fondue pot; he wants real vanilla beans to make ice cream.
I prefer making do. “We
can just use cookie sheets, like we always have.”
“Those cookie sheets are crappy.”
They are. They’re
discolored and dented and beat-up from years of cookies and pizzas and French
bread. “They’re fine.”
But one of our cooking friends learned of Squint’s plight
and offered the use of a stone and peel.
And now, we’re in business.
Squints whipped up a batch of dough after dinner tonight:
Enough dough to make six pizzas. Looks
like he’s got the first three days covered.
Maybe everyone will get tired of pizza before it’s my turn
V and Filibuster had the entire week off from school. I envisioned days lounging around catching up
on my reading; watching movies; sleeping in.
Instead, I ran the kids to various doctor appointments;
dropped off their cleaning; picked up their cleaning; ran them to practices and
competitions; ran them to work; visited three colleges; ran them to parties;
ran them to movies; and spent several hours working on driving lessons.
I hate all this busyness.
With no time to plan, I tend to take shortcuts: We picked up lunch on the
way home from one of the college visits.
And after Filibuster’s competition, we grabbed Chinese. Constantly on the go, we grab take-out coffee
and eat lunch in the car.
And this, of course, makes me incredibly grumpy.
So after the kitchen was cleaned tonight and the dishwasher
was humming, Squints and I sat down at the kitchen table to plan our
garden. “Three things, Squints,” I
said. “We can’t get carried away this
And he was good: He selected pickling cucumbers and cherry
tomatoes and sunberries: an interesting-looking fruit we’d never heard of. He slid the catalogue towards me.
“Now you pick, Mom.
Three things.” I picked soup
beans for drying, green beans for climbing, peas to trellis. I picked tomatoes for the spaghetti sauce I
freeze every fall. I picked…
”Mom, you picked more than three.”
“I did, didn’t I?”
Squints grinned. “Can
I pick more?”
Squints added chocolate peppers.
I added basil.
Squints added another variety of cucumbers.
I added red peppers.
Squints added chives.
I picked Italian parsley.
By the time we’d finished, we’d picked fourteen items to
grown in our tiny garden.
But that’s OK: Seeds are a promise of the future.
Squints filled out the order form and tallied our bill: For
the cost of one take-out lunch, we have our garden.
We wrote a check and tucked the order in the envelope
In six short weeks, we will tuck our seeds into the soil and
wait for the magic to begin.
Gardening and cooking force me to slow down and notice the
world around me. And I’m happy Squints
Because soon enough, other interests—driving and college and
part-time jobs—will call to him and my cooking and gardening buddy will move
And I’ll be making pizzas on my own on crappy old baking
And I’ll be planning my garden by myself.
Labels: Cooking, Gardening, Sons