A friend of ours is out of town and Kim offered to pick her kids up from school and said that we’d feed them dinner. We thought we’d make pizza. It’s easy and each kid can put exactly what they want on their pizza – no fighting.
I looked through the refrigerator for ingredients. To make room for the food that the neighbors brought over during the past couple of weeks, my mother-in-law and Kim’s aunt cleaned out our refrigerator. Items that needed to go were pitched out. Expiration dates were read (for a change) and respected. So I needed to go out for some yeast and cheese.
Kim and I headed down to Gallucci’s to stock up on Italian grocery items. At the deli counter we bought a pound of fresh yeast, some fresh mozzarella, and some imported parmesan. It didn’t hit me until we got to the register. The guy that rang us out used to offer Elena a lollipop. She’d beam and ask if she could choose one for her sister too.
On the way home we picked up the two girls from pre-school. We gave them a snack and I measured the ingredients for the dough into the KitchenAid. The three year old helped me place the dough in plastic bags and put them on the radiator to rise. I went upstairs to do a little work while the dough worked its magic.
Soon it was time to pick up their older brother and Maggie from school. The girls didn’t want to ride in a car just to pick up their brother and come home. They called up to my office and informed me that it was time to make popcorn. The eldest explained that we needed to have the snack ready for when the other kids came back.
After snacks, Kim took all four kids to Girl Scouts. Every time she left the house, she seemed to return with more kids. Sure enough. After Girl Scouts there were five kids ready to make and eat pizza. While the kids were at Girl Scouts I had IM’d with Danese and said it would be hard to make pizza, Elena had always helped me. Danese responded, “let her”.
Mike showed up as we were getting ready to cook. Three of the kids are his and he’d offered to come over earlier, but the kids were fine and he’s going to be alone with the kids the rest of the weekend. We figured he should pace himself.
We put aprons on the two youngest girls. Each floured the counter and flattened out their dough ball. They rolled it with a rolling pin and thinned out the edges – and then the fun part. I showed them how to toss the dough high in the air, spinning it around. They squealed with delight and each tossed theirs in the air. Through long experience of doing this with Maggie and Elena I helped catch it before it hit their hair, the cupboard, the floor – wherever it was headed.
We placed the dough on parchment paper and repaired the holes. Nothing in cooking with kids is ever that big a deal. Next each girl put a little sauce on the dough. “We use spoons to spread the sauce,” they told me.
“Well, you’ve washed your hands so here you can just smoosh it around with your hands. Paint the sauce everywhere on the dough. They spread the sauce around and then their dad held them over the sink while they rinsed their hands again. They sprinkled exactly the amount of cheese they wanted and it was time for the next shift.
While their pizza baked, their brother donned an apron and patted, tossed, and repaired the dough. He too balked at putting his hands in the sauce. He spread the sauce, rinsed his hands, and added cheese and pepperoni to the top of his. The eldest two girls were too busy to make their own pizza so Mike and I made theirs and ours.
We hung out in the kitchen and talked about nothing and everything. We ate pizza with five of the kids who had known Elena the most. Elena was nowhere and Elena was everywhere. It was nice to have a house full of noisy, goofy kids.