You all know how obsessed by food I am. A good friend says that we live to eat, while they eat to live. I say that our view of food as a luxury and not a necessity adds richness to our lives. Take that!
Well, these days, food has many of the qualities that compensate for the depressing news swirling around us. First, cooking is a relatively inexpensive activity. Second, cooking from scratch is incredibly rewarding, assuming you have a positive outcome. Third, cooking brings people together, whether it be your immediate family or friends. Fourth, if you screw up, you only have yourself and the recipe to blame, Not the economy.
So, I made homemade pizza dough yesterday. Ingredients: 2 pkgs. dry yeast (I wasn't sure one would work); 1.5 tsp. sugar; 1.5 c. water. Mix together and let sit in mixer bowl until yeast proofs -- appears foamy on top of the water. Start mixer with dough hook setting, add 2 Tbsp. olive oil; 2 tsp. kosher salt; and gradually add enough flour, slowly, so dough is not sticky but not hard, about 4.5 cups. Remove from bowl; place on floured surface and knead for 2 minutes. Put a little olive oil in bowl, make sure dough ball is covered in oil, then cover bowl with clean dishcloth and place in oven (NOT ON!) for several hours. This should make 2-3 crusts. For toppings, on one I put sauce, pepperoni and cheese; on the second I put thinly-sliced tomatoes, ham, pineapple chunks, rosemary, and cheese. Ya-um.
There's something incredibly satisfying about kneading soft dough. Just ask any child.
Other than that, life has been fairly crazy lately. Last week, our schedule went like so:
Thursday: Dr. Michael Thompson (author, Raising Cain) spoke at St. John's. Really great guy, despite the fact he used Princeton as an example of parents' ridiculous expectations for their kids. He advised that a child's success should be measured according to three factors: mastery, recognition, and connections. If a child has all three, he/she will be successful in school.
Friday: Valentine's Day party at Julia's school. Bought valentine's this year from Save The Children.org, which made them unique and worthwhile.
Saturday: Early, Ethan's Sectional Swim Championships at MIT. He did well, and St. John's won pretty easily (4th year in a row). From there to baby shower for my cousin Greg and his wife Lindsay, having their first baby in late March. Lots of cousins, so lots of laughing and fun. Saturday night, after last minute dinner-date cancellations, Bill and I took Julia to dinner with us. Incredibly, or not, we laughed the entire time and had a blast. Who knew? Not exactly romantic, but who cares!
Sunday: Off to Sunday River, in Maine, for skiing.
Monday: All day skiing, really fun. Oh, except for the part where Julia got lost. Well, not lost exactly, just separated from the rest of us. Here's the scoop: She skis too fast for me to keep up. But, here's the good news. She's not afraid to ask strangers to borrow a cell phone. So, we were reunited shortly, and lesson learned. She stayed in sight the rest of the trip.
Tuesday: Skiing not so fun because ice was beginning to set in. Kids did well -- we went with Bill's sister, Meg, and her family -- and everyone made it in for a great lunch. We couldn't help but notice how the economy is affecting everyone; the slopes were relatively crowded, but the resort itself was extremely low-staffed, e.g., second floor of hotel restaurant had no waitresses, so people had to wait and wait and wait for tables.
Wednesday: Rest. Reading. Cleaning the house. Making homemade pizza dough. Updating the blog.
Movie Update: The Reader: Excellent! Kate Winslet was amazing. I read the book years ago, when Oprah first picked it for her book club, but forgot most of the essentials of the story. Wasn't sure how I'd feel about the older woman/ younger man relationship, but it was done very well, with incredible care and superior acting. I came away with all the mixed feelings I think you were supposed to have for Winslet's character. I was totally drawn in by the strong emotions of the story and of the characters. I loved it.