This week, I offered up flowers, soft pretzels, and stories of playing Mexican Train on the porch on a rainy afternoon. Yes, we continue to work on the mask project, but in fits-and-starts. Now the hospital supplies most of the materials needed, and the masks go to their surgical units. But cooking remains the sustenance for our body and our spirits. My hands kneading impossibly silky dough, playing tag-team with the ingredients and the participants: who wants to grate the cheese? Slice the meats? Chop the garlic? The result? Three lovely, flaky rounds: Eggplant with roasted peppers; Pineapple with pepperoncini (an inspired choice! the pineapple first roasted with a little sea salt and Aleppo pepper), and the standard—Pepperoni, sausage, and mushroom. Our innovation—cooking the mushrooms in a hot oven beforehand, so the juices are sealed in, and they don’t dry out when the pizza bakes.
The salad definitely took a village. Nancy Silverton’s Chopped Salad should have inspired us to break out the opera music, but we didn’t. OH. Mackenzie put in the whole tablespoon of oregano the recipe called for, and I promise to never be that coward again! We forgot to put Dino on Pandora, so the soundtrack of Little Italy pizza parlors never emerged over the dining room speakers. Still, we slurped and chewed with comments of “Bellisimo” and “Delicioso” and, “Are you going to eat that crust?”
The next morning, with cold-pizza-for-breakfast in hand as I dead-headed the roses, the multi-colored “Pinata” climber called out for taco night. The House of Garlic goes for round two.