I am not now, nor have I ever claimed to be a cook. While I have come a long way in my nearly 15 years of marriage, I am no Emeril. Shoot, who am I kidding, I'm not even Sandra Lee! But, since I started homeschooling, I figured I'd better get cookin'. After all, I want to do everything I can to perpetuate my smocks and suspenders reputation!
Therefore, my mom gave me a recipe for homemade pizza crust. (In fact, she even sent along some yeast in a ziploc bag because let's face it, if she hadn't I likely would never have gone to the store to buy any.) In preparation, I faithfully line up the ingredients on the counter, get out all my Pampered Chef measuring tools (I still want to have the appearances of being a cook) and look at the recipe. As I am reading I think to myself, I'd better call mom and discuss the best way to go about this.
ME: Hey mom, I am making that pizza crust.
Mom: (squealing) YOU ARE?! That's wonderful honey!!
ME: So, I just follow the recipe and it will be fine, right?
Mom: Of course, it's SO easy!
ME: What temperature do I set the oven at?
Mom: Oh, I don't know 350, 400, maybe 425.
Um, that is three completely different settings.
ME: Which one of those?
Mom: Oh, I don't know, you just have to watch it.
Watch it do what?
ME: Mom should I set it at 350 or 400?
Mom: Well what do you think?
At this point my heart rate starts to increase, as I would have no idea what temperature to set the oven. I think maybe I'd better ask a different question. You know, let her think about it for a bit. I'll come back to it.
ME: Okay, well, how long do you cook it?
Mom: Oh, well that's easy, 20-45 minutes.
ME: What? So, like 30 minutes?
Mom: It just depends on the pizza. I’d say 20-45 minutes.
Ladies and gents, I am not cook, and I also tend toward the stupid when it comes to numbers but a 25 minute span of time seems like an awful lot of wiggle room.
ME: So, I am thinking Pepperoni, Canadian Bacon, maybe some veggies. How long would that be?
Mom: Oh, I don't know ovens all vary.
At this point I feel like I am in a hamster terrarium running on the spinning wheel. I mean, I am getting nowhere fast. The scary part, I am planning to prepare this for company. I'm under a time crunch and starting to question the intelligence of making something I have never made before. So, I decide to rephrase the questions with the hope of coming to some sort of conclusion.
Me: So, you have seen my oven, what would you set it at if you were
making a pizza?
Mom: Oh, I supposed about 350, 400 or maybe 425.
Are. You. Kidding. Me.
Me: MOM, please, I beg you, give me something here. Say I pick 400. Will that work?
Mom: I think so, try it and see.
Me: Okay, so if I have it at 400, how long will it need to cook?
To which she rankles, "Honey, you aren't listening to me!"
Nope, nope, I am not even kidding. At this point we hang up the phone and I get busy mixing the ingredients. At some point, I call her back. (I know, I know, what can I say, I guess I was missing my wheel.)
Me: Hey, I think I've got it. But, the dough is kind of sticky. Do I need more flour?
Mom: Yes, I just guessed when I gave you the recipe.
Mom: You must have enough so that the dough is sticky, but not sticky.
Did she just say what I think she said?
Me: Um, sticky, but not sticky?
Ancient Chinese Secret, hmmm??
Me: Um, what does that mean exactly?
Mom: Well, it means that the dough is just right.
Because sarcasm is one of those things I tend toward in frustration, I say, "Oh, of course, just right - you mean sticky, but not sticky."
And because my mother is so blissfully oblivious to sarcasm she praises, "Exactly!"
The pizza was wonderful, everyone loved it! I give all the credit to my mothers detailed instructions. What can I say, she's a cook!