I like routine. I find comfort in a to-do list. I drive Michelle crazy by asking about dinner plans over breakfast.
This parenting gig isn’t easy. If fact, it’s pretty terrifying most of the time, so if I can get an edge through routine, I’m going to take it. There’s a reason so many Saturdays revolve around the sofa, vacuuming, the transfer station, costume changes, and show tunes.
It’s mildly deranged, sure, but it works, and the repetition actually brings some stability. Anything to get through 2020.
Routines are a parents friend and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Now, on to the couch…
Yeast is responsible for bread, wine, and beer. Do you need to know more?
Yeast is a single-cell microgranism in the fungi family. Its scientific name is Saccharomyces Cerevisiae which means “sugar-eating fungus.” It is tiny (It takes twenty billion yeast cells to weigh one gram) but very strong. Yeast serves as a leavening agent which causes the bread to rise and expand by converting the ferment-able sugars present in the dough into carbon dioxide and ethanol.
So Cecilia won’t be graded in sixth grade and this makes me… slightly itchy. I actually think it will be very good for her but as someone that was schooled in the 80s and 90s and was pretty good at tests and rule-following it is a very different middle school experience. Add remote learning on top of that and I sometimes find myself a bit adrift as a Dad.
I find myself stuck between chastising and cheering. Yes, they need to do the assignments but if they wander off and get interested in something else along the way? If they try to figure out how to make a quick bread rise with the right leavening ratios? If they do their assignment while pretending to be filmed for their YouTube channel? It’s all good. In fact, maybe it’s better. Maybe this weird school year will let the kids roam and not crush the curiosity out of them.
Even if it makes their conventional Dad uncomfortable.
If you’ve ever baked anything, chances are that you’ve used the muffin method at least once in your life. The muffin method is used in more than 50% of baked goods recipes. As the name implies, it’s great for making muffins but it’s also used for any dense treats like quick breads and pancakes which use a lot of liquid and not much fat.
I say “Lesson learned” a lot. Just ask Cecilia. If I was a 90s live-action Disney Dad the writers would turn it into my catchphrase. Each episode would end on a freeze frame of me shrugging off my terrible absent parenting with a sigh and a ‘Lesson learned.’
In reality (or what counts as reality in 2020) it drives Cece crazy but I’m not going to stop. Dripping water will eventually wear through concrete and part of my job as a Dad is to keep planting seeds. Some will never take, some will wilt and die, but some will flourish. So I’ll keep saying it.
The other night the kids and I were watching a cooking show (an actual cooking show not the weird competition shows that the Food Network has devolved into – a rant for another day) and as the guy was chopping up vegetables for a stew and discarding large chunks, Cecilia said, ‘He should really try to use more of that for stock, or like compost, or whatever, leaf to stem, right Dad?’ I might have passed out.
A passing comment here. A lesson learned there. Wonderful things can eventually happen. Maybe they’ll even plug in the vacuum one day.
You pretty much had me at apple but add cider and donut? There was never any doubt I was going to make this recipe. Looking at the tantalizing accompanying photo, I could practically taste the dying leaves, flannel, and wood smoke. I’d likely make a few changes if I make it again but it more than lived up to the hype. Despite the sugar topping, it was not overly sweet and can be eaten throughout the day. As if I needed the excuse!
I promised the girls that I’d make an apple crisp this week. It’s likely I said it during a Sunday afternoon napping haze but I said it. Ally, you won’t be surprised to learn, loves the gooey fall dessert. But then the week got busy. She asked about it on Monday. Then Tuesday. Then Wednesday.
Parents tell their kids a lot of things. We tell them we love them, of course. That they can do anything. That they can tell us anything.
But we also tell them little things. That we’ll take them to the park. That they should pick up their clothes. Or finish their broccoli. Or that you’ll make an apple crisp this week.
It seems like an easy thing to say at the time, a small promise, but the small ones are just important as the big ones. If you conveniently forget a small promise, how can they trust your word when it really counts? The small ones build trust. As we inch closer to the teenage hinterlands, I think I’m going to need to stockpile all the trust I can.
So I made the apple crisp. And it was good. And this mean my kids will never miss curfew and stay out of reform school, right?