It’s been a week and I’m still thinking about the paradox of struggle. As parents we know there is no growth without struggle. And yet…
It’s logical and illogical at the same time. It’s the Chinese finger trap of parenting. No parent would ever wish pain on their children. Not if they could prevent it.
And yet… we know that suffering in life is inevitable, and in many cases, more beneficial than helping them avoid it in developing successful, well-adjusted kids.
I think how parents ultimately navigate and resolve this paradox defines their success or failure. Do I help her spell that word? Do I chase down the bus with her forgotten trombone mouthpiece? Do I make them pick up all the spilled glitter with their teeth or just some of it?
What struggles do we save them from? What struggles do we encourage them to fight through?
I need to keep them safe but not sheltered. Teach, but not help them dodge failure. This parenting gig is not easy. Neither is getting through January without wine and cheese.
Being your own family’s best friend is reinforcing the centuries old wisdom in the Stoic quote ‘moderation in all things.’ The best of intentions can turn sour when the volume is turned up too high. Even love, generosity, and affection. We are trying our best to give both kids the space they need to continue to grow. This might mean (often) biting our tongue over their study habits. Or missing an assignment. Or misinterpreting the answer Alexa is clearly feeding them.
It’s one of parenting’s more difficult tasks to willingly let your kids struggle especially if you have the answer or experience to correct them. Always giving them everything in the moment is a recipe for a long term disaster.
Always make sure they know you love them, of course, but no need to be in their hip pocket all the time. You don’t need to learn the facts about ancient Sumeria with them. They know you care about them.
Care about he kids, not the ancient city of Ur. They had their own family problems.
We’ve been lucky, in one sense, during this pandemic that both Michelle and I like to cook, but we hit a wall this week. Through convenience or curiosity, we gave up and just threw everything in the borrowed air fryer. It became a challenge by the end of the week.
Here’s the list of things we loaded up and answered the question: “Will it air fry?”
Chickpeas (perfect and crunchy), pickles (eh), grilled cheese (yup), apple fritters (so good), salmon and broccoli together (yes, excellent sheet pan-style dinner), arancinis (italian riceball croquettes – pretty good), chicken nuggets (duh), tofu (not bad), fries (of course), sweet potatoes (double cooked worked best), s’mores (surprisingly good), tots (made for this), burritos, Brussel sprouts, chicken tenders, and cod.
You do what you got to do to get through 2020.
We are getting close to the first hard frost (we had a few mild frosts the past week) here in the Northeast and that will mostly put an end to my home garden. While the basil is mostly past peak, I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping it trimmed. It hasn’t all gone to flowers and there are still plenty of leaves that will need to be cut and used.
One great way to use up a lot of excess basil? Make pesto. Sure, you can use it for pasta but did you know both red and green pesto sauces also work great on pizza?
For the love of god stop buying overpriced pizza sauce at the grocery store. Especially this time of year where local tomatoes are abundant. There’s no need to over complicate your pizza.
Pizza should cook quickly, whether it’s on a pan, stone or grill. There’s no time or reason to let a complicate sauce cook and simmer on your dough. Trust me, your local pizza shop isn’t doing this. There is an easier way!
It’s actually not that hard to make good pizza at home. It takes a little time, a little patience, and a little practice. But how do you make great pizza? That takes more practice and experience plus good quality ingredients. No matter what type of pizza is your favorite, all great pizza starts at the bottom with the crust.
I’m going to assume you’re already doing the basics like starting with good ingredients and measuring by weight, not volume. Here are three often overlooked details that can take your pizza crust from merely good to great.
If my text messages or website traffic are any indication, people are rediscovering, or at least trying, the joys (and some frustrations!) of baking homemade bread and pizza during the quarantine. Nothing could make me happier. I’m filling up my freezer with lots of anxiety baking. It might not help my waistline but it is helping my mental health during these strange times.
As a veteran home baker, here are my favorite links and resources to help you succeed in making your own homebaked bread or pizza.