As loyal readers know, I hate anything crafty or creative. Glue guns and glitter send me under the table, rocking in the fetal position. The words "origami," "decopage," and especially "scrapbook" cause me to break into hives and mutter like a eighty-year old on his front stoop.
This is why God gave me boys that enjoy sleeping with lumber and eating their toe lint.
Yet, in a cruel twist of fate, we have been inside a lot. Yes, we frolic in the leaves until we can't a-frolic no more, but that still leaves us with about nine hours of time to fill. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
This brilliant idea came to me as I was buying yet another gallon of milk (which, incidentally, is almost empty. I bought it yesterday.) We had flour! We had yeast! We had kosher salt! We should make soft pretzels!
*It's science!: Yeast rising and all that...
*It's art!: Owen could make shapes and letters out of the dough!
*It's pre-writing and fine motor skills!: see above
*It's math!: He has to count things and stuff...
*It's history: I could tell Owen the great history of soft pretzels and mall food courts...
*It's Spanish!: I could say "Mix-o the dough-o" to make this a bilingual experience. As I write these words, I can hear my aunt, a lifelong Spanish educator, weeping.
*It's family togetherness: Nothing brings a family together more than a mother screeching: "Do NOT toss flour onto the walls! Do NOT pour Mommy's tea into the batter! Owen, please stop licking the countertop!"
Good times. The above illustrates my personal no-homeschooling philosophy: Not. For. Me. In between my lack of knowledge, my lack of creativity, and my lack of patience, the whole experience can be summed up in one word: GAH! (With apologies to MamaEdge, who described her views on homeschooling much more humorously here.)
We made the dough and Owen helped knead it. So far so good.
Then, it got complicated. I attempted to make a pretzel shape, following the instructions in the cookbook.
Owen decided that the ol' blob of dough method worked for him:
Paul tried it once, and mastered it immediately. Bastard.
"It's really not that hard, Nance."
I decided to try snails instead.
Then, we cooked them at high temperature, and then boiled them. Fan-cy.
Note our fancy pot. My mother bought this pot for me at Savers when I was outfitting my first college kitchen.
We added egg wash and kosher salt and cooked them some more.
The verdict? Oh Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay! We wallowed in our pretzel goodness.
Paul just had to say it: "Aren't they supposed to be brown?"
I replied, "I probably could have cooked them five more minutes but I didn't want to wait."
Paul smiled, rolled his eyes, and said, "After the whole involved process, you didn't want to wait five more minutes?"
"No," I replied. I wanted them right away.
"No patience," he said, knowing me as he does.
(Just because I have been known to eat cold leftovers instead of taking the extra TWO MINUTES required to pop it in the microwave doesn't mean I lack patience. It simply means I'm a busy person, with no time to waste on nonsense. Or something like that.)
Besides, anybody who makes hot, soft pretzels with a coughing 3 1/2 year old is plenty patient. Just ask me. But please do it in the next two minutes. I can't wait all day.
Speaking of asking, I invite you to ask me any question, silly or serious for possible fodder for future blog entries. Ask away!