This afternoon as I cut onions, peppers and mushrooms for the calzones we were making for dinner, E made the tomato sauce. She stood in front of the stove in her nice skirt, blouse, tights and slippers and opened the spice cupboard. Stared into it for a few minutes and said, "We have Italian seasoning, don't we?" "Nope," I said. So she stared a little longer, pulled out a few more spices, added some nice cabernet at just the right moment, and made a nice marinara sauce for the calzones Beve rolled out and we put together. Calzones are a group effort. They have to be. They're labor and time intensive and our oven's too small to cook more than two at a time. So it's a commitment we all have to..well, commit to, if you know know what I mean.
And we each have our way of doing things. Beve's all about the dough. Anything with yeast, he's your man. Me? Well, I like to eat things made from yeast. That's about as close as I get to it. But I've perfected tomato sauces over the years. Asked a whole lot of questions of folks who cook better than I do. Paid a lot of attention to things I read. And I like to experiment. Like adding this spice and that. It's more of an art than a science, the way I cook. Baking, on the other hand, like what Beve does and what my sister, the Dump does and my niece and my aunt, seem more like a science. More precise. One must make a cake the same way every time. And trust me when I tell you that the apple crisp I tried to 'wing' today could have used a little more science, not to mention a whole lot more oatmeal.
The calzones turned out beautifully because each of the three of us contributed in ways that work for us. For example, Beve set the timer, which is always helpful. I can't tell you the number of times I've forgotten that critical step in a baking process. It's a wonder I've ever managed to make anything. My grandmother would be turning over in her grave, if she had one, to think I'm such a loser when it comes to the culinary arts she tried to teach me when I was young (always with a recipe in her spidery handwriting right in front of me). But I just don't have the patience for all that precision, I think. It's too much math, maybe.
However, you come to our house, and we'll fix calzones for you. It's one of our company meals. An all-hands-on-deck company meal that is worth it. Worth the time and effort. The doing it together. The kitchen is a disaster area afterwards, with counters and dishes and every surface dirty, but it's worth it. The taste of it, ah yes, the taste of it. Maybe not the best thing I ever ate, but close enough. And I think that's because we all contribute. We have to. So come on over, we might put you to work, but you'll get to sit at our table and join in the feast as well.
PS. J, we kept one for you.