They say the family that prays together stays together. I say the family that cooks together needs prayers when supper comes via a meal delivery service.
Last year, we bought into a handy dandy meal delivery program and had three meals dropped at our door weekly. Initially we loved it. We didn’t have to run to the store and there were no leftovers, but soon the “have-to” of fixing a particular dish grew tiresome. Occasionally, meals piled up in the frig, a big waste of money.
So many of the delivered meals demanded searing on our stovetop — splatter city. Cleanup is a drag after you’ve had to decipher a recipe. We were always dicing, slicing, or chopping something.
We canceled the program and went back to turkey chili, grilled chicken breasts and salads. These personal staples are easy to fix, and there’s less cleanup.
We were happy for the reprieve from meal delivery until we received a meal from a new service in St. Louis, a gift for Mother’s Day.
The menu included a bread salad and a speck and goat cheese pizza. Sounds yummy, don’t you think? And it was, but the prep was perilous. I started early in the day so all I’d have to do was put the salad together later. That was the easy part, and the result was amazing.
But the pizza, though tasty, was traumatic — flour a board, set the pizza dough out 20 minutes to come to room temp, remove it carefully from its plastic wrap, handle it gently and roll it out from center to the edges, on and on it went, while I got more and more nervous, afraid I was going to mess up. Fortunately, Spark arrived from St. Louis with three bottles of my favorite wine, and two glasses made me less anxious about the outcome of our meal.
The directions suggested using a pizza stone, which we didn’t have. I was fortunate to catch Spark coming back from St. Louis — he picked one up, we popped it into a 500-degree oven, and I started rolling out the dough on a floured cutting board.
Spark added the toppings with minúte precision, the first being tomato sauce in a jar with a lid I’d already loosened, making it pop off in Spark’s hands, a sizable glob of sauce nose diving onto the rug. The goat cheese and speck went on effortlessly, and we were ready to transfer the dough from the cutting board, onto the scorching stone.
We took the stone out of the oven, and our problems heated up. Spark swore the dough would just scoot off the cutting board with ease. While he argued with me about this, I got impatient and quickly rolled the dough like a jellyroll, transferring it onto the stone, the ingredients now all mushed together and looking the color of pond scum.
I didn’t hold out hope that the pizza would cook evenly or be crunchy on the bottom, but it was — in fact, the pizza was delicious and didn’t look too bad either. The pizza might have been pretty but we destroyed the kitchen, there was flour everywhere and a sink full of dishes to wash, a fried chicken dinner wouldn’t have made half the mess.
Add to that the conundrum with the pizza stone, which is large, heavy and cumbersome to store; I didn’t think I’d ever use it again, until I talked to our daughter Becky, who loves to cook. Rather than using a pizza peel, (another tool the recipe suggested) she rolls her dough out on parchment paper and then slides the whole caboodle onto the stone. Works like a charm, she says.
Once the memory of our meal delivery mess flits from our gray matter we might try pizza perfection with parchment paper. Until then, we’re sticking with turkey chili, a dump-it-in-the-pot recipe any nitwit can follow with minimal cleanup.