Sunday afternoon I asked my daughter about her Greek project for school. Out of the four options she had chosen Greek foods. She was to make a recipe book of 10 Greek foods and prepare one to share with the class. “O.K., how much have you done already?” “Well, Mom has a greek recipe book and I looked at some of the recipes.” “Good, where’s the book?” “At Mom’s.” “HELLO INTERNET.” So we go to my computer and logon. Nothing. I re-boot. Nothing. I reset the modem, the router, unplug and re-plug every cable, I let the dog out, change the batteries in the remote and stand on one foot while giving praise to Microsftus and Googlemes the Greek gods of the computing and the internet, respectively. NUUUUTHING!!!!! “Honey, When is this due?” “Wednesday.” “How long have you known about it?” “I think I found out about it last Tuesday” “Well, thank goodness you have already done all that work of looking at that Greek cookbook. Heck, you’re halfway finished. Go play while I try to work out these Internet issues.” I now call my Internet service provider who informs me that my modem is not working. Genius! I’m so glad he knew the problem. “So what can we do?” “I can have a tech out there Monday. Is morning or afternoon better?” “Morning, the earlier the better” “He will be there sometime between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm”. In my mind I am convinced he will be at my house on his way to work at 8:00. We can still do this. The project is not due until Wednesday. That gives us two days to pull it off.
Monday. Surprise, my son is sick and must stay home. I begin to juggle. By Noon there is no Internet guy, no call. I go through my whole re-booting, unplugging, yadda, yadda routine. Something worked (personally I think Microsftus and Googlemes took pity on me). Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I begin downloading Greek recipes like a mad man, a mad Greek man actually, which is very apropos since it seems to me that a lot of Greek restaurants are called “Mad Greek” Why is that? Why are they so mad? Anyway I want to have a large supply of recipes for my daughter to choose from so if by some reason the information super highway is unavailable when she is. Monday afternoon, she sorts through the recipes and finds 10 she likes. Then she says, “I need pictures”. “Pictures?….great.” Back to the computer. We have connectivity. We search and find pictures for everything but Souloudiko. No problem it has orzo and tomatoes. We find something that might sort of look like Souloudiko. My daughter starts editing her book. All is well in the world.
She gets five recipes prepared and it’s bedtime. We discuss finishing tomorrow. She chooses Pita as the dish she would like to prepare and serve. We have all the ingredients except “Bread” flour and Yeast. I plan to buy those at the store while she is a school Tuesday.
Tuesday, My son feels better so he returns to school. I have an 8:00 meeting three deadlines and a meeting with a teacher. No time for the grocery run. After school my son has to catch up on home and schoolwork from 2 days. I set my daughter up on the computer, explain to her that we are up against a hard deadline and that she needs to get right to work, I go to help my son with his work. 4:10. My son’s work is finished, he goes out to play, I go check on the Greek cookbook. I am so happy to see my daughter has heeded my warning about getting right to work and spent the last hour choosing just the right animated “Office assistant” to help he in Word. Apparently the “Genius” guy is more apropos than the paperclip for a Greek cookbook. Now that that is settled we can get down to the business of editing the last five pages, creating the cover and the author page. 5:00. We have to leave for my son’s basketball game. Here’s where things get tricky. When you are a single parent and one child has to be somewhere, everybody goes. There is no, “Honey I will stay and help this one with this while you take that one to that.” 6:00. Game is over we need dinner and a grocery store run. Now I don’t know if you have much experience with buying flour, mine is…was limited. The recipe calls for “bread” flour. We stand looking at rows and rows of flour. There is; all-purpose, whole-wheat, instant, cake, self-rising, Durum, Semolina, enriched, bleached, unbleached… where for the love of Googlemes is BREAD flour…? Apparently all I had to do was invoke the name of Googlemes and then, just as I am about to give up and utter the words, “They’re all the same”, the clouds part and a golden ray of sunshine breaks through and shines directly on…Bread flour!!!! The only drawback is you can only buy stinking bread flour in the 50-pound sack. “Where for the love of Googlemes is a smaller bag of bread flour?”… Nothing. (I’m hoping we like this pita bread).
Now all we need is yeast. O.K. I don’t know from yeast and I did not write down the specific type of yeast (instant, inactive, active, fast rising…who kew?) I make an executive decision. Fast rising it, after all we are in a hurry. One more grocery stop. We buy a package of pita bread (back up). Now Subway and then home. We still have a few hours before bedtime. We can do this.
O.K. I don’t know if they were out of bread and we had to wait for them to bake more or what but our Subway stop was slowly whittling away at our few remaining hours. After the sandwiches came we ordered drinks but apparently we had to wait for them to make more ice, and they had to look up the recipe so we voted just to get drinks at home.
8:00. My daughter has finished everything but the author page. “Dad, I need sources for the recipes.” “Perfect.” We spend 30 minutes trying to re-trace where we found the recipes. At this point I am thinking more and more about just using the “back-up” store-bought pita. I don’t know if it’s the call of the challenge, the lack of sleep or just that I love my daughter but no. We WILL make the pita. O.K. I will make the pita. She will go to sleep. Here’s the thing. The recipe calls for kneading the pita dough for 10 minutes and then letting it rise for 2 hours before you knead it again. After getting the children to bed, printing out and binding the book its 11:00 before I get back to the pita. I finish kneading, flouring and rolling and get the first batch in the oven. They come out looking like slightly browned hockey pucks. 35 slightly browned hockey pucks later, on my last bit of pita dough, I manage to achieve just the right kneading, rolling and baking combination to create the perfect pita. It’s 2:00 am. Now that I know how to make the perfect pita, should I start all over so that my daughter may serve everyone perfect pitas? 6:00 am. I explain to my daughter what happened. I point out the one perfect pita. I look her straight in the eye and with as much sincerity and tenderness as I can muster I tell her, “Make sure your teacher gets that one.” If nothing else this experience taught me two things. 1. Why that Greek restaurant guy is mad and 2. I guess my Internet service provider never really said WHICH Monday they would be out between 8 and 1 to fix my Internet connection.