The Amish Cook: Pizza is a treat for the family

BY GLORIA YODER

The Amish Cook

Elijah, our little boy who was a baby but yesterday, was getting ready to celebrate his third birthday. In his 2-year-old mind, it didn’t make any sense why the rest of us were all celebrating our birthdays during the summer and fall, and his turn simply would not come. Then at long last, his birthday was close enough to almost touch. He only had three more nights to sleep (as he counted his days) until his big day.

Making plans with him would likely end up having been my favorite part of all. His big smile as we discussed menu ideas, cake themes, and birthday candles was a winner to a mother’s heart. After each question that I tossed out, he responded with, “Ummm…” before giving an actual answer.

One thing was sure, he wanted a farm theme like Jesse did for his third birthday, which was only about four short months ago. I suggested that we make his cake in the shape of a barn, rather than using icing to draw it. His enthusiastic response left no doubt in guessing what his pick will be.

Balloons and streamers are always a big part of the party. There have been times we kept the decorations a surprise from the one with a birthday, but most times they choose to help decorate, making it personal for their tastes. Julia loves decorating, so she is always my right-hand helper or sometimes even takes the lead with it.

After discussing various menu options with Elijah, he chose pizza, ketchup, (which in his opinion goes with anything), salad, cake, and cones with homemade ice cream. We have a two-quart ice cream freezer, the perfect size for our big little family.

Elijah is my little kitchen boy, so he will undoubtedly be involved in measuring, dumping, and stirring throughout the process. He has the patience it takes to do a tedious job and do it right.

Pizza is a treat for all of us. However, I admit I don’t take the time to make it as often as I did back when it was only Daniel and I dining at the table and only the two of us to take care of during that last busy hour of getting supper on the table.

I remember so well the day I told Daniel that since he likes pizza so well, I’ll aim to make a pizza of some sort every Friday night. Oh my, those times are long gone, but you know, the memories are not! And never, ever would I trade a single one of my children for more extravagant meals, or even more low keyed ones that would make it easier for me to listen to what my husband has to say about his day. Ya, our meals tend to get a bit hectic at times with getting plates filled for everyone and coaxing them into finishing their peas before cashing in on dessert, or remind them that helping yourself to the last serving of mashed potatoes doesn’t promote good manners.

Gulp. Where have I been with training? Then, chuckling, I realize that as one child has mastered the art of polite table manners, there is another one on their heels, ready to have their turn fine-tuning things. At any rate, we learn as we go. I have found that it helps dramatically to have all the children’s plates filled before having them sit at the table and giving thanks.

Daddy tried something new yesterday when he told our 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds that he will give them each a penny for each meal that they remembered to sit properly during the entire meal, not sliding off the bench without permission to wash hands, check on the birds at the feeder, or even retrieve a dropped spoon. So far, the results have been amazing.

Gathering around the table three times a day as a family has been a blessing beyond words. Surely we are blessed, spilled water glasses and all!

I’d like to share my latest pizza crust recipe with you that I planned to use for Elijah’s birthday supper. I used to prefer yeast crusts, but now I’ve actually come to like this one better. Perhaps taste buds do change with age or maturity?! It is a very user-friendly recipe for busy moms since it goes together more easily than the yeast recipe since it does not require extra kneading.

Perfect Pizza Crust

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Mix together dry ingredients, cut in butter and milk. Press into a 11 by 15 inch bar pan or 15 inch pizza pan. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or til slightly set. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake additional time until your pizza is done to your preference.