Photo courtesy of Dynamite Imagery, freedigitalphotos.net
This is my plea to you to forgive all of us, every single one of us, who ever came into your home once per year and demanded that you give us over 14 solid hours of fun.
Oh, come on, you know what I’m referencing. They have to be the reason anxiety pills were invented. I’m talking about those good ol’ slumber parties you hosted, year after year after year.
At the height of those slumber party years, I do believe you hosted approximately eight of us, give or take a girl who didn’t spend the night because of having her tonsils removed . . . and who proceeded to scream at the top of her lungs when she couldn’t go skating with us. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Seven is a large number of cats to have, much less little girls who gab and gab about cute boys and unfair teachers.
Each year, I requested my constants—pizza and ice cream for dinner and pancakes in the morning. Each year, you delivered.
I ask, though, how could you do what you did? I’ve wondered:
a) how you managed to stretch a dollar to put my favorite foods on the table for all of us girls—don’t remember you ever slapping down a credit card for any of our purchases
b) how you tolerated a bunch of 13-year-old girls who stayed up half the night to literally scream about who had the better set of friends (sorry for waking you up; had the Michelle-Ignorantly-Throws-A-Pillow-At-Your-Sleeping-Face Wake-Up Incident of 1991 happened prior, I’d’ve known better.)
c) how you had the patience to keep going even after the party. Having pictures developed in those days required at least two trips to the store in hopes that one grainy picture might preserve the event.
I don’t know if you were having fun, too, at those parties. After sitting through the commotion of each year, agreeing to host them must’ve held something. Oddly, I’ve pondered your rationale approximately once per year since those days. Allowing us to fill balloons with shaving cream just so we could smash them with our butts made for an awesome clean-up task. You surely knew we’d half-ass help. Serving us each a mound of pancakes made for a grueling morning of grunt work. The thing about pancakes, too, is that your plate was ready when everyone else had long left the table to pore over Tiger Beat pics.
How you tolerated us is still elusive, but why you did so is becoming clearer with each equinox. Even if we didn’t mesh the whole time, my friends and I meshed most of the time. We turned cartwheels, told jokes, played games, and shared spoons of ice cream and cups of Coke. We skated and sang and danced. We made memories.
I still vividly recall me and five of my friends chomping on pizza one birthday, crammed around the worn kitchen table. One friend, Heather, had brown hair and two fingers that were connected at birth. At school, her self-consciousness constantly prompted her to cover her hands under the backs of her thighs. At the party, however, I remember her joking and laughing about typical girl things–no relation to her fingers—and joining in on activities full force. To us, she was Heather, classmate and pal, not “Heather with the two fingers stuck together.” I hope I’m remembering correctly when I say this. Kids can be nosey as hell and often say things that are inadvertently cruel. She likely does not remember that party, but I hope to hell she had a good time. That’s what slumber parties are supposed to be about—so much fun that the things that make us self-conscious elsewhere are irrelevant. That’s what friends are supposed to be about*.
I can still viscerally feel the pang that always came in those final moments before the last parent came. I knew my friend was about to leave; I was just not sure when. Then there were more pangs when her mom arrived, when she tossed her sleeping bag into the car’s trunk and when both of them hugged us, said “Thanks,” and drove away.
While I technically can figure out how you physically did it, I still don’t know how you mentally did it. Now that I have a daughter of my own, though, I know exactly why you did it. When Baby O wants that slumber party, she’ll likely get it. I’ll stress out about whether my floor is dirt-free and over plan activities just enough to start a revolt. Or, I’ll do my best to model you. I’ll buy what I can with what I have and just let the girls work things out on their own, with occasional interventions. Like you, I will value a semi-restful night of sleep. My bubbly-ness while cooking the damn pancakes will be directly proportional to the number of hours of sleep I can get, girls.
I just have one caveat** for Baby O, a baby born in the 21st century and one who will be soaked with celebrity influence even on Sesame Street: no couture slumber parties. You didn’t host couture parties for me, and all of my memories, kerfuffles and all, are just perfect.
*Yes, I ended in a preposition.
**Other caveats, like good grades and limited sass, are implied.
I’ve attached this recipe because it’s perfect to make for a party or just a fun thing to make with the kids at home. The 12 pinwheels it makes are plenty to feed 4-6 people, depending on how big your eaters are. Pair it with a nice, green salad and a beer for those 21+ and milk for those 20-, and you have a nice, little dinner that is fun to eat.
Makes 12 Pinwheels
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Prep time: approx 40 minutes (15 minutes of pinwheels “resting” included)
Baking time: 30 minutes
*This is a recipe that requires your dough to be at room temperature and that includes other “resting” and baking times. Please read the directions to help you manage your time wisely.
- ¼ cup to ½ cup of flour, for flouring surface
- One pound of prepared pizza dough, wheat or white
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil or small bunch of finely chopped fresh basil
- Dash of salt and pepper
- 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic or 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
- 2.5 cups of shredded cheese (can be three-cheese blend, mozzarella, cheddar or blend of the latter two)
- 1 package sliced pepperoni
- 1 can pizza sauce or any spaghetti sauce
LET’S DO THIS!!
Photo courtesy of M. Byrd - Buy the prepared dough
1. Allow your prepared dough to sit until it reaches room temperature. *Even if it nears room temperature after 30 minutes, you can use it. It will likely have slightly less malleability, however. I’ve done it and don’t have any complaints.
2. Cover a cookie sheet in aluminum foil and grease the foil.
3. Cover a large, flat surface in a light coating of flour. Make sure you have enough room to roll out your dough into a square/rectangular shape.
Photo courtesy of M. Byrd - Flour the surface.Photo courtesy of M. Byrd - Rolling out the doughPhoto courtesy of M. Byrd - Rolling out the dough
4. Cover your ball of dough in a light coat of flour. Using a rolling pin (or a tall glass if you’re desperate), roll out your dough until you acheive a square or rectangular shape. Roll your dough out until it is fairly thin because it will be easier to roll into a log.
Photo courtesy of M. Byrd - Rolling out the dough
5. In a small bowl, combine your olive oil, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Stir.
6. Brush your olive oil mixture all over your dough.
7. Sprinkle your garlic all over your dough.
8. Cover dough from side to side in cheese and layer on as many pepperonis as you see fit. **Don’t be afraid to be liberal with your pepperonis, but getting absolutely crazy may make your rolling a big pain later.
Photo courtesy of M. Byrd - Cover in cheese and pepperoni from side to side
9. Starting at a shorter end (assuming rectangular) or any (assuming square), tightly roll your dough towards the opposite end. ***Mine is always fairly tight but not insanely tight. You don’t want to break the dough. You do need to be firm here because if you roll too loosely, your slices will fall apart.
Photo courtesy of M. Byrd - The dough, rolled
10. Once you have rolled your dough into the shape of a log, begin cutting the dough at an angle. IMPORTANT: Use a serrated knife. Cut at an angle right in the middle. Then, proceed to cut each half in half and so on, until you have cut 12 slices.
11. Place your pinwheels on your greased cookie sheet.
12. You will now let your pinwheels sit for approximately 20 minutes. While they are “resting,” preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Photo courtesy of M. Byrd - Resting Pinwheels
13. Rest for a second. You deserve it.
14. After 20 minutes of having the pinwheels “rest,” place them in the oven for 20 minutes of cooking.
15. Prepare your egg wash by mixing eggs and water. **This egg wash will help your final pinwheels to come out nice and shiny. If you are out eggs, this is not a necessary step, but it definitely will make your pinwheels look more appealing.
16. After 20 minutes, remove your pinwheels and brush each one with egg wash.
17. Return to over for approximately 10 more minutes. ***Since ovens vary, keep an eye on your pinwheels.
18. At the end of 10 minutes, your pinwheels should be done. Serve them up and enjoy.
19. For dipping sauce, I use the brand and flavor of spaghetti sauce that I prefer. Happy cooking! Happy eating!
Photo courtesy of M. Byrd - serve with dipping sauce and an ice cold beer (or milk)
Voila! Happy cooking! Happy eating!