Let Them Eat Pizza!

One of my most important goals as a parent is to strengthen family unity.  Right now my kids are all very young – under the age of 5 – so with a little bit of effort on my part, this is a pretty simple task to accomplish. We spend all day together, we spend all night together, and nearly every activity we engage in – be it coloring, playing, cleaning – is a helpful exercise in communicating, conflict resolution, and cooperation.  

However, I am very aware that my children will not always be so young, so dependent, so attached to me and their siblings.  Every now and then I get glimpses into the world of media, music, and other social forces that our family will have to face as time passes, and my heart starts beating a little too fast just thinking about that leap from Mother Goose to Justin Bieber.  (Please tell me Justin Bieber will be gone by the time my kids are ready to move on from Elizabeth Mitchell and the nursery rhymes.  Lie to me if you have to.)

They will grow up.  I know this.  And so I take my task to strengthen family unity very seriously.  Even when they are fifteen and I am hopelessly uncool, I am still hoping they’ll want to hang out with me, at least sometimes.  In an effort to plant these family unity seeds early on, I initiated a new family tradition: Friday Pizza-Movie Night.

We have consistently held our Friday night pizza-movie ritual for nearly a year now and I have all three kids’ approval. In fact, the girls talk about it all week long – pizza toppings, movies to watch, what picnic blanket to use, whether or not kettle corn will be served.  It has fast become one of our favorite family activities. 

It works for several reasons.  First, it gets us all into the kitchen together.  Everybody helps cook, which is always fun for everyone, though I am certain a little dough and a little cheese go missing every single time.  It also helps to create a healthy balance of media viewing at home.  The kids don’t normally watch any other shows or movies during the week, but they know they get to pick a movie/show for Friday so television does not become a forbidden pleasure.  Most importantly, it is something that we consistently do all together.  
I don’t know if this is a ritual that will last through the years.   But I do know that even if this tradition doesn’t grow along with our family, it is something that they will remember forever.  Having a consistent family ritual helps us all to remember that these days are precious, even when we have to watch The Wizard of Oz four Fridays in a row. 
Now, gather the people you love and make some pizza! Here’s our favorite pizza crust recipe, passed down from my Grandfather, who was not only a wonderful cook, but who always let us kids lick the spoons and taste the dough.

Do you remember family rituals from your childhood?  What are some of your favorite family traditions?  I love it when you share your good ideas with me!

Parley’s Pizza Crust


2 tablespoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add sugar and olive oil to yeast mixture and let rest for five minutes. 
Stir in salt.  Then, slowly add flour until dough is formed – dough should be moist, but not sticky.

Place dough in greased bowl, turning once to grease surface.  Cover and let rise at least 20 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425 farenheit.  Stretch dough into baking sheet, or onto a baking stone.  Parbake 5 minutes, then add your favorite sauce and toppings.  Cook for an additional 15 minutes.  Enjoy! 

Servings: 1 large pizza

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