Tea with T. - FamilyEducation

Tea with T.

December 30,2008
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

I had really grand intentions of making a potato pizza yesterday. I never in a million years would have thought about the words potato and pizza in the same sentence, let alone recipe, but apparently I have been missing out on a true gastronomic pleasure. I discovered the recipe for the pizza when I discovered this site, which I have known about for some time now, but just haven't had the chance to sit down and take a look. A part of me knew that, with one click, I'd be lured into endless archives filled with delectable recipes and menu plans. With all the holiday baking going on, I just didn't want any more temptations thrown my way. But last night I spent about an hour clicking through archives, bookmarking recipe after recipe, and planning meals I may never have time to make.

The potato pizza didn't get made yesterday but it will get made today. I have two beautiful logs of pizza dough rising as I type, and I'm hoping that, come dinnertime, I'll have two warm, crust-doughy moons (or half moons--I can never get the dough quite circle-shaped) topped with salty potato rounds. I know the kids probably won't touch a potato pizza, but I'm fairly certain Scott and I will be able to polish off most of one--if not two, washed down with some cold white wine, of course. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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Yesterday, instead of making potato pizza dough, T. and I went to a girl's tea party at a real Old English Tea House. I love places like the tea house because not only do I truly appreciate a good pot of tea and a well-made scone topped with real Devonshire cream, but I love stepping into a time capsule of sorts and finding myself transported back to the days of white gloves, dressy hats, and Victorian furnishings. One of the moms at T.'s preschool orchestrated this outing and, while it was not reserved exclusively for girls, as it turned out none of the boys in T.'s class could come. With the exception of two of the moms in attendance, the rest of us were on our last preschool-aged child. We talked about elementary schools, and red-shirting (to do or not to do?), and magnet programs (worth it or not worth it?); we waxed nostalgic about the preschool years, each of us seeing ahead of us as we talked, like some certain but half-formed vision, a time when the wonderful pursuits of early childhood would be left behind.

At a table catty-corner to us, a mother and her teenage daughter sat in companionable silence, sipping tea. I imagined me in that mother's place, and teenage T. sitting opposite. I wondered if she would roll her eyes a little at the outing. Would she be bored with the dress-up hats, the fine china, the scones, the velvet curtains? Would I catch a glimpse of her in one of the many mirrors and wonder at the long-limbed, girl-woman in front of me?

When it was time to leave (imagine rounding up five giggly four-year-olds and escorting them out of a tea house filled with fine china), the mother and her daughter were already at the cash register, paying for their tea. As I helped T. on with her coat, I saw them head out the front door, arm in arm. The daughter leaned close for a second to listen to something her mother told her, and then the door swung open, and they laughed and walked out into the cold afternoon air.

And suddenly I just couldn't wait to meet my teenage T.

...Well, I could, but you know what I mean.