There need only be the mere mention of a get together or activity, and the very first words blurted out of my mouth are, “What can I bring?” It’s beyond a habit at this point, I fear, for recently I have been faced with the rather challenging situation of not really having much to physically contribute beyond my ability to create things in the kitchen .
This is, of course, rather perplexing for me. As someone who has remodeled a kitchen or two, landscaped her own yard, and once tiled a bathroom floor while six months pregnant, the recent realization that I can no longer lift heavy things or reliably handle a shovel has proven to be somewhat sobering.
Of course, it should be pointed out that, technically, I should have stopped lifting heavy things and swinging construction implements long before I made the decision to actually stop doing so, but sometimes it takes me a while to learn. Maybe not learn, but, you know, listen to my body. The short version of this story proceeds as such: Ten years ago I was hit by a truck while riding my bike. I lived to tell the tale, but my back and neck have never been the same. It took me a while to admit it, but it has finally come to pass that me and physical labor? We’re no longer friends. Sure, I still want to lift heavy rocks to build a retaining wall, but I also want to be able to stand upright without crying, so those rocks are just going to have to be moved by someone else.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s a predicament that I find I can overlook somewhat if I just make every effort to contribute in a different way. You need someone to demo your kitchen? How about I bring over some snacks and share them with whomever you get to do that with you? Need to dig up some bushes and move them? I will make you lemonade. Over the summer, determined to help my son’s school beautify their new play area without simultaneously crippling my body, I made a similar offering. You need help moving those wood chips? Here come the snacks!
The good thing is, as much as people appreciate help with laborious physical tasks, there is hardly a project that does not have room for snacks. A simple flatbread sprinkled with seeds and a bit of dried onion and garlic will go a long way on a hot afternoon. Offering a light bite with a familiar taste (in homage to everyone’s favorite standby: the everything bagel) is a good way to pep up spirits that have grown weary with work. Pair it with some mango lemonade and you might feel just as welcome as someone arriving with a bit more muscle and a lot less neck pain.
Good news! This flatbread is made from the exact same dough that I use to make pizza. This means that you can make a batch of flatbread, then have enough dough leftover to pop in the fridge and save for making pizzas another day.
1/3 of a batch of this pizza dough
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
dried onion flakes
Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle a very small amount of flour onto the paper. Place the dough onto the parchment paper, then, using your hands, gently stretch the dough across the entire surface of the baking sheet, coaxing the dough as you go and making certain not to tear it.
When the dough has been sufficiently stretched, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the dough and, using a spoon or a brush, coat the top of the dough. If you find that 1 tablespoon of oil is not enough to cover the dough, add the remaining tablespoon. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the seeds, onion, garlic, and salt.
Bake the dough on the lowered oven rack for 10-15 minutes, until the edges have browned and the top is bubbled and golden in spots. Serve warm or at room temperature.