Last Sunday morning, I was enjoying coffee and pancakes with my family over an episode of “Goldie and Bear.” Usually I’m half tuned in to my daughter’s cartoons, but one of the scenes in this episode caught my eye. “Goldie’s Do-Over Day,” a story about a spell “that lets you do things over. lt comes in handy when you make a mistake.”
I flashed to several years ago, one Friday night, when I attempted to make homemade pizza for my friends. I’ll never forget my roommate Amber and our friend Josh, who kindly ate the toppings off of raw, burnt pizza dough, to spare my feelings. Thinking about that night, I started to have memories of about a million other baking mishaps. Like Goldie, I would have used “do-over” potion again and again, if I had it.
But as the episode continued, the spell began to backfire. Goldie became increasingly more obsessed with being perfect. Re-doing everything just led to different mistakes, even worse than the original. And ironically, the more attempts at being flawless, the more flaws.
When I think back to my pizza gone wrong, I don’t feel any disappointment. I only remember laughing with my friends. Amber and Josh’s willingness to endure indigestion sealed our bond for life. It also set me on a mission to find an alternative. The result of my research: an easy and creative twist on homemade pizza….An Heirloom Tomato Tart.
This recipe is one of my favorites because it allows some wiggle room, a little margin for error. The measurements and the ingredients don’t have to be exact and the tomatoes can be mixed and matched. Any grated cheese will do. I’ve never made it exactly the same way, mostly because I measured something wrong, or ran out of this or that. But, flaws and all, I’ve never needed a “do-over.”
When my friend Nicole told me she would be in town with her family, I knew this Tart was the exact dish that I wanted to make for them. And just as I had hoped, our kids couldn’t resist joining in on the process. A little too much flour, an extra scoop of mustard, and a few uneven handfuls of cheese later, the tart was still…perfect, my favorite version yet.
So, maybe it’s a good thing that we don’t have access to a “do-over” potion the moment we stumble. So often, the mis-steps are what force courage and creativity that we never knew we had. And sometimes those little blunders guide us toward an unplanned evening of laughter. To my friends Amber and Josh, it’s been 10 years since pizza night at the Irene Apartments. Since then, we’ve all come a long way. As for dinner, I think it’s officially time for a “do-over!“
Inspired by Anna’s Tomato Tart, recipe by Ina Garten