When Shit Happens, Make Pita Bread!

*Sigh*.  OK.  Yesterday started out with great intentions.  Our plan was to take a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  We were going to take Bonaparte’s granddaughter.  I was looking forward to this visit because his granddaughter is a good kid—she’s mature for her seven years and is the type of child that loves a good museum trip.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art. You know when I use the word “intentions” that something popped up!

And so, on Friday, I prepared the dinner makings to give me plenty of time to enjoy our trip without having to worry about time management.

I need to cover a couple of things first.

Our dinner conversation on Friday night almost had me starting a food fight with Louis XIV   my Gallic husband.

This guy. Louis Quatorze aka The Sun King.  For some bizarre reason, all Frenchmen think they are modern-day versions of him.

While discussing this upcoming museum trip, he was getting his French Superiority on as though I had as much “culture” as a stick of butter!

You butter believe I was not a happy camper to be reduced to the cultural equivalent of this.  Wait–the French revere butter……

He proceeded to explain to me how going to a museum of art with a child was far different than going with an adult.

fa de fou fou!  I know art!!!

Excuse me?  Excuse me?? Excusez-moi?????

I had to explain to Monsieur Parisian that, as a Manhattanite, I held a family membership to The Museum of Natural History, The Bronx Zoo and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I reminded him that I oftentimes took my three children to these places on a regular basis.

But I didn’t stop there.  I reminded him that I was constantly visiting the Met as well as other places of culture since I was a child—thanks to my Aunt Terry!

I also reminded him that I fell in love with French film while living on the Upper West Side and that many of my weekends were spent at the Thalia theatre watching as many French movies I could!

Antoine Doinel became my delusional buddy!

Yes, Jean-Pierre Leaud–but you played Doinel.  I watch the 400 Blows often because it’s one of the best films of all time! 

Perhaps Bonaparte’s entire family thought I was an uncultured freak since he told me that they were quite impressed that I even knew who Gustave Courbet was—let alone that he is my favorite artist of all time!!

Gustave Courbet was my kinda guy!  I won’t print my favorite painting, L’Orgine du Monde–The Origin of the World, in fear it might offend some. And the reason I love the painting so much is that it IS the origin of the world. My man Gustave doesn’t mince words! Nor does he mince strokes of paint!

But by dinner’s end, and many glasses of wine, we resolved our cultural differences!

Oui.  Pepe Le Pew and I resolved whatever cultural differences we had!

The other thing.

When going into Philadelphia to visit a museum or to attend an event, I need to get there early.  My love of attending places early goes back to childhood with my mother’s obsession of arriving at the beach by 8 in the morning.  She wanted her sunny beach space and needed plenty of it to rotate her body in the sun like a rotisserie chicken.

For me, it’s more like I cannot deal with traffic. Especially on Philly’s Schuylkill’s Expressway. It is not an expressway. It is in my top three of roads I hate traveling on.  The other two are the Cross-Bronx Expressway and the Belt Parkway.

Yeah? Well when it comes to traffic, I am very mad!

Add to this, when I do go to a museum—especially on the weekend, I need to get there early before all the pretentious “experts” arrive. You know what type  I’m talking about—the ones who TALK LOUDLY ABOUT THE STRUCTURE AND ESSENCE OF THE PAINTING ALONG WITH THE ARTIST’S LIFE.  Like that guy in the movie Midnight in Paris. Remember him?  I need to leave the museum before all the “Paul’s and Paula’s” arrive.

This scene from “Midnight in Paris” made me cringe because I ALWAYS end up standing near pretentious “art lovers” like Paul.  And arguing with my friend Carla Bruni–how dare you?  And PS–Rodin treated Camille Claudel like merde!

And I just don’t like the crowds.  When I’m in a museum, I like to arrive at a time when all the paintings belong to me. And I can stand there and enjoy the visual beauty of each piece of art.  I don’t want to think—I just want to have happiness brought to me.

Looking forward to this day of cultural fun—and looking even more forward to watching the engagement between Bonaparte and his granddaughter was going to be very entertaining. I got ready nice and early.

I decided to use the Wet n’ Wild products I purchased the day before.  Just my luck it took me all of 13 minutes just to open the two eyeshadows that cost .99 each.  I swear more money was spent in securing the shadows than the ingredients used to create the shadows!

Each of these shadows cost ninety-nine cents.  It took me one pair of tweezers, one scissor and a lot of elbow grease to open them.  And almost 15 minutes of my time!

After a great deal of cursing and Bonaparte begging me to lower the pitch of my voice, I was ready to use the Photofocus foundation.  The top came apart.  Is it me?

I kid you not.  THIS is what happened when I tried to open the bottle of foundation.  IS it ME???  Luckily I was able to fix it!

The foundation comes equipped with a built-in spatula for application. Oh kayyyyy….

Anyway, after I fixed the top of the bottle, I applied the foundation.  It’s not full-coverage, but it ain’t bad for the six bucks I paid.

I could have gone a shade darker–but it blended in well.  Tip–if you get this, blend with a brush instead of a blending sponge. The brush does a better job.

Next was the concealer that I searched high and low for.   For some reason, I was expecting something with a more liquid texture. It was kind of pasty and a bit on the thicker side and it didn’t seem as though there was an awful lot in the tube.  But when I applied, it spread out evenly and nicely and did not cake in the many lines of my wrinkly old face.

In the end, I was pleased with the coverage, but this is not a Holy Grail status product.

Taking my outfit from Friday to a more city-friendly look, I exchanged the denim jacket for the J. Crew Regency blazer.

How to wear clothes two days in a row. Change the jacket!

Ready to pick Bonaparte’s granddaughter up, I got into the car ready to go.

All ready. The most expensive items on my face (besides my glasses) were the lip glosses.  The Fenty Gloss Bomb and a Chanel lip gloss that I purchased on the cheap from Daniele’s housekeeper.  She had “people” who worked for Chanel. I bought stuff!

But first, we needed to make a stop.  Bonaparte wanted to stop at Home Depot to check on lighting.  He purchased a webcam for me so that I can start filming YouTube videos.  I’m branching out into vlogging.  The thing is, I look like crap on video and am in desperate need of better lighting.  If I film now, all the internet trolls with fake profile pics, living in mommy’s basement will have a field day commenting on how ugly I am.

Remember the infamous Seinfeld episode where Jerry had the girlfriend who looked great in some lighting and horrific in others. That would be me!

With no lighting purchased, Bonaparte mentioned another stop at Bed Bath and Beyond to look at any available lighting the store might have left amid closing.  At this point I was beginning to wonder why we were not on our way to the museum, but I agreed and off we went.

All was not lost at Home Depot. I ran over to play with the Christmas Decorations!

We ended up purchasing a desk lamp which was marked down to $4.00 from $7.99.

I’ll need a lot more than lighting to look good on YouTube!  Any plastic surgeons reading this?  I’ll give ya a great review if you lift my face!!!

Thinking that our next stop was to pick up B’s granddaughter, as we drove around the shopping center to Home Goods, I realized that something was amiss.

He may have looked at salad spinners, but when I saw THIS, I had to take a photo and send it to Oona, with the message “I wish you were little again!”. Yes. I’m always that mom!

We didn’t need anything but Bonaparte insisted on entering the store because he wanted to get a salad spinner.  And as soon as we entered, I asked the question.

“Why aren’t we picking your granddaughter up?”

His answer was that we had to wait until 1:00 PM because she was at a tennis lesson!

Whoa!  That means we won’t get to the museum until after 2:30 because of the *()_*$&(%)ing traffic and then I’ll have to deal with &*()*$%ing Mainliners who think they are experts. Unh unh.  I’ll go home and cook!

Whoa!  My suspicious nature proved me correct.  It was never intended to go to the museum early.

I need to get out of this. And quickly!!!

I had to think quickly to get out of this conundrum.  Very casually, I mentioned to Ricky Ricardo, George Burns   Bonaparte that my anxiety would be reaching maximum levels driving on the Schuylkill after 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon due to the substantial number of the weekend drivers.  It was also mentioned that I needed to get home to prepare dinner at a reasonable time.

When Bonaparte mentioned that I had the meat marinating, I had to think even faster.

And I came in for the kill.

“The Pita Bread”!  “I wanted to make pita bread to go with the tagine!”.   Truthfully, I had no intention of making any kind of bread.  That is until I realized that I am married to a Frenchman and bread is the answer to any problem. And making bread is the excuse of avoiding any situation that could cause serious anxiety and ruin a great afternoon!

Non!  Mon Amour aujourd’hui c’est du pain pita.  Baguette pour demain!

When B. saw my face, it occurred to him that bread was more important than my accompanying him and his granddaughter to the museum and that my gutter mouth would be in full force if we got caught the always-horrific traffic going into Center City.

He drove me home.

Now.  The last time I made pita was over 30 years ago. Oona wasn’t yet born and I refused to serve my boys any food that wasn’t homemade. I was that mom (Boy, did things change once all three kids started school. All those extra-curricular activities had me handing them an opened can of Spaghetti-O’s and a spoon for dinner on the road!). And the only pita bread I made was the Joy of Cooking’s recipe and I wasn’t that impressed with it.

On the way home, I started perusing the internet with my iPhone. I found one that looked decent.  Chef John’s Pita Bread on the Allrecipes website.  I’ve gotten some decent recipes from this site so I signed in and read.  This looked foolproof. And given the fact that Chef John had a video of how to make this flatbread, I thought I would take a shot at it.

Home and changed into comfortable clothing, I could get to work rather than sit in traffic!

Here’s how it rolled.

The “sponge” was made with yeast, warm water and flour. It sat for 20 minutes.

After the twenty minutes passed, flour, salt, and olive were added and mixed with the dough hook until a smooth dough was formed.  Rolled into a ball and placed in a bowl covered with plastic (although Chef recommended foil) this was set in a warm place for two hours to rise.

After rising, the dough was patted out into a rectangle and cut into 8 equal slices and then rolled into balls.  Again, covered with plastic and proofed for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I rolled out the balls into rounds…

Cast iron pan oiled and heated, it was time to grill the dough and turn it into pita..

Two to three minutes on each side produced..

…some seriously delicious and chewy pita–it was outstanding!

And when my Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte returned home, he was happy and smiling over the wafting aroma of the freshly grilled pita. He was also grinning from ear-to-ear because he explained to me that my decision to not go to the museum was the best idea I had.  Traffic was horrific, so I saved his granddaughter from hearing a plethora of filthy, dirty words.

And the bread went so well with the Tagine and almond-covered couscous!

Secondly, she wasn’t interested in the paintings as much as she was interested in a section of the museum that specialized in furniture.  (Will she become an interior designer? I hope so!). Both tried following a map of the museum’s floor plan to get to this section and they ended up walking around in circles.

Apparently, his granddaughter inherited the gift of not asking for directions from her grandfather!

But the important thing was the Bonaparte could enjoy a great afternoon alone with his granddaughter.  And when I think back of the time I was able to spend with my own grandfather, just the both of us, I get a warm and comfortable feeling inside of me.  My grandparents were a powerful force in my life. They were my grounding force.  My grandfather was a wonderful man. Always full of stories and always had time to give me.  That’s special.

We had lively conversation over aperitifs about our relationship with our grandparents. And ever the beaming grand-père seemed quite happy that it was just him and his granddaughter for the trip to the museum.

And in the middle of our Kir Royals, he stopped and asked me if I had done anything different with my makeup.  He said whatever I did, my makeup looked beautiful and quite natural.  And then I realized I had the cheap drugstore foundation on.  I guess it looked really good!

And even in old, raggedy clothing, my wig off, and my natural hair up in a messy bun, Bonaparte still loved the way I looked!

The moral of today’s post?  Simple. When shit happens—make Pita bread!!!

No song today. Instead, watch this video from Chef John while he prepares pita bread.  What I love about this video is the way Chef speaks and explains it all. He speaks in a lively tone as an educator.  He keeps it simple and non-complicated and I made my second batch of Pita while I wrote this post today!


HEY!  Thanks Allrecipes for not allowing the video to be embedded!  Oh well, click on the link to the video. It’s worth it!!!

Enjoy the rest of the day!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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24 Responses to When Shit Happens, Make Pita Bread!

  1. hipchick66 says:

    Sorry you missed the museum, but it sounds like it all turned out better 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Lori. Trust me. It did! Had I gone to the museum it would have been a complete disaster and B. Daughter would never allow her child within ten feet of me. She would have had a restraining order placed on me based on my mouth alone from the traffic!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  2. angelin2014 says:

    Oooh, I’m going to try that pitarecipe. Will be perfect for my lunchbox!

    • Catherine says:

      Angelin. Definitely try it. I ended up making a second batch today. I placed in airtight bags and froze them. It’s the easiest recipe ever!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. Cindylou says:

    Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you. That’s a great picture of you. What recipe did you use for the tagine? It looks yummy.

  4. Amy says:

    Your blog and your writing are phenomenal! I thoroughly enjoyed this, I needed a grin today 🙂 Thank you!

  5. Yvonne says:

    Wonderful post and you build the story so well and here are some ad hoc comments. The butter in France is delicious and I could live on good French bread (which can only be found in France) and French butter. I detest Midnight in Paris – loathe it and Owen Wilson is ugly. Philadelphia art museum has a brilliant modern and contemporary gallery. The building is so grand. As it costs $25 getting there at 2.30pn is silly unless of course you are a member. Even me living in DC is a member of the Met and MoMA so I can come and go when I want when I’m in NY. Made flat bread once and it turned out well and cooked it on the barbeque (grill). Your’s looked excellent. Your makeup looked great especially that last photo.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Yvonne! OMG. Yes. French butter is friggin’ amazing. So is the French version of heavy cream! I liked Midnight in Paris. I loved the concept with Hemingway, blah blah blah, but it wasn’t one of my favorite Woody Allen movies. The guy who played pretentious Paul was the best part of the movie because he was spot on in his ability to be cringe-worthy.
      Luckily, we belong to the Philadelphia Museum. And might I add that cost is always a factor in going to an exhibit.
      Thank you , thank you thank you!! Yeah. I had to freeze some of the bread or else I would have eaten it–and carbs aren’t exactly my best friends these days!! LOL. XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  6. fiona says:

    Ha ha I can just imagine your reply to Bonaparte about your visit to the museum, let me tell you, I would have been the same even though what I know about art could be written on the back of a postage stamp! It’s great he is supportive with your vlogging enterprise, I can’t wait to see your videos…and hope the lighting works out ok. A shame you missed the museum but I can understand about the traffic, plus you didn’t have to listen to any of those ‘art experts’ like the bloke in the video….there are knobs like that the world over.
    Your pitas look perfect and btw I love your jacket. xxxxxx

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Fiona! Yeah. Bonaparte and I always have intense conversations –or rather, debates on the subject of culture! I get a thrill whenever he is stumped by a classical piece and I know what it is–I’m so competitive!! But seriously, do not challenge my ability to appreciate a great painting nor my ability to successfully take three children to a museum. Those were great days!! But why do I always end up standing next to the knobs????? XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  7. jilly says:

    Hi Hon,
    I just couldn’t agree more about cosmetic packaging.We have a range her, fairly new, called MUA, really good stuff at tiny prices on sale in our Superdrug stores, BUT…. I spend ages trying to get into the (excellent) fibre tip eyeliner, and as for the concealers , !!!!! , all shrink wrapped with totally invisible perforated strips that don’t work anyway, once you do find them. Anyone with nice nails ? forgataboudit !
    Glad you went with your feelings and changed your plans for the day, sometimes determinedly following a plan is just the wrong thing to do.
    You look fabulous in that last pic. what was the lighting there ? and I love it that your hubby actually notices when you change make-up looks, My late husband was an African hip-hop artist and if I had appeared at the table in a stick on mustache he would have asked for more rice . Cute as hell tho !
    Can’t wait for the vlog, we are all right here behind you girl .
    J xxx

    • Catherine says:

      OMG!! JILLY!! Don’t even mention the shrink wrap with the invisible perforations! I trashed a lip pencil because of that wrap one time. You don’t want to know the amount of time that I’ve tried to find the perforated strip only to have to get tweezers to loosen it. WTF is it with the packaging??? Bonaparte notices everything!!! Sometimes, that isn’t the greatest thing!! But, I thank you for being supportive into my move with vlogging. I should have my first video up by next weekend!! XXOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. doodletllc says:

    Baking pita bread..impressive…you’re too much…my favorite laugh out-loud moment was your 8AM Beach Trips…are you absolutely positive that we’re not from the same family?..Robert Moses FIre Island?? My mom used to say that the car drove itself there…of course my skin is paying for it now…Vlogging…Fabulous…and love that Bonaparte is on board to assist. 🙂

  9. Jackie says:

    Ah, Catherine! Again I think we must be related. My 3 least favorite roads – check. My dislike of going into Philly on a Saturday afternoon – check. Loving the Philly Art Museum – check! Oh, but arrive by 8am – not so check. 🙁 3 out of 4’s not so bad, right?

  10. Juliet says:

    So funny – I am one lazy slob but if I am going anywhere (ANYWHERE) I have to go early, my pal had to physically restrain me from catching the bus to the airport and turning up 5 hours before a flight once, I am terrified of being late and terrified of things BEING late, and she is habitually late (somehow we are friends even so 🙂 I just tell her a different time to meet up from everyone else) – and don’t even start me on pretentious people, I have an innate desire to follow them close on their heels and join in, again friends have had to physically restrain me, sighhhh sometimes I think my friends are too grown up for me.

    I wish my family had been more into museums and art galleries as a kid – we went to the museum (THE museum in Christchurch) but I didn’t brave the art gallery until I was a student as I was convinced I wasn’t obviously posh/educated enough to go in – I kind of assumed I’d get thrown out. My family went with the sensible stuff in life – museums were for winter or rainy school holidays, rather than something to see as part and parcel of enjoying life. So I feel strongly – really strongly, that it is the drive in you to explore ideas and understand other peoples thoughts and concepts and embrace the beauty (and non beauty) that is important – so many people these days throw these experiences at their kids and their kids are so blase, they have no sense of wonder about art galleries or anything, so on this Bonaparte is wrong (respectfully I offer my opinion) as so many people have this privilege and don’t care, they are unbelievably lucky and don’t know it – the thing is YOU care and you took your kids, I absolutely salute you. Hugs

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