In today’s world of hyperspeed communication and burgeoning workloads, people are busier than ever. In many families, there are parents bogged down by enormous workloads that follow them home from the office in the form of email and text messages. There are numerous kids that need to be chauffeured to various activities. There are teenagers staying up all night to fulfill the ever-growing expectations of an education system figuring out where it stands in the changing tides of the modern world. Lost in the sea of schedules, deadlines and bleeping electronic devices is the pathetic little sailboat of the family mealtime. Tossed by the churning waves, battered by the barraging storm, the little sailboat is always on the verge of being swallowed up by the sea of work. Weeknight sit-down family dinners are almost a thing of the past, now rusting in Davy Jones’ Locker at the bottom of the sea. But there are some who long for the past, who miss the grandeur of the sailboat that once rode serenely on the swells of daily life as the one oasis of family time during which everyone sat together and enjoyed one another’s company while savoring a home-cooked meal.
Sure, there are those days when it’s impractical to expect everyone to heed the call of the dinner bell, gather around the table and partake of the fruit of Mom’s labors in the kitchen. For instance, more often than not my family ends up ordering takeout on busy school nights. Often it’s everyone-for-him/herself night to avoid arguments over what and when dinner will be. And to cater to a certain person’s desire to eat only on his own terms (i.e. early and greasy) we will call in a pizza at least once or twice a week, to be delivered to the eager hands of that certain person.
The pizza delivery is coming to be one of the symbols of the American dinnertime. Yes, it is convenient and time-efficient to simply dial a number or make a few clicks on the computer, and not have to interrupt any important work until the doorbell rings twenty minutes later. But even so, there are some Americans to this day who strive to avoid this as our country’s future. There are those who see the definition of a meal as more than a factory-pressed circle of carbs, cheese, and grease in a white cardboard box. There are those who want to pursue the American dream of happiness and prosperity while also being able to eat like human beings, in the company of loved ones, enjoying real foods. These people will not surrender to the oppression of the tantalizing pizza delivery without a fight!
But what a bitter and impossible fight this is, when the kids are begging for pizza and the bleeping electronics are demanding attention and the wallet is far from full! Those committed to the resistance against the dictatorship of industrial pizza must be strong and clever. Combat strategies (i.e. homemade meals in this day and age) must be quick and easy to make with relatively few and cheap ingredients. If it can be assembled with kids’ help, even better! Perhaps more importantly, the food must be delicious enough to win over picky kids, who will back the pizza forces to the end unless a yummier homemade dinner is offered to them. Some strategists suggest emulating the enemy with homemade pizza. This tactic could in some cases prove successful, but is not foolproof as children possess acute visual and gustatory faculties and can easily detect a counterfeit pizza. With picky eaters, detection is the first step towards rejection. Case in point: my dad used to make homemade pizza for us kids. Operative words being “used to.”
The emulation strategy can work to an extent: offering kids food made with familiar ingredients they already love can be a good way of getting them to eat it. If the kids love pizza, a good move would be to serve them up nice and warm with tomato sauce and melty cheese. But I suggest leaving off the cardboard box and nutrient-poor crust, and replacing it with eggs and veggies for a wholesome meal that can be thrown together in no time and served to everyone at the family table. This will likely be received with some skepticism and may even provoke outright revolt upon the first introduction. But when the kids see the parents savoring this dish (for it is a dish to savor), and when they smell that irresistible tomato sauce/mozzarella combo, mingling with the aroma of warm eggs and flavorful veggies, when they see all the fun colors that go into this omelette, chances are they will eventually surrender. And once they take a bite, they will see that dinner can come in all shapes, sizes and forms, that a lovingly prepared pizza omelette can be just as enjoyable as a patented pizza from off a conveyor belt.
This is the way that we Americans will preserve the love of cooking and eating real food for future generations – by practicing it as a family. Even if it can only happen a few times a week. Parents, invite your kids to help you shop for ingredients they would like in their omelette. Let them take turns beating the eggs or peeling the string cheese, always a fun task and bonding experience. Kids, if your parents are too busy to cook dinner, make this for them sometime. I guarantee it will earn you significant brownie points!
This is a recipe for one omelette to serve once person. I made it for myself yesterday, as it was one of those everyone for him/herself nights in our household. But the recipe can easily be multiplied to make enough omelettes for two, four, or a whole army of hungry family members. Feel free to play around with the combination of veggies, or use a different type of cheese or sauce. There are infinite different ways to make an omelette, really, but whatever way you choose, it’s sure to be a fun and delicious family dinner to enjoy!
Veggie Pizza Omelette
original recipe serves one person
- 2 eggs
- 1 sweet mini pepper, sliced into semi-circles
- 4 pimiento-stuffed manzanilla olives, each cut in half
- 1/4 cup tomato sauce (I used Ragu brand)
- 1 individual mozzarella string cheese, peeled into strips
Spray a pan with nonstick spray.
Assemble all filling ingredients. Crack the eggs into a small bowl, and beat vigorously.
Pour eggs onto pan, and heat to medium. Allow to cook for a few minutes, until edges are white. Then use a spatula to push the cooked edges of omelette in towards the middle, allowing liquid-y egg from the middle to run to the edges and cook. After a few minutes, when omelette looks cooked, sprinkle pepper pieces, halved olives, and most of the cheese strips into center of omelette. Pour most of the tomato sauce over this.
Fold omelette over the filling. Remove from heat and place on desired plate. Top with remaining tomato sauce and cheese strips.
And there you go, a pizza omelette. Enjoy piping hot!
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