It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I just returned from placing flowers on the graves of our loved ones in the cemeteries.
It’s the weekend we honor our veterans — Mike’s two grandfathers who served in World War I, Mike’s dad who served in World War II, my uncle who was killed in the Korean War, and all our veterans.
Because of the pandemic, it’s not a usual Memorial Day weekend but our 7-year-old grandson Steven says he thinks we should build a campfire here in the woods and roast hot dogs and marshmallows — plenty of room to social distance and everyone gets to cook their own, with a little help from their parents. They are all excited!
Mike has video conferences and calls all day every day to work on coronavirus issues. I sit in on many of the calls, and then watch him at his press conferences. On Monday I had the opportunity, along with all the governors and their spouses, to join a White House briefing. It included President Trump and First Lady Melania, Vice President Pence, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and many of the other senior administration officials.
I was particularly interested in Melania’s message. She was very focused on children and the changes in their daily lives and mental health. Her “Be Best” program deals with emotional, social and physical health. Right now we have children who are experiencing depression, loneliness and fear. We need to remove the stigmas and watch for children who need help. The first lady asked all of us to be concerned about abused children during this time. We should continue the mental health and well-being conversation.
My focus, too, has been on children. They are so vulnerable right now. I am continuing my emphasis on reading this summer. The Ohio Governor’s Dolly Parton Imagination Library is available to almost every single child under five in Ohio. There are only a few more counties to sign up! Go to OhioImaginationLibrary.org to sign up your child for the free book every month. You might also check out Dolly Parton’s weekly storytime. It is a lot of fun to watch her read the stories and you can find the past ones on YouTube. And of course, it’s just a great time to read to your kids and have them read to you!
I’ve also been helping with food insecurity — trying to help food banks make sure people have access to food. For many it is the first time in their lives they’ve needed help with food. Organizations like the foodbank La Soupe and so many others have really been lifelines to hungry people in our communities.
I most enjoy checking in with my own kids and grandkids during this time, and they all tell me what they are cooking. This week Josie and Rebecca shared their pictures of making dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. Parker has worked his way through many of my cookbooks, with great results, but he did get a little frustrated dipping the buckeyes. Theo and Desi enjoyed making the Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels. Jeanie made me a delicious applesauce cake for my birthday — her great grandmother’s recipe. Young Michael is focusing on Italian food, and it seems like all the families are making noodles! Jill’s family makes all kinds of things, but I think their favorite is pizza. Jill has developed a dough recipe she makes in her food processor — then she gives each of the kids a ball of dough on a piece of foil and they make their own. This is a favorite activity as well as dinner, so I thought I would share it!
Jill’s Family Pizza
Pulse in Cuisinart a few times:
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon yeast (1 package)
1/2 cup warm water
Add to yeast mixture:
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup hot water
Add everything to flour mixture in food processor and turn on for 10-15 seconds until dough forms a ball and scrapes sides of bowl. Let rise in greased bowl for 1 hour. Or if you don’t have an hour, go ahead and use it.
I let the kids form their pizza dough on squares of aluminum foil sprayed with Pam. Add toppings. Place on cookie sheet. Bake approximately 12 minutes at 465 degrees. Adjust bake time to size and thickness of pizza.
Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.