We celebrated life’s small achievements with giant burgers

Last night we celebrated small achievements — a smooth highway merge by a rookie driver, a successful purchase of the confounding maxi skirt, the unexpected pleasure of a true family dinner — with giant burgers, and we ended our day on a delicious note.

Sometimes in the chaos of our busy lives, it’s nice to take a moment to salute the ordinary triumphs.

Piloting our sturdy little bug with the top down, Molly grabbed her learner’s permit and turned some boring mid-week errands into a somewhat challenging driving lesson as we cruised through several awkward road merges, a couple of dicey left turns into traffic and a fuel up at a truck stop that involved actual moving semis.


At one point we stopped at a store and, while Molly actually shopped for clothes I amused myself, as I have for the past, oh, dozen months or so, by trying on maxi skirts. I owned one once, in 1972; I got it for my eighth birthday. It was made of red calico with little blue flowers and I loved it. It is worth noting that at that time I also dearly loved my St. Agnes school uniform, so my sense of fashion may still have been developing.

In any case, it has been 42 years and I have not been able to recapture the joy of that stylish dress without feeling like I looked like Rhoda Morgenstern…Until last night. Score one for persistence and an impressive summer sale.

Later, we all teamed up for an impromptu family dinner, which turned out to be mushroom swiss burgers that grew so big as we built them, we didn’t need anything else.

I can’t tell you how to wear a maxi skirt, or how to merge into traffic when you’re driving a small convertible and there is an angry semi-trailer truck bearing down on you. I can’t even tell you how to make the delicious pretzel rolls that held our mushroom and swiss burgers last night.

But Molly can.


Pretzel Buns

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup milk

3 tbs. butter

1 tbs. brown sugar

1 pkg. yeast

1/4 cup baking soda

1 qt. water


1. Heat butter, brown sugar, and milk to 110 degrees, stir in yeast and allow to proof

2. Add flour to yeast mixture and knead until the dough in elastic. Allow to rise for an hour.

3. Mix baking soda and water in a pot and boil over medium heat. After the dough has risen, punch in down, knead it for several minutes, and separate into four balls.

4. One at a time drop the rolls of dough into the boiling water. Boil for two minutes, one minute on each side.

5. Remove and place on a baking sheet that has been covered with tin foil. I spray the tin foil with baking spray.

6. Bake at 375 for 25 min or until dark brown.

7. Remove from the over and cool on a baking rack.



Bread dough
Step one and they look like any other loaves of bread dough.
Boiled bread
After you boil them, place them on a greased baking sheet. I scored them as well because I think that looks cool.
Pretzel rolls
Here is what the pretzel rolls looked like before we stuffed them with goodies.
Mushroom and swiss burger
Look at this bad boy! We had intended to grill the burgers outside, but the lone storm of the summer blew in just as I was lighting the grill. Molly, who really, really had a taste for grilled burgers, was giving me weather reports from inside the house. “I think you’re fine, Mom” she shouted over the howling wind. “According to weather.com we’re not going to see anything for at least another hour.” I couldn’t hear the rest as a clap of thunder drowned out her voice and a jagged streak of lightning temporarily blinded me. I ended up cooking the burgers on the stove. To compensate, I added a fried onion/mushroom topping and a couple of thin slices of swiss cheese. We topped all that with sliced tomato and arrugula and the burger ended up filling the whole dinner plate. Yum!



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