Unfinished Business

Today I teach my little chefs what it means to “parbake” something. It means to partially bake the pizza dough or pie crust before you add all your toppings or fillings.

But why? It’s all about timing; the toppings will cook much faster than the crust, and you’ll often have a charred top with a sopping, uncooked crust underneath. But if you parbake your pizza dough for 8 minutes and then cook the assembled pizza for 8 more, for example, you’ll have a lovely pizza.

The slow parts catch up.

But it seems wrong and so unfinished to pull that partially baked creation out of the oven. One expects the golden crust, not the imperfect, incomplete thing in your hands. But just wait! It’s all part of a different kind of process that lets some parts catch up while slowing other things down.

I remember parbaking when I think about things in my life that seem to go at the wrong pace or don’t match up to my own timelines or expectations. So much of life is a slowing down or a catching up. As we slice into our perfect pizza, we realize that maybe it’s true: everything turns out in the end in perfect timing.

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