I was standing there making Paul Hollywood’s Holiday Leftovers Chelsea Buns recipe, as you do, only I was using tomato sauce, sauteed onions, and cooked mild Italian sausage to make an pizza version (yes, I know I just re-invented the calzone, go away) and thinking about how I was going to sugar down some blackberries and pomegranate arils for ice cream afterwards, when I thought about my mom and how astounded she would be to see me making this kind of food.
Mom didn’t have time to get wild and crazy in the kitchen. She was raising three kids, working full time, and dealing with a home life that was not ideal. So throwing some frozen veggies in a pot to boil and roasting some sort of protein with mashed potatoes or french fries on the side for dinner was perfectly adequate—it kept us fed and it was easy to clean up afterwards. Plus she didn’t like cooking all that much, although apparently she was much better than my maternal grandmother who thought that ketchup could be used as a sauce on spaghetti.
I remember Mom bringing home a pomegranate one day when we were little and cutting it down the center, then handing us toothpicks so that we could pick out the arils and eat them. They were delicious, mind you, but that was also a lot of work for three somewhat uncoordinated kids. There was no way she could have known the easy way to de-aril a pomegranate by cutting off the top, cutting down the four or five seams on the side, then opening it like an orange and popping the arils off into a bowl.
But she was a good baker and liked making Chruściki at Christmas (at least I think she did—we were too eager to eat those powdered sugar-covered delights to ask how she felt about making them). I don’t know if she would have tried many of the recipes but I think she would have enjoyed the Great British Bake-Off. And I’m pretty damn sure that she would love these Pizza Chelsea buns.