Usually a day time shift on a Saturday at work means lots of business. Sprinkled in every couple months though are days like today. The weather can’t make up its mind and neither can our patrons. They just don’t come in. So you are left with 2 servers and a phone operator who are forced to stare at each other and watch each others hair grow.
Truly it is a painful experience. Boss’s don’t like to see their money going to waste, so its best to look busy. But really, there are only so many times I can straighten cups, restock napkins, adjust place mats, and wipe down pizza trays. And really, my rag is only gonna get so clean, no matter how many times I rinse it out.
On days like this, I pace. I go to the kitchen and stand near the microwave and tell one of the guys working how I’m bored. Sometimes they are generous and share with me the task they’re performing (God bless ’em). Most of the time its making lasagna or Bolognese sauce. I have even learned how to make pizza dough and can now take a ball of dough and twirl it and work it through my hands to make the crust.
Again, today was just not that day. There was however, one fundamental difference with today though. The boss was there. And so was his 12-year-old son, Dominic.
I love when Dominic comes in. He is a funny kid who follows you around and does everything he can to help. Plus he puts customers in a good mood because he stands up straight as soon as they come in, asks them how many are in their party and then looks to me for my approval for him to seat them. Customers find it adorable that a kid is so eager to serve.
Plus when Dominic comes in you can get away with some fun stuff. There we were. Bored. And little Dominic comes up with a brilliant idea. We should really have a dessert pizza on the menu. Then a real stroke of genius. We should make a proto-type right now. He is quiet for a second and then proclaims that he has $10 and is going to the store to get some Nutella.
He comes back a few minutes later with a small jar of Nutella and starts discussing with me what else we should put on this pizza. We agree that we need bananas and chocolate sprinkles. He runs up to the office where his dad is to get permission to actually execute this plan, his dad apparently wasn’t opposed because a second later he comes back down clutching a $5 dollar bill and marches determinedly to the corner market yet again.
Then a freakin’ lunch rush comes. Typical. So we had to put our plan on hold for about a couple hours. As soon as there are only 2 tables left I head to the front of the restaurant and find Dominic in the kitchen having a conference with the pizza chef about the positives and negatives of regular and thin crust. He decides that thin crust would best serve our needs and politely asks the pizza chef if he could be so gracious as to bake a medium size thin crust pizza dough. The little diplomat. The chef obviously obliges. (As if he would say no to the owner’s son though).
Ten minutes later, the crust is done. I find Dominic looking from the crust to the jar of Nutella not moving. This is when I decide to intervene. I go over to him and instruct him to go get me a spoon. He comes back with 2, big and little. I take the smaller one and start scooping out heaps of Nutella and plopping the spoonfuls in various places on the dough. I then start smoothing it down with the back of the spoon to the edges of the crust and all through the center – like you would tomato sauce.
Next up was the banana. Dominic was in the middle of peeling and then looked to me and said he didn’t want to mess anything up and handed me the banana. I finished peeling and then showed him the best way to slice the banana. I did it on the diagonal so the slices were longer, and ’cause it looks pretty that way. Then we laid them out in a circular pattern. With my hands full of banana bits and Nutella smears, I asked him to please go get a few sugar packets. I ripped a few open into my hand and then rubbed a little bit onto each piece of banana so that when we popped the pizza back into the oven the bananas would caramelize a bit on the top, not burn. A few shakes of the sprinkles and a dash of cinnamon over it all and it was ready for its last stint in the oven.
The crust was crispy, the Nutella was still a little gooey, and the chocolate sprinkles had melted onto the bananas. Next time though, I think I will cook the bananas on their own for a few minutes because they were still really soft and Dominic and I agreed that they would have been better a tad crunchy.
His dad is dropping him off tomorrow for work. I am kinda sorta maybe hoping it’s slow again so we can come up with something else.