Sunday, August 19, 2012

Oh, What a Hardened Knot We Tie When First We Struggle to Get By

I prepared a delectable feast for my menfolk tonight. A big pot of chicken and egg noodles, with a side of garlic knots. Don't even think of asking, "Where's the vegetable?" You're no Clara Peller. And my men are no vegetable eaters. In fact, last night all three turned down a salad with their baked chicken and potatoes. Far be it from Val to waste food. She enjoyed her own salad, thank you very much. No need to even put theirs in a bowl, just to throw it out. Because salad mailed to starving children overseas does not travel well. Which brings me back to the topic of tonight's supper and the garlic knots.

Don't be thinkin' Val tied up her own knots after grinding grain into flour, setting dough aside to rise, crushing garlic harvested from her own garden, and churning some fresh butter to melt on top. We won't even go into the aging of the parmesan cheese until it was mature enough to sprinkle over the knots. That's not how Val rolls.

I bought a dozen garlic knots from a student for a fundraiser last fall. It must have been one of the cheaper items in the brochure, because my kids have only had garlic knots once. At a restaurant. It's not like they clamor for them. They were more likely to eat the knots than a strudel or a fancy pie.

My garlic knots arrived on the day of parent conferences. The day when school let out at 1:00, but faculty had to stay until 6:00. My mom came by to pick up The Pony so he wasn't home alone with Genius, ripe for the picking-on. I asked her to take my cardboard box of garlic knots for safekeeping. They were frozen, you know. Of course, the students picked up their items around 11:00, and traipsed about the building delivering them willy-nilly. Mom drove them to her house and put them in the freezer. Then took them out and I drove them home with The Pony, where we put the knots in our own freezer. There they languished until yesterday.

I knew I had knots in the freezer. They were in the way, actually. Many a time I planned to serve them, only to spot them as I was gathering my cooking implements for the current meal. The directions on a sticker on the cardboard box said to thaw them at room temperature before cooking. Like I had time for that. I set them out on the counter while cleaning out the freezer before shopping. I meant to cook them last night. I had put them in the fridge, and forgot them. So I hauled them out tonight. I had dubious hopes of rising knots.

Genius spied them on the stovetop as I was warming the oven. "Hey! These look great!"

"They're not cooked yet. I don't think they'll rise. They might break your teeth."

"I don't care. How many can I have?"

"Well, I don't want any. And your dad shouldn't have many. There's garlic dipping sauce. And parmesan to sprinkle on."

"They look really good."

"Let's put them in the oven."

Of course the knots didn't rise. They looked even smaller when they came out seven minutes later. I rubbed the knot-tops with butter. Sprinkled the parmesan. And called the boys. It was like tossing toast crumbs to fish. They swarmed that pan. I stepped back, lest I incur an injury. When the parmesan had cleared, Genius had five, and The Pony had four. They each took a dipping sauce.

Genius declared that only the outside was hard as a rock. The inside was good. That I should try a bite. He ripped off a miniscule portion. Even offered to dip it for me. I declined. It tasted like a soft pretzel. I might just as well have cooked them with a little sea salt on top. I love pretzels!

The Pony announced that the knots were delicious. Especially with the sauce. Both boys decreed that more should be purchased through the next fundraiser. I'm wondering how many times those knots were actually thawed and re-frozen.

I don't suppose it matters.


  1. No, it doesn't matter. Growing boys have an incredible eating capacity when it comes to bready things, desserts, potatoes, and so on.

    I'm sure you've tried this, but you can take the Hidden Valley dip mix powder, sprinkle them on crescent rolls, roll them up and bake 'em--they taste like gourmet delicacies, especially to the eating machines you have at home.

    And isn't that nice--they're so free-wheeling with your money. Perhaps you should purchase a whole case of those knots the next time?

  2. We call that chicken and noodles. There are chunks of carrots in ours, too. Unless you think the carrots would winds up in a pile on the side.

  3. So, what you're trying to say is Lambert's wouldn't recognize your rolls no matter how far you threw them?

  4. I don't think I've ever had a garlic knot.

  5. Sioux,
    Thanks for the new gourmet recipe. I use Hidden Valley Ranch powder to season the vegetables in my pot roast. So the little fellas are already hooked on it. And to combine it with bread...they will go crazy!

    That would be a waste of good carrots. I am lucky to get them eating carrots in the pot roast (see Hidden Valley Ranch secret above), and sometimes in vegetable beef soup.

    Lambert's would be slapped with ten thousand lawsuits in a hot Missouri minute if they threw these garlic knots. Even a World Series catcher would be sorely tested.

    It's bread. Tied in a knot. Buttered on top and coated with parmesan cheese. Dipped in garlic butter sauce. At least the fundraiser version. I'm sure there's more to them in a restaurant. The look like little knotted pretzels. Or maybe cat turds.