Crust + Too Many Sorry's


The boy’s are in baseball camp this week and I’ve been preoccupied with other life things and so the poor middle child, my daughter, has been bored. Not really bored so much as left alone. So this morning, after smelling the bowl of plums, I decided we ought to bake something. Why, when the forecast projected a high of 94 degrees I’d think that turning on the ovens would be a good idea is besides me. I just knew that I needed to bake and she needed to bake because we both needed whatever kind of preoccupied calmness (medidtation?) it would offer.

I had her prepare all of the ingredients and set them out on the counter before we dove into making the crust for the galette. It’s a pretty simple recipe—flour, cold water, cold butter—mixed together by hand in a bowl. So we put in the flour. A little spilled onto the counter. “I’m sorry,” she said. Not a problem. “There’s no need to apologize.”

I asked her to retrieve the measuring cup she used for the water. “I’m sorry,” she said as she walked back to the kitchen sink. I say nothing in response.

I show her how to cut the cold butter into tiny squares and then hand her the second stick to do on her own. The knife slides through but at an angle, creating a sliver instead of a straight cut through. “I’m sorry.”

I put the knife down and looked at her. Told her that she hadn’t done anything wrong. That she shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for little things like this. This is not a big deal. This does not require an apology.

I jumped into memories, trying to see if I could hear myself uttering unnecessary apologies. How much of this is nature? Did she learn this from me? Absorb my perfectionism and people-pleasing through osmosis while in the womb? Because once she was born I set myself on a mission to unlearn this behavior knowing that I didn’t want to raise her to be a passive woman. I wanted her to be able to stand in her truth and in her voice, advocate for her own needs and desires with confidence and without fear.

The ability to recognize mistakes and then account for them through apology and changed behavior is a very real and necessary capability. But how do we learn (or unlearn) what constitutes the need for a genuine apology? How egregious does the error need to be? Are there different levels of apologies? Some sort of internal matrix we learn to use in order to gauge response? If so, how do we learn it? How do I teach her—and my sons—how to use this system for determining when an apology is necessary? Does it just come with age and wisdom?

I have no answers, only more questions. Maybe we’ll figure it out when we make the next crust.



Tart & Pie Dough

Recipe via The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters


  • 1/2 cup ice-cold water

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small (1/4-inch) cube

To Make:

Cut or work the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or your fingertips, leaving some of the butter in fairly large, irregular pieces. This will take 1 or 2 minutes. Pour in three quarters of the water, stirring all the while with a fork until the dough begins to form clumps. Keep adding water if needed. Divide the dough in two, bring each part together into a ball, and wrap each ball in plastic. Compress each ball, and then flatten them into disks. Let rest, refrigerated for 1 hour or longer.