The boy has been watching a lot of Power Rangers lately. Do you know that show? It's the old one from way back in my childhood where teens in colour-coded spandex suits battle poorly designed robots and monsters led by a group of over-acting villains.
When I was just a few years older than the boy, at 9, I had a pretty intense leg operation. My tibia bones were super wonky and had to be smushed up and reshaped so I could keep walking past my teen years. The surgery was a success, I guess, but the recovery was long and painful as my bones regrew and I learned, very slowly, how to walk again.
But you know the one thing I remember the most about that time? Not when the circulation was cut off in one leg and I had days of painful cramping before they nearly had to amputate it. Not having intense and nausea-inducing rehabilitation. And not the humiliation of having to go to the bathroom in a bedpan.
No. I remember my first hospital roommate from after the surgery. I remember her, and I remember hating her, and all because of the Power Rangers.
We shared a two person room, and she was recovering from some sort of kidney operation because, in the words of her mother, she held her pee for too long too often. Her mother would always remind me to go to the bathroom, but I assured her my catheter would take care of everything, but thanks for the concern over any lack of common sense I may possess.
The room was a drab mix of taupe and beige -- a stark contrast to the bright halls of the Children's Hospital, and I was in the furthest bed next to the window. I was stuck in bed on account of having plaster legs, so entertainment and scenery was limited. I got a break a few times a day when I was wheeled around the hospital to chew grape-flavoured Children's Tylenol in excess amounts.
But there was a TV. A glorious, crappy little TV that swung out between the beds to provide fuzzy, discoloured entertainment for the both of us. It only had a few channels, but you know what my pee-holding roomie always managed to find on it? Power Rangers. And no matter how much I complained, begged, and pleaded, or pointed out how I was confined to the bed and maybe, just maybe, she could go for a walk or something, Power Rangers played on.
I didn't understand the appeal of Power Rangers. They literally won every single battle they ever got in. No matter the villain, no matter how evil and weird the space robot was that plotted their destruction, there was no suspense because you knew at the end of the day they'd be back at their clubhouse having snacks. Roomie argued it was about the journey, the excitement of the fights that lured her in. I guess I was more of a big picture kinda kid, because through every episode I prayed for it to end while I tried to squeeze more drugs out of my morphine drip.
We only shared a room for a few days, and soon I was moved to a different one with three girls -- one who's fate completely breaks my heart to this day -- and I never again had to endure another episode of Power Rangers until a few weeks ago. So it goes.
But life has a funny way of working out sometimes, because as the Power Rangers made a triumphant return to my life, I created one of my favourite recipes to date. This apple, rosemary, and olive oil flatbread has a sourdough base, and a subtly sweet topping. It's a bit crunchy, a bit chewy, and somehow not a gross combination of the two. The base is a bit of effort, but is definitely worth it.
Apple, Rosemary, and Olive Oil Flatbread
1 cup sourdough starter, fed or unfed (I save my discarded sourdough starter for this)
3/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons instant yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 sweet apples
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons rosemary
Combine all the dough ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, and using the hook attachment, knead until smooth. You can also do this by hand. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rise for at least one hour. Punch down the dough, then cover it and let it rise again for at least one hour.
In the meantime, core and quarter the apples, and slice them thinly with a sharp knife or mandolin.
Lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan or standard baking sheet, and pat and roll the dough into a long rectangle in the pan. If it's giving you trouble about being rolled, just let it rest a few minutes inbetween attempts. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil, place the apples on top, and sprinkle with the sugar and rosemary. Cover and let rise for up to one hour.
Preheat oven to 425F and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from pan and slice when warm.