Wounded Calzones

This story was written by my 16 year old daughter who came home from Ethiopia in 2007.   I knew she’d do a good job cooking, but I am just as proud of the time and effort she took to beautifully describe her week of cooking for you. (Here’s how she spent her $20)






















As some of you may know I was doing the $20 for a week. It was very challenging and fun. The first day after shopping I got tired a little bit but I started my on food that afternoon. So I started cooking. I had chicken that needed to be taken care of. I needed also some kind of plan what to do with that chicken. So I went to my mom and got some advice and I started chopping my chicken.

I realized I needed dinner so I started my rice [and was frying my chicken] and all together I had three pots on the burner. So as I’m stirring my frying chicken, my pot of broth was over flowing. When I am dealing with the broth, my rice needed water so I raced to get water because I don’t want burned food for dinner. Who wants burned food? Not me.

As I eat my food I realized it is not burned or anything wrong with my food. All my not wanting to deal with three pots and my hassling paid off. Yaaa, I am so proud of myself.

On Wednesday I made calzones [with chicken, tomato and onion]. I put all the stuffing on the dough.  As I was covering it with the dough I realized some of the stuffing was leaking. What I did wrong was I rolled the dough very thin in the bottom and very thick in the end. I just shoved it in the oven hoping for the best. When it was done it looked like a loaf of bread that someone shot it and started bleeding. I cut it so I can eat it. Actually it tasted very good. But the top is very big and ugly. I learned that if I make calzones next time I need to make the bottom a little bit thick and the top way thin so that I don’t have to eat a wounded calzone.

The best food that I made was fried ramen. It was very yummy.  Also I made bread. It was way cheaper then the store bought. I think the least I like was eating eggs.

But the best thing I did was making donuts. I think it was about 4 when I realized I need to make donuts because I was hoping that I can bring some to my two best friends for Valentine’s Day. When I finished with my school it was about 5:30. I rolled my dough and shaped [the donuts] and put it aside so that they could rise. About 6 I started doing my donuts and I have to do it fast because we need to leave to church. As I was scurrying my oil got very hot. I quickly put new oil to cool it down. I had 3 more pieces of dough to go and this is what happened. I was going to take off the donut from the pot with a fork. I took it half way and the donut slipped and fell inside the oil giving a big splat all over. I got a little bit on my face and three [burns] on my hand.  I went to my friends and l told them this is how I love you, showing them my burned hand and face and their donuts.  This is how I ended my last day of $20 for a week—burning myself.  That is right.  Burning myself.

But I learned a lot of things [about] how I should use my money wisely and how I should eat as I am doing the $20 for a week. It is a very good experiment before you get out from your parents house and see the new world. I want to do this experiment again. It is a lot of fun.


  1. “Wounded calzones.” That’s funny! =)

  2. I am loving the “shot and bleeding loaf of bread.” amazing! Lol. it would have been fun to try that when I was younger. i shall just have to try it on my husband at some point and do 40 for the week.

  3. I sure love that girl. Fun to see her personality coming through in her writing!

  4. I agree with the other comments. What a great report! I love it!

  5. I agree too, great post. And I’d totally be your friend if you made me donuts too! 🙂

    • I love the description of the “wounded calzones,” and her thinking about how she would make them differently next time. Those doughnuts look delicious. She did a fabulous job!

  6. Oh, L! Too many funny things to quote! Great job!

  7. I love the “wounded calzones”. What a sweet, able girl you have Mary!

  8. How great! You did a wonderful job!

  9. Lisa Thomas says:

    Great summary of your cooking! I would have loved to try your calzone and donuts!

  10. She is quite the beautiful young lady!! And those doughnuts look AMAZING!!! But the shot and wounded calzone was a hoot! 😀 Good job for your kids!!!!

  11. Such a great post! Her writing is incredible for an ESOL student. I taught lots of ESOL students when I was a middle school English teacher and I am just blown away that she has only lived here for a few years! Beautiful job- you should both be very proud. 🙂

  12. Wounded calzones!!! HAHAHAH her whole story had me in stitches! She is hilarious!!! 🙂

  13. You have learned (much) more about cooking than I had at 16, and I think the MOST important thing you have learned is to evaluate what things didn’t work the way you were expecting and what you might do differently next time to see if it turns out the way you want. *And* you’re planning on a next time. Good for you! So many people give up when they can’t do it perfectly the first time. You are going to have a wonderful life, if you have mastered the art of learning and keep trying and never giving up. I can learn a lot from you. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  14. Mary, we have friends that adopted 6 children from Ethiopia. Their Maddie is your daughter’s age, and reading this made me feel like I was listening to Maddie talk!!
    This was absolutely delightful…so well written. And she has the same sense of humor as Maddie…very funny!!

  15. Loved the bleeding bread. I’ve had some similar results, and just have to focus on the taste and ignore the visual. Those donuts, now, look just like the ones from the grocery’s bakery section. Yum!

    I am curious to know, from either this chef or Mary, what you guys do with Ramen noodles. I know I’ve seen them listed on your groceries/menu lists before, but only one stir-fry recipe is found on this site when I do a search for it. I always think of them as basically junk food, but I’d love to know something real and healthy to do with them since they are super cheap to buy.

    • Ramen isn’t a staple of our diet– we have it once a month or so though the kids would happily eat it more often than that. We add slivered cabbage, slivered carrots, garlic, onions and chicken to ramen for easy chicken noodle soup. Or sometimes we drain off all the liquid and stir-fry the barely-cooked ramen in a dab of sesame oil with the veggies. I’m sure it couldn’t be quite classified as health food, even with the veggies, but it is definitely HealthIER. 🙂

  16. That was a lovely post. Wonderful article from a beautiful girl!

  17. I think your beautiful chef may have a flair for writing, just like her mom! Absolutely wonderful in every way.

  18. This was wonderful to read! You will have to let her guest post more often!

  19. Wonderful writing and wonderful cooking! I got hungry reading it!! 🙂

  20. Loved hearing what she did with her meals!

  21. She has a wonderful sense of humor! She sounds like she would be a joy in the house. 🙂

  22. This is a great report of her week! Wounded calzones… first, I had to look up what that food is to imagine one being not quite proper.

    I have to ask: Did she stay within the $20 spending limit?

  23. Inspiring on so many levels… Love it.

  24. This was a beautiful post. I would really love it if all your kids coud get together and make a cookbook of all their food choices during these weeks. I feel like this experiment is a blessing in so many ways, thank you for sharing.

  25. Wonderful post- would be great to have her “guest post” more often – how about one from her on baking bread (and using the dough for calzones

  26. I have had more than one meal in my ten years of marriage that has had three pots going at once and I’m ready to pull my hair out! I’m amazed how she pulled through! What a gal!

  27. This was so fun to read! Brad and I were both laughing out loud! Tell Lydia she is a great writer!!

  28. Can she come and do a cooking week at my house? Do-nuts-yum!!!!

  29. Your daughter is beautiful! She did a fantastic job writing about her week.

  30. tia bennett says:

    What a smart and beautiful young woman, and she can cook too!
    I can honestly say, I would never be able to write like that after only being in a country 3-4 years!
    Seems this experiment turned out very well for you guys!

  31. Your daughter is a great writer, her personality shines through. I wouldn’t want to eat burned food either – or wounded food – although my boys would probably like that.

  32. Great job! She brings out the drama of cooking!

  33. Wounded calzone! I love it!

  34. Great job sweet niece! So glad you wrote about your own experience, I can just hear you tell it, wounded calzone and all. xxoo

  35. Love it and your daughter has such a way with words. Good job!

  36. Such a descriptive writer! I laughed out loud, nodded my head in agreement, and am in awe that she did such a great job with her grocery challenge! I sure couldn’t have done any of that at her age! Oh, your boys did good too!


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