I’ll be controversial here; pizza is the best. Dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings brought together in such a way that any one eating the divine creation can only say, “oooooohh that’s good” after each bite. Pizza is the best.
I grew up on pizza. My dad managed delivery joints for a very long time, so whenever an order was cancelled and no one on staff wanted it; it found its way to our house. This was way back when delivery pizza was more than just grease and salt placed atop a bread like compound. Pizza holds a special place in the pantheon of foods for me.
From time to time we’ll order out still. But there’s nothing quite like fresh from the oven, built from scratch pizza. Seeing the dough go from water and flour to a ball because science!, sauteing onion and garlic together until just aromatic and then pouring crushed tomatoes over it to make a quick marinara, watching the mozzarella bubble and brown in the oven, and then finally slicing up the finished product. It’s a ritual more than a recipe.
Our pizza pans were some of the first things my wife and I bought together. When we met, I was a vegetarian and she was very much not. Making pizza was a quick solution to both our needs. We made a ton of pizza in our first years together. Eventually I abandoned my vegetarianism. All that meant was adding pepperoni to the veggie pie we had grown accustomed to.
She and I learned how to work together through pizza making. We would crank up the Coheed and Cambria, pull out cutting boards and start our kitchen dance. Sauce was my job, veggie cutting was hers. Thanks to pizza, we learned how to read each other. There are plenty of components that go into making a good pizza, so we had plenty of time in the kitchen together. We were young and had nothing better to do with our time, learning to cook together through pizza was a wonderful way to spend our nights.
Things have certainly changed since our first batch of pizza. Today’s batch was low-sodium pepperoni with whole wheat dough. Approaching 30 is having dire affects on our dietary habits. I have a preferred flavor of Tums. I didn’t know they existed at 19.
The biggest difference is my cooking partner. The firstborn now helps put toppings on pizza. He tosses red onion (literally) on the rounds with glee. As I am his main cooking teacher at this point, he spends most of his time helping me by taste testing the ingredients as we go. The pineapple pizza was nearly devoid of pineapple by the time it was ready for the oven. He’s constantly excited to help out and with every successful addition of onion, pineapple or pepperoni he wants to celebrate with a hug. Cooking takes five times longer than it normally should, but totally worthwhile.
There are just a handful of guaranteed-to-eat foods the firstborn has; hot dogs, mac-n-cheese and pizza. Pizza is the one that keeps him most interested in the process. He loves rolling the dough, eating little bits, and then placing it in the pan. He helps ready the sauce and spread it on the dough when ready. He gets to see that there is a process, an order to things. And the best part is that this little process ends in delicious melty cheese.
Honestly, a picture of him eating this week is about as a rare a bigfoot photo. Thanks, pizza!