Let’s face it, there are just those times when it is easier to order in than to cook. As much as I love cooking, sometimes it is just too much of a stretch after pulling a 10+ hour day to try to figure out what meal to make for dinner. Pizza is easy. Pizza is relatively cheap. The fact that there is a pizza place on the corner near where I live just makes it even easier not to bother to fix anything myself and to grab a quick slice on the way home from the office.
For Lent, pizza is optimal because it can be a meal without meat. It is also simply something that pleases almost any appetite at any age. There’s probably a reason why it was on the rotation of elementary school lunches. Remember those squares of industrially produced pizza facsimiles? They came in two flavors: sausage and cheese. I still think I can remember how they tasted, and I would always want to buy my lunch on the days that it was on the menu.
Now I know better that no self-respecting pizza would taste like that, but at the time, it was quite exotic. Then, there was the place in town where we would go for the party at the end of soccer season. You could stand on a chair and watch them actually making the pizza. It wasn’t so much in the eating, but in being able to view its construction that was the real treat. Somehow, it always seemed to taste better, knowing that you were able to take in every detail of its construction: the flipping of the dough, the shaping of it on top of cornmeal, the swirl of tomato sauce, the sprinkling of the shredded cheese, and the dotting of the toppings.
When my mother would go away for the weekend, we would beg my father to let us order pizza. The alternative, when we were younger and did not cook for ourselves, was to let him concoct something, usually created from the leftovers in the refrigerator. Those meals were never a hit. Good thing, then, that after a few years, we were able to bring him around to our way of thinking and pizza became the go-to option when Mom was away.
Making my own pizza is something that I have never managed to get around to tackling. [I am, of course, leaving out the whole category of pizza varieties made with pre-made dough, English muffins, and pita bread as bases.] On this year’s list of things to do, that is definitely one of them. I’ve collected several recipes, but which one is actually worth trying? While I contemplate this, I think I’ll just enjoy a slice bought from my corner pizzeria, ample, cheesy-tomatoey, with a thin film of extra grease, just the way a New York slice should be. Here is a sample, in all its glory: