Friday, December 21, 2018

A Girl and Her Pizza

Dedicated to Rach of, because you never know until you ask.

I bought the bread because making it was more trouble than it's worth. I tried it once, but getting the right floury texture, getting it crispy without burning, getting all the delicate balances just right... it was too much for something that would end up as little more than an edible plate.

And, yes, I bought the tomato sauce too. But let's not quibble on the small things. You might as well call me cheating for buying the cheese rather than milking the cow myself, but at least I shredded it myself. Block cheese just holds its flavor better. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Pizza is an art. Or at least, it should be. Getting a pizza from a dime and dollar shop down the road is good enough for sustenance, but it won't do for enjoyment. It's pizza made by formula; it doesn't have a soul.

My pizza has a soul. Well, not the bread. I buy the bread.

Then follows the tomato sauce. I buy the base, but everything after that lays a foundation for the soul. Freshly cut basil, thyme, and parsley from my windowsill gardens; two leaves from my heirloom Bay Laurel, left to steep before priming the canvas. Then, bottom to top, light dusting of powdered garlic bulbs, generous base of mozzarella, thin layer of cheddar so sharp you'd cut yourself if you weren't careful, and paper-thin slices of parmesan.

That was plenty unless I had a hankering for protein, in which case I'd sprinkle diced cold cuts from the fridge that had been part of an earlier meal prepared with just as much heart; they were already infused with a soul.

Ease the canvas into the oven for-- well, no I'm not going to tell you how long. I told you already, this isn't about formulae, it's about feelings. You have to feel the pizza and trust your oven to know what to do. If it comes out raw, it's not from lack of time, it's lack of trust; if it comes out burnt, it's not from excess of time, it's from lack of attention.

Feel the pizza. Love the pizza. Be the pizza.

I can hear you laughing at me. You think I'm blowing this out of proportion, taking this to excess. But you've probably grown accustomed to eating food that's build by a formula, and don't know what difference it can make, not eating so much as worshiping, food with soul.

Inspiration borrowed from "Last Call" by Jim Butcher, my mother's chocolate chip cookies, and my father's spaghetti sauce.