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The Ideal Pizza Remains ‘Pie’ in the Sky
The Ideal Pizza Remains Pie in the Sky Talk about your labors of love: I am determined to make a perfect pizza. I’ve been at it for several weeks now, and I think I’m close by my standards, anyway.
That’s what makes pizza so interesting. For something so popular (I’ve only met two people in my life who absolutely would not eat it under any conditions - the poor, benighted fools), it is a highly individualized food item. You think people have strong opinions about politics and religion? They’re nothing compared what goes on the pizza.
You can go around the taking suggestions, and just when you think you have a pizza that everyone can live with - let’s say, just for the sake of argument, a 16-inch medium crust with double cheese, sausage, mushroom and onion - someone will pipe up, "Don’t forget to add the pineapple!" and before you know it, the arguments will start all over again. Before long, someone will run off to the restroom, crying. And believe me, that will put a crimp on Poker Night With The Guys.
Oh, and by the way: Pineapple on pizza? Gag.
My pizza tastes have changed over the years. When I was a kid, I wanted a cheese pizza, and that was it. Lucky for me, that’ll all we ever really saw back then, during the Jurassic Era.
It’s funny to think back to those days. Pizza was still relatively new to the Midwest, and somewhat exotic to kids raised on Peter Pan peanut butter, Marhoefer wieners, Ann Page canned soup, Chesty potato chips and Wonder Bread. Pizza delivery was unknown. Heck, pizza parlors were unknown. I think I was 12 before I ate pizza that didn’t have its beginnings in a Chef Boy-Ar-Dee box.
Here’s the real kicker: Mom would make one pizza from the chef’s pizza kit, and it would feed all five of us, with two or three pieces left over. Now that I am a grownup and am frequently astonished (or ashamed) at how much pizza I can put away, the idea that we had leftover slices - plural -- just blows me away.
As I grew older, my tastes shifted. I went back and forth on my crust allegiance, from thin to thick to Chicago-style to thin again. And from the Plain Jane pizza of kidhood. I graduated to ever-more-elaborate pies - first pepperoni, then sausage, then pepperoni or sausage with peppers and onions, then pepperoni and sausage with peppers, onions and mushroom, then all of the above plus olives, then Just Dump The Entire Menu Onto A Crust. But hold the pineapple. Gag.
But times, and tastes, have changed. It seems I’ve gone back to the pizzas of my kidhood, and beyond. I roll out my dough so thin you can see through it, and bake the pies on a stone so they crackle when you bite into them. And the toppings sauce, cheese and herbs -- I keep scant, to the point of being skimpy, so as not to overpower the crust. It seems that less really can be more, pizza-wise anyway. To me, it’s close to perfect. Others might not like it, but that’s the point. Perfect pizza is in the eye - or rather, the palate - of the beholder. That’s what makes pizza so great.
Just keep the pineapple away from it. Gag.
© 2007 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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