Pizza Pizzazz

How can you not love all those z’s?

Pizza on Friday nights is quickly becoming my favorite routine.  When I was little, Friday night was always pizza night.  We would go to the mall while the pizza dough rose, my dad and I would hit our favorite places (the arcade and the record store) all the while losing my mom to the shoe section at Penny’s.  As soon as we got home we would always get started on making the pizza.  My mom would add the sauce and it was my dad’s job to do the seasoning.  I remember him being super particular about it.  Then my mom would add 1-1/4 pounds of cheese.  Seriously.  This was also the only night my parents and I would eat in front of the tv instead of at the table.  We would set the pizzas on a wobbly tv tray and watch the TGIF shows.  That always seemed like such a treat to me.

Since then, pizza in my house has changed a bit.  They’ve evolved to become a little bit ligther on the cheese, a little bit heavier on the veggies.  We’ve experimented a little with other toppings.  My mom changed from using canned tomato sauce to her home made spaghetti sauce.  What hasn’t changed, though, is that whenever my whole family is together, there’s usually a pizza night involved.

When I got to college, my mom bought me a food processor for the sole reason to be able to make pizza dough.  This enthralled my roommates.  We would make pizza on Fridays and it became my favorite meal to have the night before a race.  We would have friends over for pizza often and my homemade crust became somewhat of a staple on the team.

Since being in grad school, I’ve really enjoyed making pizza for my friends.  Our Friday nights with Zach, eating pizza and watching tv, remind me of home and the good times I had at Marquette.

This past Friday night was easily one of my favorite pizza nights.  My (20 year old) nephew texted me last week to tell me he would be in town and asked if I wanted to get dinner.  I gave him the choice of me taking him out or I could make him a home cooked meal of pizza.  I was so happy that he chose the pizza.  He ended up coming over around 9 and we ate and watched Portlandia, sharing stories of our college lives.  We used to be close and slowly grew apart over the years.  Spending Friday  night with him, though, made me feel like things between us are getting back to the way they were when we were little.  It just seemed fitting that it ended up happening over one of the meals that I think epitomizes my family.

As far as what I made, it turned out pretty great.  I gave my nephew his choice of toppings and he chose ground turkey and spinach.  I did ground beef, onion, and thinly sliced turnip.  I also used the cheese I made the other day.  This time I made the cheese much less dry and I think that substantially added to the quality of the pizza.

I forgot that my nephew isn’t a huge eater, so I ended up with ten slices of pizza left over.  This worked out well, though, because I’ve had enough to last me through the weekend.

I really think pizza is the greatest meal ever.  It can change with your mood (classic, spicy, eccentric, exotic..) or can go with any theme (Italian, thai, German (sauerkraut anyone?).  You can modify it for your healthy-ness preference, food allergy (lactose-intolerant roommate?  got goat cheese?), and is universal.  Best of all, pizza has the great ability, more so than any other food I’ve ever come across, to bring people together.  Just think back to kindergarten when the thought of a pizza party made everyone get along…

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