Childhood memories follow me wherever I go. It doesn’t take much for something to trigger a flashback to quieter days, easier days. It could be as simple as a song that transports me back to a school dance or it could be something I ate that takes me back to the kitchen I grew up in. The memories come flooding back. I live in the present while my mind drifts back and forth.
I remember moments from my childhood like it was yesterday. Some things are more vivid than others but the ones that stand out play like a movie in my head. I can see the reel spinning and I sit and watch the story unfold, only I know what happens because I lived it.
Like most kids, there was always one night of the week that was reserved for takeout. My mom would pull out the restaurant flyers from a drawer and scatter them on the table and we’d take aim at them. It was usually pizza or Chinese or something else that was easy and inexpensive and in fashion.
That tradtion carried on for years until one evening when my parents got home from shopping with sauce and vegetables and pepperoni and pizza dough. The day that killed tradition. Homemade pizza night. Evolution of family life.
I thought it was the end of humanity as I knew it. Making my own instead of making a phone call to have it delivered? Luckily, it didn’t take much to sway me and my mind was made up the first time we ate in. The charm was in making each pizza to suit our preferences and, on top of everything else, rolling and playing with the dough was fun.
For years I liked the standard toppings and nothing else. Why deviate from a good thing. My dad always liked hot peppers and I remember the first time using some of his for my pizza and rubbing my eye. Epic mistake. I learned a valuable lesson that night. Stick to the stuff you like and experiment where warranted. As a kid we like certain things and nothing else. We have picky palettes.
Today was one of those days when nothing was going to be better than a homemade pizza. After a couple of spring-like days, today flirted with cold temperatures and winter’s companionship. After spending a couple of hours driving around town looking for one thing or another and watching my wife snap photos(**she’s very talented), we both desired the comfort and warmth of home and good food.
Market fresh toppings and homemade dough.
We walked through the door and I walked straight to the kitchen to start lunch. Homemade dough is actually quite easy but takes a bit of patience. After kneading it and rolling it out I started adding toppings according to our likings. Fresh mozzarella on one, velvety goat cheese on the other. Back and forth until they were ready for the oven. Once out I topped them with fresh arugula and some sea salt and pepper.
We sat down and enjoyed lunch and my mind wandered back to the days when my family first started doing this and I realized that good traditions aren’t meant to die. They’re meant for new families and memories.
From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!
**My wife is an up and coming photographer. She’s great at what she does and her pictures are fantastic. I may do the cooking but she does a lot of the other stuff that goes unnoticed. Check out her website here! I may be biased but I think it’s great!
Homemade Pizza Dough
- 500 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. fresh yeast
- 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
- In a large mixing bowl add in the flour and salt. In a small bowl dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside until yeast begins to activate (it should foam a bit) then add a bit at a time to the flour mixture. Mix until you have dough. Knead it for a few minutes and shape into a ball.
- Cover it with cloth and leave it to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Knead the dough and cut in half.
- Knead each piece for a couple of minutes and form into balls. Leave it and let it rise in place for about 30 minutes.
- Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured workk surface or counter.
- Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil and press the dough down with your hands and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough from the centre out to the edges until you have the desired shape and thickness. Also use your fingertips to press and stretch the dough.
- Place on a well oiled sheet and press the edges to form a crust.