Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Should Have Known Then...

The evening started quite simply. There was a sole piece of Stouffer's French Bread Pizza in the freezer, and having discovered the hard way previously, The Boss advised me that if I ate it for dinner, cook it in the oven, not the microwave, or else it would suck.

It's my habit to customize every frozen pizza I cook - from this simple french bread pizza to the most expensive gourmet kind. And I as did so this time, it seemed like the past opened up in a totally new light as I carefully chose additional toppings and piled on more cheese.

It's what you'd call an epiphany.

In retrospect, it should have been obvious to me a long time ago how much I enjoy the physical act of cooking. At an early age I taught myself to cook a few basic items that every latch-key kid needed to know to survive until Mom got home. At fifteen, I landed my first job at a local pizza place my family and I had faithfully ordered pizza from for years.

Something I discovered right away in this first venture into the labor force and food industry - I had fun making the pizzas. I loved preparing the dough, I loved chopping the veggies, and sacrificing fresh sausage to the industrial meat grinder. I loved prepping the salad and making the small salad bar look picture perfect. The manager couldn't teach me everything fast enough.

I hated the schedule, the pay sucked, and I worked every Friday and Saturday night without fail, so it killed my social life. I hated cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the parking lot, and not being allowed to sit down for hours on end. I hated that damn jukebox which I swear only had six songs on it that played non-stop.

Eventually I quit.

Like every kid that age, though, I missed the obvious. I was focused on other things and was clueless to what stood right in front of me.

I took the food prep skills I learned at that mom-and-pop, and soon my friends would request that I "doctor up" the frozen pizzas we had whenever we hung out and watched bad horror films. I became quite good at it.

Time passed and as an adult, I took up the manly duty of grilling. My first grill was charcoal, so most of my time was spent fighting with those damn briquettes followed by a lot of waiting around. Eventually, I switched to propane (no apologies to those so-called "grilling purists" out there), and spent less time cussing the grill and more time prepping the food. I experimented, I succeeded, I failed, I learned from my mistakes. I got noticeably better.  Then slowly as my work schedule permitted I started cooking meals in the actual kitchen.  Just here and there, sometimes on Saturdays and Sundays. Then one evening when I volunteered to take over the cooking full-time, The Boss didn't take a moment to think about it. "It's yours," she said, and we were both happy.


Until Next Time...
If you want to make French Bread Pizza from scratch, Divas Can Cook is willing to show you how with this quick video that has a couple of smart tips.

Pizzaly Yours,
Michael