Weekend pizza is supposed to be easy.
I wanted to make a pizza. I’m keto, so when I want pizza, it’s not as simple as picking up a phone to order through an app. I’ve gotta make it myself. No problem, I don’t mind that.
I have a great recipe for very low carb pizza, and I already had the ingredients for the crust, so we stopped at the grocery store to pick up some Rao’s marinara, pepperoni, and mushrooms. Easy trip, nice and quick. Good thing. We had been running about, looking for early signs of Halloween, and were ready to be home.
When we got home, my husband laid down for a bit to replenish some spoons, and I did some freelance illustration work that was coming up on due. I didn’t notice the time pass, but it was 7 pm before my husband emerged and wanted to eat. He’d been planning to order his own pizza but decided to have Subway instead. So we went to Subway, which took about 20 minutes. He popped his sandwich in the fridge to wait for me to get my pizza together.
Only I couldn’t find the cream cheese I needed for the crust. I knew I had a sealed package, but it was nowhere to be found. Not in the drawer I tend to keep it in, not in the drawers where the hard cheeses or deli meats live, not hiding behind a container of leftovers. I searched for a variation on keto pizza crust that didn’t use cream cheese, to no avail.
Back in the car, to the grocery store (across the street from the Subway we’d visited not an hour earlier).
Back home, I get myself set up. And find the cream cheese in the butter shelf (not where it belongs and so far from anywhere I’d looked). Okay. Frustration is setting in. But it’s an easy recipe. Keep going.
I follow the recipe because it’s been so long since I’ve made a pizza, I don’t want to mess up even though I mostly had it memorized. Following the recipe takes longer, especially once my hands are covered in dough. My husband offers to cut my pepperoni for me (but refuses to touch the mushrooms).
The crust turns out great! Better than usual, nice and flat and such a perfect circle, it would make DaVinci proud. It bakes a bit on the cast iron pizza pan (with the mandatory parchment paper to keep it from fusing to the pan), I pierce the bubbles with a fork, finish baking.
I face the fires of hell to apply toppings into the pizza on its pulled out rack (because the cast iron pan is too hot and too heavy to handle). I top it with fresh sliced mozzarella. It’s “rustic” looking but it’s going to taste amazing.
It cooks long enough for the cheese topping to get gooey, and I turn off the oven and hoist the heavy pan onto the stove top.
But it’s on cast iron, right? So it’s not going to cool until our sun does, unless I get it onto a cooling rack.
I set up a cooling rack on the island, over the cutting board I used to prep the toppings. No big deal, I’ve done this before.
I lift the pizza up by opposite corners of the parchment paper, slinging the precious food like a baby wrapped up for a stork’s delivery. I turn, before the weight distribution tests the balance of the parchment paper.
Well, the balance wasn’t an issue. But the hot oven had toasted the corners of my parchment paper, and it was brittle. The pepperoni, mushroom, and cheese which promised to fill me to satisfaction were too much for the dry paper to support. It’s heart gave out.
One corner of the paper tore, and like a pendulum the pizza swung away, until it was face down, whereupon it fell to the floor. The dirty, dog-trodden and foot-traffic abused floor.
I must have tried to catch the pizza, because suddenly my arm was covered in searing hot marinara sauce.
I cast a look of furious acceptance at the pizza, its folded self, its smeared cargo. Then I ran to the faucet to cool my burned forearm.
I’m rather proud of how collected I was as I found a pizza spatula and scraped the pizza from the floor. I may idolize the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but my sewer pizza went straight into the trash can, while the dog and cat attempted to clean the floor for me.
I had Mint Chip ice cream (also keto) for dinner.
The next day I made another attempt. The crust did not turn out as beautiful, though I did remember to modify the recipe with seasonings as I normally would. I piled the pepperoni higher, and added the mushrooms separately so they’d be evenly distributed. The cheese was sliced perfectly.
This time, I baked the pizza one rack lower in the oven and I put the cooling rack on the stove, right next to the pan. It transferred without issue. I enjoyed the entire pizza by myself over the next three meals. It was delicious. Better than ice cream for dinner.
Now I just have to contend with the effects of my nightshade sensitivity.
Library Event on Friday
Those of you who are up in my neck of the woods, please join me at New Fairfield Public Library at 6:30 p on Friday, September 7. I will be talking about my path to publication, reading from FLOTSAM, and answering questions, as well as signing print copies of my books.
I will have a very small number of books on hand for sale. This event is free to the public.