Skip to content

The Things We Do for Pizza

February 28th, 2020

Fast food and I are not typically found in the same room but allow me to clarify; I think whatever your body tells you it needs to eat in the moment is a great choice. Most of the line cooks I know that work at busy high-in restaurants live off of Taco Bell because their days are so exhausting, demoralizing, and full of screaming sous chefs, insurmountable amounts of dinner tickets, gallons and gallons of prepped food and liquid to be hoisted, hauled, emulsified, reduced, and properly chilled down, and then at 11:00 pm when service ends they have to clean, restock, and scrub down their stations.

When they finally drag themselves out of the greasy back door into the night air they’re hit with the smell of rotting garbage. Hungry, nauseous, exhausted, and nothing in their belly but quick tastes of the same three sauces all night long to make sure they’re right before you send them out to the sous-chefs critical eyes, and a cheap beer that they chugged while scrubbing the burnt scum off the sides of the stove when dinner service ended.

They know they need food, they know in intimate detail exactly how to prepare anything they could want to eat, but they cannot even imagine doing the work of microwaving a styrofoam container of the chemically enhanced excuse for ramen. So they swing by taco bell on the way home and choke down a beefy 5 layer without tasting it. It does the job and adding a few more beers to the mixture roiling around in their stomach when they get home helps ensure they’re in enough digestive distress that they won’t want to eat anything else. The alternative to this is cocaine. Pick your poison, grey meat on a lifeless tortilla, given a good hit with the sourcream gun and a fistful of the eternal iceberg lettuce or do a line in the bathroom before you leave work.

Last Saturday, I got up early after working the night before and buzzed off to teach a sold-out Parent/Child class at The Cooking Studio. The menu was breakfast in Paris and the class went swimmingly – I speed-walked up and down the stations catching a falling crepe here, hollering across the prep table for station four to “get their hollandaise off the heat or they were going to break it,” and teaching children and parents alike how to flip a crepe in a pan. The class ended, I cleaned up, monitoring the high-schooler helping me with the class as they missed a blob of hollandaise here, a burnt-on bit of crepe batter there, and telling them for the third time to please go get the vacuum. 

I discovered simultaneously the other highschooler washing dishes for my class had sent all of the instant-read thermometers through the dishwasher and had laid them neatly in a row, face-up on the drying rack, their lifeless screens staring blankly at the ceiling. We had a quick discussion about what was appropriate to put through the dishwasher, I mopped, locked up, and went home. 

I had thrown out my neck earlier in the week when we had a deep clean at work where I stubbornly spent three hours scrubbing grease off the hood vents above my head and had been walking with my head at an angle ever since.

Tony and I had some friends in town visiting from Pennsylvania and they arrived to hang out shortly after I got home and we all had a nice, relaxing hour in the living room chatting and playing with their sweet one-year-old.

Around 3:30 pm, my massage therapist texted me to say she could fit me in to work on my neck if I could go right then. I said goodbye and went to get the crick in my neck fixed and an hour later I could turn my head both ways without spasming in pain.

Tony, who had also had a very busy day, was staring blankly into the computer screen when I got home and we realized it was 5:00 pm and neither of us had eaten all day. The warning lights were going off in my head and there wasn’t so much as a can of beans in the house. I suggested takeout though neither of us had eaten in so long nothing sounded good. We settled on Pizza, but our favorite pizza place had a two-hour wait time. Tony suggested Taco Bell which I immediately snubbed.

His second solution was that if I could muster up the energy to go to the store he would make his family’s homemade pizza dough from scratch. This struck me as a very bad idea but when you’re extremely hungry at the end of a long day and have just had an hour of intensive deep tissue work done near the base of your skull your decision-making skills are possibly not at their best and brightest.

To the store I went to collect toppings while Tony started the dough. The store was the worst kind of busy where people are constantly blocking the aisles, staring at the meat and produce with vacant expressions, and the pepperoni is nowhere to be found. I finally collected my loot, dragged myself through the self-checkout line and went back home. I arrived to find Tony making dough on the counter where an errant paring knife, a towel, and a loaf of sandwich bread had been sitting for the last 12 hours.

As I arrived, dumped my grocery bags on the floor and slumped into the couch Tony began sweeping the excess flour off the counter with his hands and swept his finger right into the blade of the paring knife he had just sharpened a few days hence.

Blood went everywhere and rather than being a kind and caring girlfriend I condescendingly screeched his name in disbelief. This was only mildly justified because this would be the 3rd time this week he had cut himself on a paring knife. The dough was at the stage where it needed to be kneaded NOW and Tony was desperately standing there covered in flour holding his wound closed with a wad of paper towel. I went searching for a bandaid to find that I had used the last one and not bought more. The athletic tape was nowhere to be found either so I ripped open a pack of gauze and slapped it on him, securing it with a strip of duct tape.

I cleaned the counter, kneaded the dough, and had an internal angry monologue with myself about how none of this would have happened if Tony hadn’t been so hell-bent on making pizza.

Back to the store I went to stare at the mile-long aisle of bandaid options. Thick, thin, strong, waterproof, Elsa’s face stamped on, how is one to choose? I picked a random box with a high bandaid count, got more ointment and athletic tape and went back home.

I had just poured a glass of wine and sat down when Tony unpacked the groceries and asked where the crushed tomatoes were to make the sauce… They were, of course, back at the grocery store in the canned goods aisle. We, of course, had no other tomato products in the house and so Tony made the 3rd trip to the grocery store.

In the end, the pizza was made and baked, the dough was not up to Tony’s standard but neither was the day really so it seemed appropriate. We sat down to eat just about an hour after the estimated wait time of having a pizza delivered. As I sank into my pizza coma I had to think, getting Taco Bell would have probably been the healthiest option that evening for all parties involved.

To Be Continued…

February 28, 2020

Fast food and I are not typically found in the same room but allow me to clarify; I think whatever your body tells you it needs to eat in the moment is a great choice. Most of the line cooks I know that work at busy high-in restaurants live off of Taco Bell because their days are so exhausting, demoralizing, and full of screaming sous chefs, insurmountable amounts of dinner tickets, gallons and gallons of prepped food and liquid to be hoisted, hauled, emulsified, reduced, and properly chilled down, and then at 11:00 pm when service ends they have to clean, restock, and scrub down their stations.

When they finally drag themselves out of the greasy back door into the night air they’re hit with the smell of rotting garbage. Hungry, nauseous, exhausted, and nothing in their belly but quick tastes of the same three sauces all night long to make sure they’re right before you send them out to the sous-chefs critical eyes, and a cheap beer that they chugged while scrubbing the burnt scum off the sides of the stove when dinner service ended.

They know they need food, they know in intimate detail exactly how to prepare anything they could want to eat, but they cannot even imagine doing the work of microwaving a styrofoam container of the chemically enhanced excuse for ramen. So they swing by taco bell on the way home and choke down a beefy 5 layer without tasting it. It does the job and adding a few more beers to the mixture roiling around in their stomach when they get home helps ensure they’re in enough digestive distress that they won’t want to eat anything else. The alternative to this is cocaine. Pick your poison, grey meat on a lifeless tortilla, given a good hit with the sour cream gun and a fistful of the eternal iceberg lettuce or do a line in the bathroom before you leave work.

Last Saturday, I got up early after working the night before and buzzed off to teach a sold-out Parent/Child class at The Cooking Studio. The menu was breakfast in Paris and the class went swimmingly – I speed-walked up and down the stations catching a falling crepe here, hollering across the prep table for station four to “get their hollandaise off the heat or they were going to break it,” and teaching children and parents alike how to flip a crepe in a pan. The class ended, I cleaned up, monitoring the high-schooler helping me with the class as they missed a blob of hollandaise here, a burnt-on bit of crepe batter there, and telling them for the third time to please go get the vacuum.

I discovered simultaneously the other highschooler washing dishes for my class had sent all of the instant-read thermometers through the dishwasher and had laid them neatly in a row, face-up on the drying rack, their lifeless screens staring blankly at the ceiling. We had a quick discussion about what was appropriate to put through the dishwasher, I mopped, locked up, and went home.

I had thrown out my neck earlier in the week when we had a deep clean at work where I stubbornly spent three hours scrubbing grease off the hood vents above my head and had been walking with my head at an angle ever since.
Tony and I had some friends in town visiting from Pennsylvania and they arrived to hang out shortly after I got home and we all had a nice, relaxing hour in the living room chatting and playing with their sweet one-year-old.

Around 3:30 pm, my massage therapist texted me to say she could fit me in to work on my neck if I could go right then. I said goodbye and went to get the crick in my neck fixed and an hour later I could turn my head both ways without spasming in pain.

Tony, who had also had a very busy day, was staring blankly into the computer screen when I got home and we realized it was 5:00 pm and neither of us had eaten all day. The warning lights were going off in my head and there wasn’t so much as a can of beans in the house. I suggested takeout though neither of us had eaten in so long nothing sounded good. We settled on Pizza, but our favorite pizza place had a two-hour wait time. Tony suggested Taco Bell which I immediately snubbed.

His second solution was that if I could muster up the energy to go to the store he would make his family’s homemade pizza dough from scratch. This struck me as a very bad idea but when you’re extremely hungry at the end of a long day and have just had an hour of intensive deep tissue work done near the base of your skull your decision-making skills are possibly not at their best and brightest.

To the store I went to collect toppings while Tony started the dough. The store was the worst kind of busy where people are constantly blocking the aisles, staring at the meat and produce with vacant expressions, and the pepperoni is nowhere to be found. I finally collected my loot, dragged myself through the self-checkout line and went back home. I arrived to find Tony making dough on the counter where an errant paring knife, a towel, and a loaf of sandwich bread had been sitting for the last 12 hours.

As I arrived, dumped my grocery bags on the floor and slumped into the couch Tony began sweeping the excess flour off the counter with his hands and swept his finger right into the blade of the paring knife he had just sharpened a few days hence.

Blood went everywhere and rather than being a kind and caring girlfriend I condescendingly screeched his name in disbelief. This was only mildly justified because this would be the 3rd time this week he had cut himself on a paring knife. The dough was at the stage where it needed to be kneaded NOW and Tony was desperately standing there covered in flour holding his wound closed with a wad of paper towel. I went searching for a bandaid to find that I had used the last one and not bought more. The athletic tape was nowhere to be found either so I ripped open a pack of gauze and slapped it on him, securing it with a strip of duct tape.

I cleaned the counter, kneaded the dough, and had an internal angry monologue with myself about how none of this would have happened if Tony hadn’t been so hell-bent on making pizza.

Back to the store I went to stare at the mile-long aisle of bandaid options. Thick, thin, strong, waterproof, Elsa’s face stamped on, how is one to choose? I picked a random box with a high bandaid count, got more ointment and athletic tape and went back home.

I had just poured a glass of wine and sat down when Tony unpacked the groceries and asked where the crushed tomatoes were to make the sauce… They were, of course, back at the grocery store in the canned goods aisle. We, of course, had no other tomato products in the house and so Tony made the 3rd trip to the grocery store.

In the end, the pizza was made and baked, the dough was not up to Tony’s standard but neither was the day really so it seemed appropriate. We sat down to eat just about an hour after the estimated wait time of having a pizza delivered. As I sank into my pizza coma I had to think, getting Taco Bell would have probably been the healthiest option that evening for all parties involved.

To Be Continued…

Savannah Says...

Subscribe for more!

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Tessie Comes to Portland
Recipe Fails and Walmart Woes
A Culinary Cabaret
A Bag of Bananas & a Bottle of Tamari
The House, the Dogs, and the Cars

No comment yet, add your voice below!


Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Shopping cart