Ode to Pizza
Who else loves Pizza?! I don't know many people who don't. It's almost as American as a hotdog. (Pizza in Europe though...whole other level of amazing!) It was a once-a-week and once-on-the-weekend meal for the Becker household growing up. My Dad made his own crust in his trusty bread machine. He always kept one "tame" for my sister and I...pepperoni and cheese (my favorite). He and my mom loved all the vegetable toppings and he even liked anchovies.
I almost always happened that when I would have hot lunch pizza at school (yes the square usually gross looking but surprisingly satisfying kind), I'd come home and he'd be topping our pizzas in preparation for dinner that night. Double pizza for the WIN!
One of my funniest pizza memories was again during cross country in high school. We ran in a meet in Wisconsin Dells every October. This was a full 3 hour bumpy bus ride late on Friday night. We had strict orders to NOT tire our legs out in the water park that night and be in bed early. The race was Saturday morning and it was always FREEZING! Then came post race lunch....Pizza Pub (a buffet!). To a small town high school kid who didn't get out much...this place was heaven. We would all eat so. much. pizza: Multiple plates and trips to the buffet. We would attack if a new pizza was put up on the buffet. They had the best dessert pizza too. There is no hunger like a post race hunger and this place met and exceeded my pizza craving.
Also during high school, I took a trip with my Aunt Karen to New York City when I turned 16 and she introduced me to the "walking-folded-up" pizza. I thought this was the coolest thing ever. One huge piece of New York's finest on a paper plate from a little place to small to even sit down and eat. We took the crust and folded it in half to create an almost taco-like shape and then chowed down- while walking in a huge bustling city as a 16 year old from a small town. My year was made!
I remember as a little kid when my grandparents would visit us in Peshtigo ordering the "football" pizza from Luigi's. It was as big as the table and of course shaped like a football! My Grandpa Gary was always very impressed :) My parents also really enjoyed the "par-baked" pizza from Brother's 3 restaurant in Marinette. They both worked close and would pick up on their way home. They do not skimp on toppings...one of my favorites too. And, we can't forget about Rocky Rococo. Because my mom and dad grew up in the Madison area, they were huge fans. We didn't get it unless we were there. I remember my grandparents taking my sister and I. We would also always pick it at the mall food court although Green Bay (the closest real mall at 45 miles away) only had Sabaro. We had to go to Appleton to get it in the mall LOL. It became my go-to at Southridge Mall when I first moved to the Milwaukee area. And now, Kyle and I only use Rocky's sauce (sold at Pick n Save!) when we make pizza at home.
Kyle has also found and perfected an awesome pizza crust dough recipe he uses the kitchenaide mixer to make. He even does the throw-up-in-the-air trick chefs do at restaurants. He adds cheddar cheese to his pizzas usually which I have to admit I'm growing to like. He also introduced me to the non-jar Parmesan cheese (aka REAL Parmesan cheese!) which is a required topping in our house. He also makes the BEST Taco Pizza ever!!! Will have to share in a recipe blog. I have also tried my hand at some breakfast pizza variations. Because after pizza, breakfast is my next favorite food :)
To conclude this ode to pizza...I mentioned that my Dad had a "trick" when topping a pizza with pepperonis. He always went in this order...sauce, pepperoni, cheese on top. So, when it came out of the oven, it looked like a plain cheese pizza since the pepperonis where hidden underneath. But then, Surprise!, pepperonis when you take a bite. It didn't really make it taste any different...just a fun/different way of making a classic pepperoni pizza.