A friend and I were discussing a local pizza place. He knew the owner and mentioned they'd tried expanding to a few other towns but the other places had flopped. "Their pizza is pretty good," he said. I guess my expression showed I thought otherwise because he added with a grin and a twinkle, at least I think so."
I laughed at that. "You know how pizza is."
I dealt with the pizza taste labyrinth with a group of other couples last month. You'd think that agreeing where to have a pizza would be an easy Q and A. Just deciding to go get pizza somewhere was a major feat of consensus.
I would descibe pizza as a dough base with sauce, cheese and toppings. It's baked for a while. The dough gains crispness, the cheese melts, and the toppings and sauce warm.
But it is not that simple.
There's always been the question of toppings. My wife is a vegetarian. That limits her from eating sausage and other meat toppings. I enjoy veggie pizzas and have no problem skipping meat. Other people also seem okay with veggie pizzas. We're amused, in fact, that when she ordered veggie pizzas for parties along with other pizzas, the veggie pizzas usually went first.
Toppings are simple matters now, unless you encounter people who insist on being traditionalists, scorning fruit, spinach and vegetable toppings like corn, brocolli and dried tomatoes. You must also choose from white, wheat, or gluten free crusts. Some offer corn crusts. Besides the crust's ingredients, select your thickness - thin or thick, extra crispy or chewy. Sauces swerve between white cream sauce, traditional tomato, BBQ and pesto.
Even mushrooms, olives and onions requires consultation as you decide which kind of each is preferred. Cheese can add complexities never considered in my childhood. We put mozz on and we liked it! Now there are four, five and six cheese pizzas. I'm sure someone somewhere is already offering a ten cheese pizza in the escalating pizza wars.
Those matters are preliminary topics. We're only starting to slice and dice needs and tastes. Besides toppings, cheeses and sauces, the quantity of each comes into analyses. So does the sauce's sweetness, tartness, and thinness.
With these choices out of the way, locations, parking, service and ovens were discussed. The conversation probably took fifteen minutes, maybe more or less, and I'd lost interest. While I have pizza preferences, it's not that big a deal to me as long as there's a good beer available.
It's my firm belief that a good beer makes any pizza taste better. While all agreed the pizza that night was very good, I sipped my pale ale and nodded.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com