I was out of the house last night, just finishing a few late-evening errands that are typical for me after the kids have gone to bed. I was about to head home with a bottle of questionbale vino for the Puddinette and I to share that wine purists would almost certainly turn up their noses at. But we typically end up going the sangria route anyway, so I’m not worried about impressing anyone. The bottle had a cork and was the contents were made from grapes. That’s good enough for me.
Anyway, I got a phone call from home, and my wife informed me that I needed to Get. Home. Quickly. Her voice sounded strange, I thought somewhat urgent, and I immediately feared that one of the puddinlings had either commenced Exorcist-style vomiting, or had decided to refuse bedtime and was running about the house in a wolf suit screaming about Wild Things. In that case, I assumed my presence would be required to apply some Parental Smack Down.
Luckily, that was not the case. Before hanging up, my wife assured me that all was well and that she sounded odd only because she was laughing out loud.
A few minutes after my return, four young ladies appeared at our front door with a special delivery for me. I can only imagine what the neighbors thought.
The quartet of ancillary cousins handed me a lovingly wrapped foil package of Uncle J’s Magic Pizza. With the pizza came two requirements: 1) I was expected to write a full, detailed review of the sample, and 2) any use of the microwave for reheating purposes would see me cutoff from any potential magic pizzas in the future.
Neither condition was required. Of course I’d be posting about the pizza now that I had an opportunity to try it, and the only pizza I’ve ever intentionally microwaved comes with a Red Baron picture on the package. I assured them I certainly wouldn’t even consider ruining the goods in such a manner.
So then, how was it?
It was some tasty goodness, indeed. The crust is a kind of middle-of-road between a thinner, chewy New York-style and the thick crunchiness of a Chicago deep dish. It embodied all the best qualities of both, and was unlike any other I’d ever tried. The sauce was excellent, having just the right spicy bite, and just the right amount was applied. This is a big issue for me, because many places, especially in this area, put so much sauce on a pizza that the stuff oozes out and makes the cheese and toppings structurally unsound. Also, the sogginess. Nobody likes the soggy. The magic pizza, of course, has it just right.
Was it my favorite pizza ever? I don’t know; I have a hard time applying superlatives to anything. It was without question the best homemade pizza I’ve ever had, and I’m still trying to figure out how a home oven was used to make it. I’ll tell you one thing, though, if there was a piece still here at the house, I guarantee you I’d stop writing this very moment to eat it.
So, I guess it probably doesn’t really count fairy tears or dehydrated rainbow powder among the ingredients that make it so tasty. I can think of one magical secret ingredient, though. I won’t come right out and say what it is, since it is, after all, secret. Plus I don’t want everyone calling me a big softy. But when you look at all the times the pizza has been made and enjoyed, I imagine you’ll always find an enormous crowd of brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, mothers, fathers, nieces, nephews, and children beyond count laughing together and celebrating a great tradition.
Yeah, there’s a magical secret ingredient alright, I’m sure of it. And it starts exactly where I started all this yesterday. Simply put, it starts with the family.
But the crust recipe is pretty good too.