Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pizza memories.

Whenever I go out of town, I come back to find a pizza box in the fridge.  T likes to treat the kids to one or more meals at their favorite food places, which nearly always includes pizza.

Our family has a thing for pizza.

Long before pizza became one of three standard kid meals (with macaroni & cheese and chicken nuggets), it was date night fodder for my budget-strapped college years, a source of income during summer breaks, and a trendy must-have during the food-silly eighties.

For several summers during high school, I waitressed at the Village Inn in Goldsboro, North Carolina, earning tons in tips and taking home a fresh hot pizza as a bonus each night. (I think I may have invented thin and crispy crust, because my mom kept asking me to make the crust thinner and bake it longer.)

I was at North Carolina State University when Domino's made the brilliant leap from pick up to guaranteed-in-thirty-minutes delivery, filling dorm room trash bins and saving all-nighters from starvation. I confess that I never really liked Domino's - the crust is too chewy and the sauce not that wonderful, but it was cheap and available. When we wanted really good pizza, we walked across campus, jaywalked across Hillsborough, and lined up for Brother's or Two Guys. Just about every first date I ever went on began at one of those two restaurants.

When my husband I were first married, we traveled extensively all over the country and Canada. We loved trying old-style Chicago and New York pizzas as well as all the "new" concoctions popping up in trendy restaurants in every major city. I remember one particular brick oven corner bistro in Toronto, which featured a nicoise pizza that turned out to be really good. There were also some fairly hilarious concotions, like the place in San Francisco that thought sushi and pizza could work together. Yuk.

For several years after the kids were born, I made homemade pizza every Friday night for friends and family. Favorites became barbecued chicken and onions, goat cheese on pesto, and blonde (feta + provolone + mozzarella on olive oil and garlic). Eating out with kids in tow inevitably brought us to one of Greensboro, North Carolina's cherished pizza places, where the kids could nibble on the bland cheese they love and we could have more "grown up" variations. Pie Works, Sir Pizza, Lucky 32, and Elizabeth's . . . . yummmm.

For the past decade, we've lived in Dunwoody.  If we're tired and busy, we call Papa John's. If we're feeling celebratory or are craving a favorite offering, we head to Fellini's Mellow Mushroom, or Dagwood's. If we're feeding a group of the kids' friends, we pick up pizza. For birthdays, rain days, snow days, sick days, or busy days, there's always pizza.

We like pizza. A lot.

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