You know pizzas? Those things you eat in restaurants or that arrive at your front door in boxes?
Well, I have always liked them – especially, perhaps, in Italy on a sunny day under the shade of an umbrella on an elegant vine lined avenue somewhere in Umbria with a nice bottle of Chianti.
As far as I am concerned though pizzas are like nuclear reactors, television sets and weapons of mass destruction. I know what they are but I have no idea how to make them.
On Saturday this changed. No I still don’t know about most of the above but I did get to make my first very own pizza and it isn’t nearly as easy you might think.
I am not a good cook. Well I am not a cook at all really but a group of male friends and neighbours have started a Men’s Pie Club where we meet up about once a month for what was originally homemade pork pies and loads of beer but which, this time has expanded to include the pizza and loads of beer.
In my case, ten weeks into my alcohol-free life, it was pizza and tap water even though I toppled very nearly at the sight of that barrel of our excellent local bitter beer.
I thought I would make the planned pizza in the afternoon – between going to the gym and the evening event itself. Three and a half hours later – yes, you did read that – three and a half hours later the magnificent pizza pictured above emerged from my oven to give me one of the proudest moments of my life. It was up there along with the time I managed to stand up on a surfboard and when I steered a tugboat for a short distance up, or was it down, the Mississippi river.
I, wolfiewolfgang, have managed to make a pizza which not only looked as beautiful as a field of lambs when you’ve missed breakfast but which actually tasted as good too. Everyone ate and enjoyed it.
It is so complicated though. I had no idea there would be all that business of letting the yeast rise, putting things in bowls for an hour and then all that kneading of the dough where you get as sticky as a group of three year olds. It was backwards and forwards between bowls, flour everywhere and lots of cutting up ingredients into small pieces.
I thought it must be easier just to pick up a phone and dial the local delivery service but if I had done that I wouldn’t have glowed with pride when I arrived, very very late, at the pizza night with my steaming and delicious-smelling dish.
I could get in to this cooking lark. I might try a steak and kidney pudding next time then I might have a go at a nuclear reactor. No, only joking Mr President.