Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pizza Chef For a Day, Meal for a Lifetime

Did you ever think when you walked in to get a pizza, you would be the one making it?
I didn't. But then I did.
I must say the experience was both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. There were times during the experience when I thought I might die, times when I might get hurt, or might even starve to death. But thankfully I've lived to tell the tale and write another day for you.
I'm sorry but I have come to the decision that the Pizzeria in this story will remain nameless. I thought about it for a while and after the pizzamaker was waving a large pizza cutter at me at one point, I thought it would be best if I kept it anonymous for my own safety. Anyway, the important part is not where the story took place but that it happened.
My stomach was leading me on a journey that night but I didn't know where. It was confused and stupid in it's delirious hungry state. It was angry and I couldn't argue with it.
It first led me to a "Pizza and Sports Bar." Something wasn't right. There were neonazis standing outside with backwards hats and gold chains and I wasn't sure how they would react to my hunger. For all I knew it could end bad. I peered in the window, just in case my first instinct was wrong, but then I agreed with it. This place didn't care about pizza! They only cared about pooltables and neonazis and TVs. I needed something else. I needed a place with passion.
I tuppled down the road and found a place that seemed to care more about the food itself. It even announced itself as "[owner's name]'s [locus] of PIZZA." I could not go wrong.
I pushed through the doors in a cold sweat that was now warming up either because of the rise in temperature or my pounding anticipation of the feast. Two people stared back at me, unsure if I was real. The place was vacant. "Hey you want a beer?" the Pizza Maker asked me. "Yes." I said.
The next two hours were strange. I think it is all too complicated to explain but I will try.
I sat waiting with the beer. It was uncertain whether I should order or not order. I was getting mixed signals and luckily the beer that I had seemed to be fooling my angry stomach while it suckled on the beer that trickled down, like a hungry baby.
The pizzamaker was sitting with me, having a drink and explaining how he shouldn't have been there. He was not in a good state to be working and the boss just left him in charge. While telling me this, another pizzamaker (who was not working) showed up to check on pizzamaker #1. Pizzamaker #1 asked me probably 3 times what I wanted. Each time I said "A pizza with salami and banana peppers (hoping that my stupid stomach would not hear me and get more angry that I had to repeat myself). Pizzamaker #1 told me "Alright, but you have to touch the banana peppers." At first I thought this was a dare but then I realized that he wanted me to put the banana peppers on the pizza before he baked it. I said "Okay."
Pizzamaker #1 went back to the kitchen, leaving pizzamaker #2 talking to me. After a long time, pizzamaker #2 told me "Hey, you gotta remind him about your pizza or he will forget." I went to the kitchen and asked if he was making the pizza. He said, "Hey come around here."
I entered the kitchen, figuring this was the time I should put the banana peppers on, but nothing had been done.
He asked me if I wanted to make the pizza. I said "Okay."
I had never been invited to take part in the creation of my own food in a restaurant and I knew this would be an experience I could not miss. My blood boiled ready to eat my very own pizza.
I opened the door of a refrigerator and got out a pre-rolled dough with pre-spread sauce and cheese. I piled it high with salami that tasted like baloney. I found the jar of banana peppers (the ones that pizzamaker #1 said he was scared of) and piled them on as well. I did not know what to do next and this is the part when pizzamaker #1 started to threaten me with the pizzacutter. Like I said, this experience was hard to explain and I have no idea why that part happened. Luckily, pizzamaker #2 came in to diffuse the situation. I took the pizza and flipped it into the hot oven as instructed by both pizzamakers.
After a short wait, pizzamaker #2 told me my pizza was ready, brought me back to the kitchen and shoveled the pizza out. My stomach was yelling and my bowels were beginning to churn in bipolar excitement as well.
I ate the pizza. It wasn't the most exciting pizza, but there was something extra special about it. The dough was crispy and airy, the cheese hot and melting, the banana peppers sweet and spicy. The sauce was a little dry but I didn't care. I dove into it burning my mouth because I was too impatient to experience my own concoction. I was both food critic and chef, critiquing my own work which like I said was not that exciting but something very exciting at the same time. The oozy grease and crispy-soft crust slithered down comfortingly into my small intestine. My guts were proud of me.
I paid the bill which was the normal amount (which didn't seem quite right since I did all the work) but I didn't care ... it was worth it. If you go to an asian restaurant with a hot pan on the table or some fancy steak place in Banff that has coals for you to cook your own steak on, you have to pay, right? So why not pay to cook your own pizza?
Like I said, there is no point in telling you what the restaurant was, because you will likely not be able to have the same experience I did, anyway. All I am saying is keep your eyes open for a once in a lifetime opportunity like this, and don't let it pass you up. Your bowels will thank you too.

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