Saturday, September 01, 2007

Thoughts Outside the (Pizza) Box

From day to day my thoughts cover a fairly narrow range of subjects: I hope the traffic isn't too bad. God, am I sick of that fog. When's the last time I had a glass of water? I wonder how (insert family or friend name here) is doing. I miss Miss Kitty. Shit, this traffic sucks. Don't forget to breathe. Think blood pressure lowering thoughts. Oh shit! I forgot to (some work thing here). Breathe! Relax! Maybe I should give compact fluorescent lightbulbs one more try. I wonder if Christina Aguilera will announce her pregnancy before her water breaks. Etc.

A great way to escape the tedium of everyday thoughts and experiences is to travel. But if like me, you have limited vacation time and spend most of that time visiting family, which while wonderful is not quite a vacation, rest easy as there is another way!

A few weeks ago while eating out with Teacher, I was excited to find Pizza Today, the official magazine of the National Association of Pizzeria Operators (NAPO). Immediately I was immersed into the world of the pizzeria owner, which is not quite the carefree toss-the-dough-in-the air-while-the sauce-simmers-fragrantly-on-the-stove lifestyle I thought it was. For example, not once had I given thought to something that bedevils pizzeria owners, the gum line: the unwanted soggy layer of dough, often accompanied by a tendency of the cheese to slide right off. Gum line and slidey cheese are caused by oversaucing, an easily remedied problem once you identify the culprit.

A second article was devoted to another topic new to my worldview: peel release agents. This is the substance, usually corn meal or flour, that helps the pizza dough slide off the peel, the long-handled wooden paddle, into the stove. After debating the merits of five different release agents in excruciating detail, the author recommends three parts fine ground corn meal and one part semolina flour.

So even though I live in the bay area and the pizza, like the bagels, is unworthy of much consideration of any kind, I ended feeling rather grateful that I never had to think about the best way to store fresh mozzarella, whether lazy staff were throwing my silverware out or how to improve the relationship with my distributor. And that was a nice change of thoughts. Next time you're feeling trapped by your own boring existence, and that vacation balance refuses to budge, reach for a trade magazine. You'll be amazed at all the things you don't have to think about.

Unrelated tidbit: new season of America's Top Model starts in two weeks! And on Design Star, Kim is in the final two!!!


Kellan Rhodes said...

I enjoyed this article - good job.

Kellan Rhodes said...

I enjoyed this article - good job. And ... I too am counting down to American Idol (what does that say about us, exactly?),

Professional Critic said...

Why, thanks Kellan. I always think it is important to be up front about one's lowbrow pursuits because we all have them. People that say they don't I do believe are full of crap.