Pizza Forever!

Full Stomach, Fuller Heart

(an occasional series)

It’s been called the world’s most perfect food. Why? Apparently, because it includes every taste and texture we crave, all in one dish: sweet, savory, chewy, crunchy. Oh yeah, and cheese, tons of cheese. What’s not to love? And yet, when I first tried pizza I didn’t like it. My primitive kid-buds preferred squishy-sweet Chef Boyardee spaghetti out of a can. But a million new taste receptors later, I tried it again again, and loved it.

By the time I was in high school, 19th century beer-hall-themed “pizza parlors” had become a thing (go figure). They had communal tables full of people singing along to tack pianos. And big, thin, crunchy pizzas, along with foaming pitchers of soda and beer. Pizza parlors were tailor-made for groups, too. Birthday parties, girl scouts. Or, in our case, high school drama geeks.

We’d just finished opening night of the anti-racist musical fantasy Finian’s Rainbow. In it, I played Og the leprechaun, and my buddy Mike played the leader of a black gospel group. Just for fun, we decided to go to the cast party at our local Pizza Parlor in costume and make-up.

Our little suburb had no black people. So Mike, whose Greek heritage and nearly-African-American hair-itage were the closest thing we had, got the part. With the right make-up he actually made a rather dapper black man.

Our little burb also had no openly gay people. So when a black dude and his white, cross-dressing boyfriend—decked out in green eye-shadow and cute, pointy little shoes—walked in arm-in-arm, well…let’s just say the music stopped.

We sat down amid the after-football crowd, who began to rumble. Loudly. But then we got up and moved to the drama crowd table. Our fellow actors roared with delight. Our drama teacher, Mr. Baker, whispered, “Gutsy, boys, very gutsy.” Then he grinned. Loudly.

A few years later I discovered real pizza—thick, chewy, crunchy, tomato-y, and profoundly cheesy–and I fell deeply in love. I began ordering it every Friday night. Whether with friends or alone.

When I got married, my wife became my permanent Friday Night Pizza date. And a few years further on, each of our toddler daughters tried their first solid food on a Friday night. And they too fell in love with pizza. After all, what’s not to love?

I’ll probably be toothlessly gumming pizza when I take my final breath, because, after all…

It’s the world’s most perfect food.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Pizza Forever!

  1. I agree Mitch. Pizza truly is the perfect food. If I had my way, I would dispense with the turkey idea on Thanksgiving, make (or order) a few pizzas and just enjoy my family without all the trappings of fussing in the kitchen. My husband Wayne and I eat it at least once a week…gluten-free now, but still my favorite meal. We go on a weekly date night too, and I’m always agreeable when he says, “How ’bout pizza tonight?”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. tidalscribe says:

    It’s hard to believe now, but when I was a teenager in Australia I had not heard of Pizza. When one of the guys at youth group said let’s go to Pizza Hut ( destination the other side of Perth from my suburb ) I wondered what strange place this might be! When I took my first bite I was in heaven and took the leftover home for breakfast. No pizza since has quite come up to the memory of the first. But pizza places are such a great go to for families, our youngest was in Pizza Hut by 6 weeks old.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember Shakey’s Pizza Parlors, but I hung out at a local pizza place in my neighborhood (in high school). In Detroit, we had Buddy’s and Shield’s Pizza as our two main competitors. My dad was a Shield’s fan, but I have become quite a Buddy’s fan since I moved back to Michigan. I tease my sister that my niece’s first words were “pizza man,” which tells you how my family feeds about pizza. My friend Jim and I did pizza on Friday nights; it is one of the traditions I miss since he died. Thanks for the memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I remember going to Shakeys pizza! Yes the perfect food. Around here my wife and I do Sunday night as pizza night.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, this brings back memories. I grew up in the time era of a state-at-home mother who grew most of our vegetables in a garden, and all meals were home-cooked. So, we maybe, just maybe went out to eat at a restaurant two or three times per year. Shakey’s pizza was a favorite place, when we did, the pizza was great but I think secretly it was my parent’s way of getting a two-for-one deal. They paid for the pizza and beverages and for the same price exposed their small-town uncultured children to the refinement of a “live music” performance in the big city. (See my wink and hear my laugh.) The Shakey’s in our area had banjo players and sing-a-long music.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Krista says:

    My favorite food 🍕🍕

    Liked by 1 person

  7. revruss1220 says:

    AGREED! And those pictures of the Shakey’s guy with the red and white striped shirt really takes me back, too. Thanks for this tasty memory-maker.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pizza? Did someone say pizza?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. jeffw5382 says:

    Oh boy, do I remember Shakey’s How about Farrell’s Ice Cream and the trough?

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Beck says:

    I couldn’t agree more!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ann Coleman says:

    I remember when I thought that the Chef-boy-ar-dee pizzas we had on Sunday night were a real treat…and the only cheese we put on them was the parmeasan (however you spell that) cheese that came with the package and tasted like cardboard. Then I discovered Pizza Hut pizza and liked it so much I worked there one summer. Later still I discovered real Italian pizza and have been totally in love with it ever since!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. boromax says:

    Great story, Gutsy Mitch. I LOVED Shakey’s, and our thespian troupe repaired to Shakey’s after our shows in costume and make-up many times. Love it. (btw, that was in Albuquerque, NM; early ’70s).

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pizza and peanut butter (usually not eaten at the same time) have fueled countless generations of grad students.  Scientific progress would grind to a halt w/o them.

    I am not ambitious enough to make my own whole-wheat pizza dough, but I found that some whole-grain wraps (or whole-wheat flatbreads) make pretty good no-fuss crusts.  (The edges will burn if not liberally slathered with sauce.)  With idiosyncratic toppings and much less salt and sat fat than anybody who sells pizza uses, I can enjoy pizza made at home way more often than I would dare eat what a pizzeria or a supermarket sells.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Pizza Forever! – Black6entertainment

  15. One of my friends loves pizza so much that once he scratched his tonsils to puke as he had to empty his stomach to eat pizza placed in front of him!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I loved Shakey’s as a kid! Why don’t all the old franchises taste as good as they did when we were young? Well, I guess I can answer my own question!

    Liked by 1 person

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