Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pizza Fridays

Friday night is pizza night in our house. Always (almost). And, of course, I make everything from scratch. The dough is started while the two eldest darlings are at school. It rises and falls until I pick them up from school, as they wait expectantly for pizza night. The dough is rolled and topped with either homemade pizza sauce or garlic and olive oil, depending on the topping combination. Most Fridays it is some variation of red sauce, spinach, roasted zucchini and onion, feta, and mozzarella cheese. This Friday it was artichoke, roasted veggies, ham, and mozzarella. It was divine.

I adore family traditions. I was raised by two marvelous parents who, unfortunately, prided themselves on their lack of staunch traditions. We might have turkey for Thanksgiving, or we might have pizza. We might travel for hours to dine with extended family, or we might eat alone, just the four of us, at Picadilly Cafeteria (I was mortified that someone might see us, the wandering gypsies of Thanksgiving Day). And these same parents were always slightly confused as to why their tradition-craving daughters balked at their sometimes randomness.

And so we eat pizza, every Friday. Just as we did as I was a girl. And I gasped as I rolled dough this Friday, wondering how it was that these two fun-loving, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants parents of mine had a tradition as (almost) set in stone as my own. And then I remembered. It was not always this way. I was raised in the country, on a small farm perched on a hill surrounded by both fields and forest. It was an enchanted way to grow. We ran free in the woods in the evenings, my sister and I, carving fairy lands under trees, picking flowers, exploring of uncharted lands. In the mornings, we awoke early, before the sun dared to dapple our windows, to make the hour-long drive to school, to town.

As much as we loved our surroundings, this country life, city life existance, there were two things we craved:
cable television, as it could not be had where we lived (clearly, these were the olden days), and pizza delivery. No pizza man in his right mind would drive as far out as we lived, and so a thin, frozen pizza with tiny squares of greasy pepperoni was the only sort of pizza we knew as children. But the idea of someone delivering food right to our door was positively amazing.

Years passed, and my father's job took us far away from our little farm. We moved states away from the only land I'd ever known, the land I could not imagine myself without, to the city. City far removed from any small farm or woods for wandering. It was a strange, surreal life, trying to fit in to a culture that was so strange and busy and cramped.

But as soon as we were settled, we suddenly had the two things we had always lacked: the blaring of cable television, and the Friday delight of the pizza delivery man ringing our doorbell. And so it became, as a fourteen-year-old girl, that my family gained a tradition. We ordered pizza almost every Friday night, the consolation prize for those ripped up and replanted. And oh, the freshly-delivered deliciousness. I'm quite sure it is much more of a delight when you have pined for it for so very long.

And so I make pizza every Friday night, binding together past and present, hoping that some day my little ones will roll and flour, every Friday night, with their own little ones, and tell the stories of their youth, and a God who is faithful.