Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lazy Day Pizza

I made homemade pizza last night. I've been wanting to make it for a very long time, but I've been either too busy or too lazy. The recipe I used is actually called Lazy Day Wheat Pizza, and since it was a cold ice and snow day yesterday, I thought it would be the perfect time to finally cook it. I had a lot of fun making it too.

It was the pizza to trump all pizzas. Much better than the soggy stuff we got at Happy Joes the night before last, much more wholesome than anything from Pizza Hut or anywhere else. I told my sister over the phone that I was making pizza for supper and she groaned. "We just had pizza for lunch!" she said. But I was sure that mine would be much better than any cafeteria pizza. I know I will be making this much more often. Here is the recipe:

Pizza crust:
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 packet active yeast
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup hot water
1 T oil
1 T honey

Pizza sauce:

1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
1/4 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. pepper

Stir flour, yeast, and salt together. Add water, oil, and honey. Mix well. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Remove from bowl and place dough on greased pizza pan. Spread dough out thin enough to cover bottom of pan and form an edge. Let rise in warm oven for 5 to 10 minutes with a towel placed over the crust. Remove from oven and spread with sauce, toppings, and cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 425 degrees.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

And Nothing Was Simple There

Before I started reading A Moveable Feast I didn’t understand Ernest Hemingway. I didn’t care enough to understand him anyway. I didn’t get why everyone made such a big deal about him. Maybe its because the first contact I had with his writing was The Old Man and the Sea in high school where I was too impressionable back then, and although I didn’t complain, everyone else did about what a boring piece of writing they had to read. And so they didn’t. But I did, although I can’t remember if I tried to understand it or not, then.

I picked up A Moveable Feast because someone had made a reference to it in their book, and I wanted to know what they were talking about. It’s the kind of book that one can sit comfortably with, and I’ve made it a ritual to sit with it and a cup of tea in the morning to suddenly find myself in Paris or the Austrian mountains and for once see a clear picture of a person who writes because he has to, not for money which he probably couldn’t stand the thought of, but because it was in his blood. Because everything was a story to him and his best friends were pencil and paper so he could get it all down.

He had a funny way of looking at people, like he didn’t miss a thing and he noticed everything about them on the first meeting. I never really knew that first impressions meant anything until he described a person looking “marked for death” or how a man looked rather nasty, not evil, but nasty, and the way these first impressions made him perceive these people from then on. He always seemed to know what was going on and what people were talking about, even though they didn’t say it directly, and I also found that he had a great capacity for being a friend even if he didn’t enjoy being with a person all that much. On the other hand, he could be an angry, intolerant fiend if the right person came along to press his buttons.

He has a way of describing the every day and the mundane in a way that makes you care, and then at the end he’ll throw a twist in that makes you read the paragraph over to figure out the mystery of it that he won’t say flat out.

He is honest in every observation and thought and word.

“I knew I must write a novel…I would put it off though until I could not help doing it. I was damned if I would write one because it was what I should do if were to eat regularly. When I had to write, then it would be the only thing to do and there would be no choice. Let the pressure build. In the meantime, I would write a long story about whatever I knew best.”

“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there, not even poverty, nor sudden money, nor the moonlight, nor right and wrong nor the breathing of someone who lay beside you in the moonlight.”

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Today is an ocean day. I could feel it when the sun glinted through the window and opened up the call of the ocean within me. The ocean has been calling me for some time. I realized yesterday that it has been calling me since I was eight years old and saw it for the first and only time. I stood on the rocky shore of Virginia with the wind against my face and hair and a hurricane brewing in the sky, and I was not afraid.

Every March or April when Spring is just around the bend and the wind blows in both warm and cool at the same time and the trees are bare but beautiful beneath the golden sky, this feeling comes. I can only describe it as an unexplained joy, the kind you feel for no reason at all. It makes you glad to be alive, fully aware of that moment and no other, when your blood is flowing healthfully through your veins and your nerves are conversing calmly with one another. I didn’t know it then, but it was the wind bringing the ocean to me in the only way it could.

That is how I feel in this instant. However, it is in the deep of winter, the cold is unrelenting, and I am inside so I can not feel any wind. But I can see the trees, and the clouds are silver and gold with bits of pale blue appearing gently above the horizon. And when the wind chimes ding softly, I am sure that it is an ocean day.

Monday, January 3, 2011

See-Through Curtains

Memories are foolish, the girl thought. Foolish like the curtains in her room that people on the outside could see through. The girl liked some memories, like when she was little and would ride her bike down the street without a care in the world. And the way she would play with the neighbor kids, but wouldn’t give one thought to whether they were weird or poor or too good for her.

Some memories the girl hated. Like her first kiss, and her first boyfriend (who didn’t give her that first kiss) or the way the halls of her high school made her feel small and unimportant. In some ways, moving back to her hometown felt like living inside a bad memory.

The girl loved and hated some memories at the same time, but in those instances, hate is a different form of love often mistaken for regret or a strange sadness. A man the girl loved had taken a part of her heart. Sometimes she wondered if she really loved him or if she loved the way he made her feel, and was there really a distinction between the two? The man was strong and smart and surprisingly sensitive. Perhaps the most surprising of all was that he looked twice when she walked by. Yes, that was the most unexplainable part.

When he looked at her, his eyes were pages that she could read volumes upon. At other times, his eyes flipped like a trick mirror. One instant, teasing and flippant, the next serious with desire. She saw the desire, and it both scared, confused, and pleased her all at once.

Foolish, really, she informed herself regularly so that she wouldn’t think of him anymore. It never would have worked. Him and me. The curtains lifted with the breeze coming through the window. The girl looked at them in irritation. It is time for new curtains, she thought. Ones dark as a wall this time. But she knew the curtains in her mind would keep letting certain uncomfortable memories through.