Family, Life

Choose your own adventure: Wattses’ pizza toppings

06.16.09 | 3 Comments

Around here we LOVE pizza. It’s Zoe’s number one request for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack most days. Frozen, make our own, or restaurant-bought, we definitely eat our share.

Roughly twice a week, it goes something like this:

Me, realizing it’s getting late and we probably ought to eat something, sucking up my feeling of dread and wondering why it comes as a surprise to me every single night that an evening meal is inevitable, putting on a very convincing and confident air, beginning cheerfully: What do we want for dinner?

or Joel, squinting from the computer and scratching his mane: Are we going to eat sometime tonight?

or Zoe, from the stroller, returning from our walk: I want dinner. I’m hungry.

Me: Well, I thought about lemon pepper salmon with quinoa and spinach, or I could cook some chicken something, or we still have leftover turkey chili… (trailing off as the cheerfulness fades and is replaced by more dread as no one perks up at my suggestions)

Joel: Again? Why don’t we ever have beef? I’m wasting away here. How about hamburgers? Or spaghetti and meatballs? Or beef flavored hamburger helper with grey beef gravy and a side of beef?


Zoe: I know! I know! How ’bout piz-za?!

Instant sunshine on all our faces. It’s perfect! Zoe’s a genius! Let’s have pizza, indeed!

Here we insert the mind-numbing discussion of the source of said pizza, during which I vow for the fortieth time to keep homemade dough on hand so we don’t have to wait forever or spend dough at a restaurant or wedge giant boxes of sodium-laden discs into our freezer.

In the absence of the ingredients/time for homemade or frozen in the freezer, where do the Wattses get their pizza? We might:

1. Decide to visit the local New York Pizzeria, where all our pizza dreams are fulfilled and there’s Coke on tap; each person gets the giant slice of his or her choosing, and two or more items from the table are knocked to the ground in an embarrassing display in a mildly child-hostile environment.

2. Discuss eating at the restaurant, decide we’re not up for the humiliation, and order it for pick-up. The upsides: we always have a $2 off coupon, and the leftovers make a good lunch the next day. Downside: this option also necessitates an exhausting discussion of toppings, with Joel in the corner of greasy pork/beef/mash abomination, Blake in the cheese/veggie/experimental/what Joel calls “non-pizza” corner, and poor Zoe probably wishing we’d order the damn pizza and get it in her belly five minutes ago.

Keep in mind that Zoe, who rarely eats more than a few bites of anything, loves pizza so much that she will inhale a quantity that would shame the burliest NHL player. Spiciness doesn’t bother her while she’s eating it, but we discovered that she will spit up or even vomit if the toppings are too spicy. This is unacceptable, so we make sure she gets something a little more bland.

You may have noticed that your options only include NYP pizza. This is because it puts all others to shame.

If you selected option #1, you are a winner. Any and all public humiliation is completely acceptable in exchange for NYP. Good choice!

If you selected option #2, you may or may not witness a tirade, depending on the night.

Joel believes that pepperoni is the only true and acceptable topping for pizza. He’ll consider and even eat other toppings, though each suggestion is met with, “Sure, if you want to ruin the pizza.”

In the past couple of years, we have coexisted with a compromise of turkey pepperoni on our homemade pizzas, as I will not purchase and cook with the other. I’ll even pick off real pepperoni should it suit the group, rather than be a stick in the mud.

Usually we can agree on a half pepperoni or pepperoni and sausage, half something to my liking. To both our credits, we have shared many a supreme pizza, each of us picking off the offensive items, but some nights just aren’t that simple. Ah, marriage.

My resistance to pepperoni is undoubtedly as frustrating to him as his insistence on it is to me. Neither of us is railing against a particular topping, but against the other’s infuriating stubbornness.

Truly, though, I see pizza as an opportunity for culinary experimentation, even though I recognize and wholly appreciate the beauty of a classic. Why limit yourself to one topping time after time?

Now, because I tweeted that I would, here is a list of fifty things I would rather see (and have had) on my pizza other than pepperoni. I’m including dessert pizza, because it’s awesome, too. And because I shot my mouth off and said fifty.

  1. artichokes
  2. anchovies
  3. olives
  4. onions
  5. bell peppers
  6. pepperoncini/banana peppers
  7. jalapeños
  8. fresh tomatoes
  9. grilled or shredded chicken
  10. peanuts
  11. mushrooms
  12. chicken or turkey sausage
  13. ground turkey
  14. pineapple
  15. spinach
  16. capers
  17. garlic cloves
  18. zucchini
  19. yellow squash
  20. cabbage
  21. tofu
  22. barbecue sauce
  23. basil leaves
  24. fresh mozzarella slices
  25. broccoli
  26. pesto
  27. goat cheese
  28. chives
  29. cilantro
  30. eggplant
  31. shrimp
  32. alfalfa
  33. avocado
  34. salsa
  35. scallions
  36. shallots
  37. crab
  38. calamari
  39. white sauce
  40. corn
  41. cherry tomatoes
  42. sundried tomatoes
  43. black beans
  44. pine nuts
  45. apples
  46. strawberries
  47. cream cheese
  48. chocolate
  49. kiwi fruit
  50. grapes


have your say

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. Subscribe to these comments.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>