Saturday, September 13, 2014

500 Words - Day 4 - Desperately Seeking a Decent Friday Night

Desperation breeds attempt. It makes people do things they usually avoid, it unearths latent talent, gets us off the couch, makes us find jobs and research health improvements. Desperation turns us into learners and seekers. Desperation is responsible for the achievement of more than a few of the world’s impossible dreams. Desperation is fuel.

Desperation has turned me into a mad scientist. Think Back to the Future, Emmett Brown ‘crazy mad’ not Jekyll and Hyde ‘stark raving mad’ mad. Catch me on the right day I even have the hair and smell like burning circuts. I’m trying to make pizza.

I’ve got the toppings just right, the cheese, the cured sausage, vegetables, sauce, spices, the ‘just the right amount of garlic’ creamy dipping sauce for the crispy on the outside chewy in the middle crust. It’s all perfect—except that crust, the most important aspect of the pizza, the part that makes great pizza great and average pizza a disappointing expenditure of calories.

The crust I can’t get. Not anymore, not since I had to remove wheat from my diet almost two years ago. Everyone else gets the same perfected homemade crust they’ve always enjoyed, puffy and delicate, golden brown with a perfectly chewy crust, dusted with corn meal and smelling like Weston’s Bread factory on a Tuesday morning. It’s the only thing I truly, truly miss and crave and weep over.

I’ve successfully managed to simply eliminate wheat bearing foods; I eat bun-less burgers, salads instead of sandwiches and eggs sans toast. I’ve managed to find some great alternatives like rice pasta and the not horrible PC Gluten Free burger bun. I’ve learned that some products are not worth their expense, their sugar content or their dry sponge texture and flavour.

I can live with it; have been living with it and much happier for the wellness that has come along with the dietary restriction. I like being well, love it actually. Only one thing ever makes me want to slip and suffer—Pizza.

It has been easily determined that store bought GF crusts suck, that the GF offerings of most pizza joints are frozen version of the same. Cauliflower crust is a tasty alternative but doesn’t live up to the real deal; every bite a sad desperate reminder that it’s not really pizza.

I could just give-up, it would be less disappointing but I just can’t endure the thought of all of those Friday nights to come; pizza-less with nothing but the chicken wings and accompanying glass of red wine to fill the void. That’s a tall order even for the best bottle of merlot! I’m certifiably desperate.

So I broke down, got off my butt, started researching, started testing, started collecting alternative flours and recipes, started learning the ins and outs of baking Gluten Free. I’ve started practicing with pancakes and banana bread, and tortilla wraps and nann bread. My hair smokes and the dog hides under the bed but there have been some great experimental successes! – pancakes in particular. And there have been some definite failures—Pizza in particular. It’s good, but not perfect…not yet—but it will be. I’m getting closer with every attempt.

There will be pizza! and many many happy Friday nights for me in the future. Victory is not an option for the truly desperate.