Monday, November 22, 2010

Uncle Mike's Pizza

Do you have an Uncle Mike?
I feel like almost everyone has an Uncle Mike.

My Uncle Mike is awesome.
He's Italian.
He comes from the classic tight-knit family.
They owned a few pizza joints in Florida for quite a few years and he knows how to make a good pie.

Somehow, with my cunning 'you-love-your-niece-don't-you?' ways, I convinced him to give me the top secret family pizza recipe.

My little sister and I tried to re-create some of our favorite girlhood memories of pizza night with Uncle Mike...sans Uncle Mike.

Here's how pizza night would start:
Us: Uncle Mike can we make pizza tonight...Please, please, puuuuuhhhhleeease???
(annoying, I know.)
Uncle Mike: I'm not sure I have everything we need to make it.
Us: We can go to the store. Please, please, puuuuuhhhhleeeease?!?!
U.M: I'm not sure we have the time...
Us: Yes we have time. Please, please, puuuuuhhhhleeeease?!
...and so on.
Uncle Mike finally says "yes" (which, I have a feeling he was planning on the entire time) and we proceed to make some of the best pizza and even better memories.

Flour-doused counters. The intoxicating smell of yeast. Spreading the sauce. Sprinkles of cheese.
The perfect pie emerging from the oven.

The dough.
There is a secret ingredient.
An unexpected, fun secret ingredient.
You won't guess it...

...and I'm not telling.
I'd risk some sort of Italian smack-down if I let the secret ingredient fly.
The secret is safe with me.

My Mama's hands...kneading the dough.
Those hands mean love.

Uncle Mike always says to spread the sauce in a circle.
So, in a circle we spread.

And sprinkle the cheese.
Little did we know there was a grave mistake being made at this point in the process.
The pizza screen was wet when we put the dough on it.
Do you know what that means?
It means this:

We were so excited to get this beauty out of the oven and devour.
But it was stuck, impossibly stuck, to the pizza screen.
So, we did what any other self-respecting pizza lover would do.
We picked off the pick-able pieces and munched.

And then we threw the pizza screen away.
Completely ruined my mom's screen.
(Sorry, mom...)

So we made a new plan:
Use baking sheets and make rectangular pizzas.
Not quite the circular perfection of our youth, but still good.
We laughed at what Uncle Mike would say about our blunder...

...and our resulting strange looking pizzas.

They may not be pretty.
Definitely not the beauties we helped craft when we were little girlies.
But, oh heavens, did they taste good.

We've decided that a pizza night is in order every month or two.
Thanks, Uncle Mike.
Your secret is under lock and key.
: )

photos credited to Alli.


Alexandria said...

yay, finally!!! i have been waaaaiting for this post! i love it. your words are perfect.

and i must say ... we have the BEST uncle mike there is.

Katie said...

Um, YUM.

Burkinator said...

No worries. My Italian grandma always made hers on a cookie sheet. It's upstate NY Italian-style. The local pizzerias make them in sizes called half sheet and full sheet (which was so huge it was also called a party pizza). :)

Amanda said...

Hey! My uncle Mike owns a pizzeria! The sauce is soooo good. I'm afraid to ask for the recipe though!

uncle mike said...

My dearest Ashley and Alli - It has been a long time since I have wept with joy, but I find myself wiping away my tears as I read this blog. I am thrilled to know that our pizza memories are not one sided! I have enjoyed every moment spent making pizza, riding in the boat, playing games, and just watching you both grow up to be the lovely women you are today. I look forward to many more memories!!! You will never know just how much I love you, and how much I have loved being your Uncle Mike!!!