The best pizza I ever made was in my BBQ smoker back in Idaho. I smeared a zesty tomato sauce on a dough crust, covered it with grated mozzarella cheese, Canadian bacon, bacon crumbles, sliced black olives, and pineapple tidbits. Then I placed it inside the smoker over applewood chips and charcoal. I ate the results outside, overlooking Elmira Pond and the mergansers that summered there.
Later, the Hub and I landed on Mars, which was the red-hued desert landscape of southern Utah. The local pizza parlor had all the right fixings but no IPA beer. It wasn’t until then that I realized I preferred my pizza with IPA. I spent the remainder of my time in Utah, dreaming of beer and pizza.
I’m not really a pizza connoisseur. I remember my mom being the one who loved pizza, and a special trip across the border into Nevada as a child might mean getting to order pizza at Sharkey’s. She’d be sure to box up what we didn’t eat because she loved cold pizza for breakfast. That’s not something I picked up from her.
The Hub had his favorite place to go in his hometown. I’d order linguisa (Portuguese sausage) and jalapenos on my half, and he’d add mushrooms and black olives on his. It’s been so many years since I’ve had linguisa on a pizza I can’t remember why I liked it so much. These days, we like a thin crust Mediterranean pizza from downtown.
Well, not these new days, although I hear you can still order delivery.
Pizza sounds normal to me right now. Maybe it’s not food my body needs, but my mind takes comfort in its familiarity. They say apple pie is all-American. I’d say it’s a pizza pie, that is. It doesn’t matter what style, America loves pizza. Is that sentiment universal? Are there other foods that are pizza-like?
It’s been another strange week. I went for a walk last night as the setting sun lingered late, and the cold air bit at my face. The snow has pulled away from the curbs, melting more and more each day. Last weekend it rained, cleansing the grit of winter that accumulates. I have still not adjusted to walking dog-less. I turned off Roberts Street, and in my mind’s eye, I could see Bobo pulling ahead like she did our final walk together in a snowstorm.
Our dogs loved pizza crust. I think they would have loved pizza slices, but they were never offered the sampling. I’m not fond of the crust, so I was known to slip it to them. One of our daughter’s dogs, a rescue, must have tasted pizza because he’d bark at us any time we brought one home, demanding a slice.
Today, I met up with my daughter online in a video chat room for her work. She’s working from home, including teaching dance classes. I got to work with her officially, using her as my Michigan Tech source to find a contact for an article I wrote. She’s a science writer in the university’s marketing department, the director of research news. I needed a researcher to talk to about facemasks.
In three days, I interviewed five people, researched primary sources like the CDC and WHO, quoted a tweet from John Hopkins Center for Health Security, located public domain photos, arranged a photoshoot through my livingroom window, and wrote a 2,000-word article originally called, Covering Our Faces in the Keweenaw. Tonight I spent the evening back and forth with my editor, fact-checking and clarifying.
It’s an exciting article for several reasons. First, we are keeping pace with national reporting on facemasks. Second, it’s my way to get involved with my Keweenaw Strong community that has once again come together in a crisis. This time, though, we are all keeping our distances. We have local sewists teaming with local industry.
The sewing circles are working hard to prepare our area hospitals (we have four) and nursing homes for a surge in COVID-19. People are sewing 10,000 masks for medical workers and the medically vulnerable. Local industry is manufacturing aluminum pieces to go into the top of the mask to shape it to cover a person’s nose. Michigan Tech is using their labs to 3D-print face shields to go over the masks, as well as ventilators and other medical devices.
Because we are all under stay at home orders, sharing materials shows innovation, too. Tech is considered essential, but they are supported by those like my daughter, who are coordinating communication from home. The sewists have set up drop off boxes at essential businesses or porch delivery systems, coordinating with those who are traveling for essential reasons. My neighbor sits alone in her closed sewing machine store, working eight hours a day, making facemasks.
The Michigan Police caught wind of the efforts and requested facemasks for their officers in colors that match their uniforms. The sheriff’s department requested brown. This morning I saw my mail carrier drop off mail, wearing one of my neighbor’s masks. We are covering our faces and sharing the mantra: Protect you; protect me; protect the community.
If you are interested in the open-source designs, go to Maker Hub. Open-source is a system of creating new items such as facemasks to share freely and to encourage makers to improve upon the designs. It’s a massive collaboration of engineers, researchers, inventors, and entrepreneurs. The sewing circles are doing what they’ve probably have always done throughout time — collaborate to help protect their community, one stitch at a time.
American ingenuity is as amazing as pizza pie.
April 2, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes pizza. It can be an original pizza pie (or slice) or something pizza-like. Go where the prompt leads!
Respond by April 7, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form. Rules & Guidelines.
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Pizza Exchange by Charli Mills
Rosa lived with her parents in a single-wide behind the barn. Her mama hummed as she pounded tortillas and mashed a fresh pot of simmering pinto beans. After school, Rosa often went to the big house to study with Becky Ainsworth. That’s where she tasted frozen mini pizzas that left an essence of cardboard in Rosa’s mouth. One Friday, Becky suggested studying at Rosa’s home. Quickly she whispered to her mama, “Becky likes pizza.” Her mama smiled, and fried two corn tortillas crisp and flat, adding mashed pintos, olives, and queso. Becky’s eyes widened. “Best pizza ever,” she said.