A few months ago, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is about the author’s family’s decision to move to a farm in West Virginia and subsist almost entirely on home or locally grown and produced foods for one year. I found their commitment to organic, local, and sustainable food to be incredibly inspiring. And while my lack of green thumb and current residence in a high rise apartment building without outdoor space to call my own does not really facilitate my ability to grow food, reading this book did reignite my motivation to purchase local food and make things from scratch whenever possible.
One of the Kingsolver family’s traditions was to have homemade pizza every Friday night. For many people, making pizza at home means throwing a frozen pie into the oven. The somewhat more motivated might use pre-made crust, jarred sauce, and some shredded processed mozzarella. The Kingsolver family, however, took this about 100 steps further, even making their own cheese and growing their own tomatoes! I think that that pizza is one of the most universally loved foods throughout much of the world – even my father who doesn’t like tomato sauce or cheese (I know, hard to believe, right?) ranks pizza on the top of his list! But it also often falls under the unhealthy category, presumably because it generally consists of white crust loaded with tons of cheese and other unhealthy toppings. But just like mac & cheese, I believe pizza can be a very wholesome meal when made properly (whole grain crust, moderate cheese) and topped with veggies and/or served with a big salad.
One day I hope to eat a pizza in which every component was created from basic ingredients in my home. Before reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I didn’t even know it was possible to make cheese at home, but I now have a cheesemaking book tucked away on my shelf for a future project :). But just as every journey starts with a single step, I’ve decided to start with figuring out how to make my own wholesome crust. Given my lack of dough making experience (I have never made anything using yeast!) I have a feeling it’s going to take me a while to get this right.
Please feel free to join me on this pizza journey as I document each step along the way in a few blog posts to come over the next several weeks, or months, or maybe years 🙂
Read on for part 2 – the ingredients!