--Big Brother and the Princess waiting for the pizzas to be cooked, and the snow to stop. New Year's Eve, 2008
When I was a little girl I watched my maternal grandfather make pizzas for the family every New Year's Eve. He was a product of The Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw describes. Grandpa continued this tradition because it reminded him of his mother, who started it many years earlier. He said that when he rolled out the dough, he could feel her nearby.
One year when I was a teenager, he wrote down the recipe on Grumman note paper. I still have the handwritten recipe, although Grumman's and grandpa are physically gone. When I look at his handwriting, I know he's still with me and it is very comforting. The day he wrote down the recipe I knew he was doing it for posterity. Grandpa had a way of leaving a paper trail of himself, dating and labeling everything, with some secret intent. So now, every year since about 2001, I make the pizzas.
This year I left my handwritten cookbook at my mother's house, but I don't need it. I can see grandpa's writing, all capitals, printed neatly and deliberately, in my mind's eye. I roll out the dough while listening to an audio version of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina on my new Ipod. I remember grandpa's flour-covered fingers and smile, a little teary. The kids are looking over my shoulder. I'm taking this family tradition into the next millennium.
Above: Making the pizzas, New Year's Eve 2008
---Making the Pizzas, New Year's Eve 2007
Here's the recipe.
- Five Pounds of Pizza Dough
- 2 pounds mozzerella
- 1 pound parmesan
- Italian Seasoning
- 1-2 jars tomato sauce, or homemade
- Any chopped up cooked meat. I used ham this year.
- Peanut Oil (1 gallon)
- Deep Fyer
- Let dough rise overnight in bowls covered with dish towels.
- Turn on the deep fryer and fill to line with oil. Then cover the top with a wire mesh splatter protector thing.
- Set up trays lined with paper towels for pizzas as they come out of fryer.
- Roll dough into loaves. Cut loaves into seven or eight pieces. Then make each piece round and very flat with the rolling pin. Use lots of flour.
- Fill each circular piece of dough with cheese, seasoning, meat and sauce, then fold over like a calzone and seal with a fork or a real pastry sealer tool if you have one.
- Drop one or two pizzas into the deep fryer and cook until brown, turning once. Let cool on paper towels.
(Warning: If you eat this high cholesterol dish more than once a year, you may be dead before 2010.)
Happy New Year!