The dough felt cool on my fingertips as I spread it on the baking tray. I worked on spreading it as evenly as possible without making any holes on it, even though Tonia, our curly haired Italian friend who got lashes as long as a woman’s envy and eyes that sparkle when she laughs, said small holes were alright.
It was seven in the evening but it was as bright as noon time outside. The windows were wide open and laughter rang in the house making Wilfred, Tonia’s overly enthusiastic dog, dance around in excitement, its toenails making faint clicking sound on the wooden floor as it ran from one person to the other asking for treats from obliging humans. The entire flat smelled of baking pizza, enveloping us in a warm cozy feeling of home. It took me back to my childhood days when I would come home from school to the delectable smell of freshly baked cakes and cookies. My mom can whip up anything divine in the kitchen and that includes baking cakes complete with icings and those fancy designs. She has handwritten recipe cards from way back her college days and her most used recipe was the orange chiffon cake which was the house favorite. She never bakes pizza but the one time she did, we were all present to help. My dad tried that trick where you throw the spinning dough in the air and catch it back with one hand as it continuously spins to a thin base. I remembered my mom’s half-hearted admonishment at my dad’s antics while my siblings and I laughed uproariously at the woeful looking dough that flopped back from the air. I don’t recall how the pizza tasted, though, but the happiness I felt as we sat around the table, laughing while rolling dough and offering crazy suggestions on toppings is forever etched in my mind. And yes, we put pineapple on that pizza which I recently found out was a grave transgression to a proper Italian pizza.
I continued kneading and stretching the dough, its soft smooth texture like a balm to my nostalgic soul. It was very relaxing. I wonder if this was the reason why so many people love playing with slime? Because if it was, I would understand the buzz, it’s very therapeutic. Also, I realized how making pizza is a lot similar to making friends. I get to choose who I allow to be in my sphere just like when I choose what goes on the pizza toppings. For me, weird toppings are okay as long as they don’t ruin the overall taste of the pizza, otherwise, I can pick them off before eating. In addition to the pizza, my friend Dyo and I cooked chicken adobo (a staple Filipino dish) and it was a hit. Thanks youtube for elevating our mediocre cooking skills up to par. The evening turned out really well. It was an evening to treasure among good friends.
Oh, and the pizza I helped make was the best ham and mushroom pizza I have ever tasted.