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Welsh Terrier - Bertie with a Ball in the Garden
Welsh Terrier - Bertie Posing
Thursday - January 20, 2000
Making Pizza with Bertie

I have been thinking about what to send to Lynda in regards to regional recipes, and are somewhat stumped. The Southern Ontario area was originally settled by the Scottish then English, and then many others. Nothing emerged as typically regional cooking. Then I thought about our neighbourhood. As I have noted before, our immediate area has a blend of Jewish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and now well off baby boomers. Not much consistency there. Other than looking for a recipe for duck with wild rice and maple syrup, I decided I would write out a menu and recipes from one of our Solstice BBQ, which could include things like tapenade on a fresh baked baguette, BBQ leg of lamb, potato salad, green salad with maple syrup vinaigrette, baked beans, and then followed by rhubarb pie, chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream - all home made. Well that sounds a little showy, I know, but I can cook. HOWEVER, I got mine last night.

Ed and I made pizza on Tuesday night. We didn't have enough cheese to make two, so I decided I would make the second one last night. I bought several types of cheese and Italian cold cuts (Ah the joys of living only 2 block from Little Italy) in the afternoon, and started to prepare all the toppings. I caramelized the onions, cooked mushrooms in lots of garlic, grated cheese which sent the dogs into a frenzy, and rolled out the dough.

Now I did make the dough a little soft, and knew with careful handling all would turn out fine - it did the night before. I liberally sprinkled the peel (a wooden paddle) with corn meal, placed the dough on top, and created a lovely pizza. The oven was preheated to 450 F or 230 C, with a stone tile in the oven. Now this is a very hot oven.

I took the pizza over to the oven, and opened the door. With a quick shake, the pizza should have slid off onto the stone. However, it stayed put. I closed the oven door, took the pizza back to the counter, and checked all the edges of the dough to ensure that it wasn't stuck to the peel. I went back to the oven, and give it another quick shake. Nothing happened.

Well being a typical male, I decided that a really good shake would move the pizza to where it belonged in the oven. Nothing like brute force to solve your problems. Well the pizza did move all right. A quarter of it slide onto the tile, another quarter broke off and rolled onto the tile, a quarter stuck to the board, and the remainder slid off the back of the peel onto the side of the oven, down over the oven racks, onto and between the oven door, and finally onto the floor. I quickly caught the oozing dough and threw it back onto the stone. Meanwhile the dogs completely have lost it and are eating as much raw pizza stuff as they can find. Now I have the problem of crazed dogs, pizza junk everywhere and a very hot oven plus cleanup. Well needless to say I was annoyed. It was my own fault but this was my supper, and I had invested 45 minutes in preparation time.

I cleaned up the mess as well as I could with my eager assistants licking as quickly as they could, and then started to clean up the counters. I then realized I had not put the timer on, and had forgotten how long the pizza had been in the oven. As smoke arose out of the oven vent, I dashed to the oven, and found that it was only some cheese which I had fallen onto the stone during the delivery process. In a few minutes, I could take my "pizza" out of the oven.

I first removed what I can only call pizza sticks, this is the part that rolled onto the stone. I then removed what actually looked like pizza. Behind that was the upside down pizza which was welded to the stone and was burning. On the right hand side of the stone, was a pizza roll, this was the glob that I threw in and the dogs were desperately trying to get. I removed it form the oven, and turned the oven off.

I tried the pizza sticks, they were not too bad actually. I then tasted the pizza part and it was very good but I noticed a funny smell. Ah yes, the welded pizza in the oven was now smoldering and smoke was rising from the oven. I opened the windows and turned on the fan. I didn't need the fire alarms to go off, especially the security ones which bring the firemen directly to your door. Now I like fireman and at my door too, but I do not want them to visit my house when there is a $ 200.00 fine for a false alarm. I removed the very hot stone from the oven, placed it on a rack, and proceeded to scrap off the dead pizza remains into the sink. To say that it was a bit crispy and difficult to get off the stone, would be an understatement. I chipped away and pizza tidbits flew in every direction. The dogs thought they have died and gone to heaven as they snapped up every tidbit that fell their way. Finally I had everything under control, and I sat down to have my dinner of home made pizza! Yeah right!

In about a half an hour, I went back into the kitchen to really clean up. Of course the boys were right there with me for I might do the amazing pizza trick again. They were disappointed, but Bertie decided that my oven clean up was just not good enough. He spent the rest of the evening removing pizza molecules from the front of the oven, the cupboards, and the floor. He worked the area for over 2 hours. He was a very happy camper.

Well I should go and clean the oven now - thank goodness it is self cleaning but the racks will definitely be a lot of work. As for a recipe for Lynda, after last night I am not sure I am qualified to step into the kitchen, let alone recommend recipes to anyone.

Bill and the 2 pizza crazed doggies (more Bill more- we think you are great cook)