So, apparently it’s actually National Sausage Pizza Day, if you’re looking for something specific to celebrate, but while thinking about pizza, my mind immediately jumped back in time to the grade school cafeteria. Back then, Pizza Day was the best day of the week and I loved those little rectangular slices of goodness on a thin sort of crust. Not sure if the sausage was even made of actual meat, but as a kid, I thought it tasted fantastic. Perhaps it was simply the unique shape, resembling an over-sized postcard that made it seem like no other pizza on the planet. The pizza I would encounter at home would be shaped like slices of pie and they all had that awful crust. This little marvel was crustless! For a kid, it was pretty much the equivalent of reaching pizza nirvana.
Looking at the tray now, I realize what a horrible meal this actually was for a child. Yellow food, brown milk, and absolutely nothing green in sight. It’s often a wonder I was able to grow up at all with so little actual nutrition on my plate. Last year, I saw an article from Food & Wine showing lunch trays from cafeterias across the world and it appears things haven’t improved much at all. Every plate of food, in every other country, looked rather like a smaller plate of food that should actually be eaten by adults. In America, kid’s meals often look like a smaller plate of adult “bar food” or something one drunkenly orders while justifying that it’s okay to eat because it’s going to help “soak up the alcohol.” I began to realize just how differently my American upbringing made me think about food.
While I appreciated “prepared food” quite a lot, I had not formed a real love or understanding of individual ingredients. I remember the very first time I went to the grocery with Philippe and he stood in front of the fresh vegetables saying to himself, “What do we want to eat tonight?” I had no clue what could be made from all those leaves and strange looking shapes. I was taught that really leafy lettuce was just a garnish and vegetables were rather optional, called “veggies,” and only consisted of corn and green beans. Unless it was a party and then this expanded to include cauliflower, broccoli, celery and carrots. That said, I’ve never tried this little slice of rectangular heaven since I was a child, and have often wondered if I’d still enjoy it now. One this is certain though. I’ll never forget that thrilling feeling of unbridled excitement that could only come from two simple words – Pizza Day!