Saturday, January 18, 2014

Friday Family Pizza Night

Over the past couple of months, we have had pizza on Fridays coupled with a movie. This past Friday, we collectively came up with a apple butter, smoked ham, brie and cheddar pizza. Everyone had a hand in coming up with it and helping prepare it. Serendipitously, the movie that we picked, National Treasure, had pizza in it. It was a fun night. 

 It got me thinking to how this pizza night thing has been with us throughout our growth as a family. In the early years, pizza was the easiest delivery when we had a baby in the house. Call up Pizza Pizza. Reorder last order. Hope the baby stays down long enough to eat it hot but if not, then cold pizza before falling into bed or even in the middle of the night. 

Plain cheese pizza and pepperoni pizza filled the toddler years when we were both back to work and couldn't cook at the end of the week. We would order one bland pizza and one more exciting pizza. Selfishly, it would often be a slightly spicy pizza as my wife enjoyed the regular pizza toppings.

As the kids got older, they would go through phases of specific likes, Hawaiian, plain cheese and pepperoni. Eventually, they wanted different pies. We were able to stave off ordering three pizzas by coming up with a compromise pizza which we called Pepperwaiian, a half pepperoni and half Hawaiian pizza. 

Once again, this worked for several years until once again they began experimenting. Granted, this was probably forced a little bit as I grew weary and discontented with Pizza Pizza and wanted to try some better places. This lead to developing a meat pizza description to cover all sorts of pizzas that the two boys could abide. Any pizza that was called Meat Lovers caught their attention. The order became more fluid depending on where we ordered from. Big House Pizza, for example, had several pizzas that could be sold as a meat pizza that would allow all of us to have a slice or two that we liked. The ritual was come home from school, forget about the backpacks in the hall, down to the PS3 and wait for the doorbell to ring. Right after the end of the last slice, up to bed. This meant that they had a slightly later bedtime than normal but it worked.

The other driving factor is growth. At some point two little boys turn into big boys and now just "the boys". It appears that the pizza size grows with them. We saw it move from small to medium to large. The bills go from a cheap meal to the same price as a restaurant cheque. The kids can now stand staying up until slightly past 9 o'clock without becoming a pile of misery the next day. We added movies and a new ritual.

So, in the last few months, we have made our own pizzas.  Sometimes the pizza crust is from scratch; sometimes bought dough or shells. There are always two pizzas. That has been the constant. The kids tend to want a meat oriented pizza and sometimes help with the second one. They always taste the second one. This approach has led to watching all the LOTR movies, the Hobbit, Elf, National Treasure and two chess documentaries. Second pizza has ranged as much as the movie choices: fig, prosciutto and asiago; apple butter, ham, brie and cheddar; chili and cheese and the always present pepperoni or meat pizza. 

It's been fun watching the kids suggest, make and try these pizzas. They have a loose structure to their week that they anticipate. They look forward to Fridays. It reminds me of how far we have come. From the days where pizza was just the easiest, most convenient filler food to something that we make as a family. I wonder what this ritual will bring as the family changes and the kids become teenagers. I hope that somehow the base notes of family meal time and relaxing together remains. 

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