A Little Book About Pizza Saves This Guy A Bunch Of Money And Gives Him Something To Do With His Son
“Okay my first outing with the oven, the pizza steel and Blaine’s book. It was AWESOME! Thank you! So much easier than making pizza on my Big Green Egg, and saved me a fortune from buying a wood pizza oven!”
That is the email I woke up to one morning earlier this week. A gentleman named Frank sent it through the Free The Pizza website, along with a photograph of one of his pizzas. It's the photograph at the top of this post. (That's prosciutto under all that arugula, in case you're interested.)
If you had asked me how I’d like a reader to feel after using the book, I could just point to that email. Free The Pizza! was born of the frustration of watching people buy pizza ovens and turn out charred discs of floppy dough, knowing full well they were not enjoying the pizza. There will be one of two likely results: the pizzamaker will eventually learn how to do it well; or the oven is going into the garage and staying there for some time. And I know the latter happens with some frequency.
I’m not against pizza ovens. I’m against spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a dedicated appliance with the idea that it will do the work for you. It doesn’t happen that way.
The skill involved in making pizza is pretty simple. Almost anyone can do it. That doesn’t mean everyone wants to do it. But the learning curve on a backyard pizza oven is very long. Becoming proficient at making pizza AND using the oven is a deadly combination. Frustration can kill the project long before it comes to fruition.
By using a regular home oven with a baking stone or steel, a rank beginner can sling satisfying pies immediately. I know people who’ve done it. I know I did it. And now I know Frank did it.
Understanding the process has far more value than owning a piece of specialized hardware. And the joy that comes from implementing that process and making a great pizza even once is far greater than anything else that normally comes out of your kitchen.
And this process also does something else: it brings people together. Pizza is already a dish to be shared. It’s also round, which is symbolic. And people are gathering around that pie and sharing it in a communal setting. Beyond that, making pizza does something even I didn’t think about: it gives families something to do together.
I asked Frank what kind of pizzas he had made. He replied almost immediately, saying “I actually made six 10-inch pizzas, and my son and a bunch of his friends taste tested.” I suddenly have this vision of dad in the kitchen with a bunch of teenage guys hanging around, waiting for each subsequent pizza to emerge from the oven.
And this is not the first such tale I’ve heard about parents making pizza for their children and their children’s friends and getting props from their progeny. We’re talking parent-made and kid-approved. It seems that Free The Pizza! is a de facto parental esteem improvement guide. "My dad makes killer pizza!" (Or mom. But so far, it's been the guys talking about this.) Who knew?
Last week, Free The Pizza! won a gold medal in a national book awards competition. But the real honor is in getting user reviews like Frank’s. In a time when we’ve all been dealing with an unusual kind of stress and a bizarre zeitgeist, it’s gratifying to know that my weird little book about making pizza is saving people money, bringing people together, and giving them joy.
You can find the book and see similar reviews by clicking this link: www.FreeThePizzaBook.com
Blaine Parker is the award-winning author of the bestselling, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza. Also known as The Pizza Geek and "Hey, Pizza Man!", Blaine is fanatical about the idea that true, pro-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After 20 years of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks like you. Are you ready to pizza?
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