Some of my fondest and earliest memories are of pizza. I grew up in Kansas City, and although that town wasn't known for its pizza, my parent's home was. Kansas City has lots of culinary offers, but pizza isn't one of them, so my parents took it upon themselves to perfect what I now know as my basic pizza recipe. It wasn't deep dish, but it did have a crust that was a solid two inches thick, piled high with copious amounts of cheese, meats and seasonal vegetables. This was always the go-to meal when any of us needed comforting. It's the one time I'm not afraid to say I ate my feelings happily and heartily. That thing was baked with love, joy and tradition.
At a young age I was given cheese browning duty. My only mission for the next 20-30 minutes was to sit in front of the oven and watch for the cheese to turn that beautiful shade of brown and holler before it got any darker. It was a badge of honor and I'm sure it kept me out from underfoot.
When I left home for the first time, I took very few possessions, but one important thing I did take was a large deep dish pizza pan with a removable bottom, and the family pizza recipe. It's a recipe that to this day my folks don't give out. I know it by heart, and although I make pizza at home differently now, there are very little foods that provide such deep comfort and nostalgia as pizza.
Did your family have any pizza traditions? Share your warm, cheesy memories in the comments below.
Related: Smart Tip: Make Your Own Frozen Pizzas
(Image: Flickr member Dawn Ashley licensed for use by Creative Commons)