KingMidget's Ramblings

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Blogging, the Steelers, and Pizza


One of the great things about blogging on the WordPress platform is the community.  It’s kind of like Spotify — the ability to find music you never heard of that becomes today’s song you can’t live without.  Same with WordPress — finding bloggers who you connect to in different ways and you wish you could find a way to sit down with them for an afternoon and talk about life.  A couple of months ago I discovered Old Road Apples.

I’ll skip ahead to what really matters.  He’s a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  And he makes his own pizza.  This is the beauty of WordPress.  Finding somebody I’ll never meet who shares two things that matter to me.

Yes.  I’m a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  I’ve lived in Northern California since I was one.  I’m supposed to be a 49ers fan.  Or the Raiders.  Sigh.  No.  I’m not.  I grew up in the 70s when the 49ers were horrible and the Raiders were all that was evil.  I didn’t grow up in a family where you could be a fan of the bad guy.

So, I looked around.  There was one team that stood above the rest back then.  The Steelers won four Super Bowls during the decade of the 70s.  And a fan was born.

I have a love-hate relationship with the NFL.  If the league and game were to disappear tomorrow I wouldn’t really care.  There are so many things wrong with it.  But, as long as the sport exists, I’m going to follow it.  Kind of like I follow most sports.  The idea of athletics and competition will always be compelling to me.  I mean, hell, last weekend, I actually watched NASCAR for an hour or so to see who made it into the next stage of the “Chase for the Cup.”  Left turn, left turn, left turn, left turn.  Over and over.  We have a winner.  And if you don’t know what the Chase for the Cup is — don’t ask.  You’re better off that way.

I have followed the Steelers ever since I was a wee tadpole of a lad.  It’s been relatively easy even though I live on the other side of the country.  They have consistently been a competitive team.  While all other teams have risen and fallen, risen and fallen, the Steelers have generally been a team in the hunt year after year.  So, they are my team.  As they will be to the extent I follow the NFL and care.

The host of Old Road Apples has a deeper connection since he lives in Pennsylvania and learned how to be a Steelers fan at the knee of his grandma.  Which is such a cool, cool thing.

But …

He also makes his own pizza.  Even has his own recipe, which is slightly different than most I’ve ever heard of.  And for tomorrow, he has thrown the challenge down.  With the Steelers playing a late afternoon game, he’s planning on making pizza and is challenging his readers to do the same.

I’d love to do this, but there’s a slight problem.  Tomorrow is the family dinner for a birthday.  Yes.  Mine.  So, I can’t make pizza tomorrow.

But, I can make it tonight.  While the San Francisco Giants — a local team I have loved more than any sports team for the past 45 years — fight it out in their third World Series in five years, I did this thing…

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Here’s the Queen Midget’s.  This is her standard.  Olive oil and garlic.  A mozzarella-provolone cheese mix.  Mushrooms.  Olives.  Tomatoes.  Prosciutto and pepperoni.  At the grocery store today I saw some linguica so I bought it and added it to the pizza pie.  A dusting of parmesan.  A little dried oregano.  And here it is…

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And then there was the senior most Prince Midget…

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His is basically the same as his mother’s.  Except there aren’t any tomatoes or mushrooms.

Those two pizzas out of the way, time to turn to my own.  Given the challenge laid down by Mr. Old Road Apples I had to kick it up a notch.  It began with this…

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There was a time when I made a lot of pizza and I regularly had roasted garlic in the fridge.  It really is an incredible thing to have on pizza.  It’s been awhile though since I did the roasted garlic thing.  So, after we got back from the junior most Prince Midget’s soccer game …

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That’s him.  The kid in the yellow shirt.  Playing goalie.  I’ll never figure out how I raised two sons who want to play a position like goalie.  So much pressure, so much attention — exactly the kind of position I would have fled when I was a kid.  Maybe the fact that I raised two sons who embraced such challenges is a good thing.

… I put a head of garlic in the toaster oven to get me some roasted garlic for my pizza.  Those little nuggets of goodness hidden in each piece of pizza are truly remarkable.

Keeping with the “kicking it up a notch” challenge, I went on.  It being October in Northern California, there are still jalapenos in the garden.  I went and picked a few.  My pizza ended up with … the roasted garlic, the provolone and mozzarella mix, prosciutto and linguica, fresh jalapeno, parmesan and a little dried oregano.  Let me just say that if you like spicy, if you haven’t had fresh jalapeno on a pizza, you don’t know what you’re missing.  There’s something about jalapeno getting fired in a 550 degree oven that … yes, kicks it up a notch.  Here it is before it went in the oven…

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I’ve started doing this thing with the pizzas I make for myself.  I turn the edge of the crust up and over the toppings.  It creates this really nice edge to the crust.  It almost … almost … turns it into a pizza pie and creates some pockets of fillings in the crust.  It ends up looking like this…

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Wait.  What’s that?  In the middle?  Yes, it’s an egg.

And there you have it, Mr. Old Road Apples.  Pizza.  It’s a beautiful thing.  I try very hard not to be arrogant or obnoxious or too proud of my own work.  That said … my pizza is the best.  I don’t make it as frequently as I was a few years ago.  Which makes it all the better.  It’s the perfect food and I have mastered it.  Allow me that little bit of arrogance.  🙂

 

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11 responses to “Blogging, the Steelers, and Pizza

  1. JunkChuck October 26, 2014 at 3:58 am

    Thanks for the shout out.

    You’ve summed up a lot of how I feel about football in general, the Steelers in particular–especially the warts and all affection for the team and, by extension, the NFL. I like all football, to be honest. I could be one of those Sunday Ticket guys who watches half a dozen games or more each week, if I let myself. I get that. But the Steelers bring so much personal history to the table–as I mentioned elsewhere, I once cried after a loss the the Chargers. As an adult. In front of Browns fans. Oddly, what your post made me think about was back in elementary school, when so many kids wore knit “tossle caps” (not tassel, but tossle–don’t ask me why) and those black and gold “varsity jackets” with the heavy vinyl sleeves, that recess and the end of school were major productions, sorting out whose stuff was whose. Try to find those then-ubiquitous jackets now–I couldn’t even find a photo–kids wore them so hard, there are few remaining. I’d say more, but this is starting to smell like the seed of a full blog post.

    As for the pizza–you might have raised the bar too high for me, unless I make a point to go out to the grocery store, but it’s 638am in the Alleghenies, my dough is rising in the fridge, the Uncle Charlie’s sausage is thawing beside it–we’ve got onions and garlic from the garden, and that’s going to have to do.

    And hey–the local high school team made the playoffs. Exciting, but not unexpected, stuff from a short-handed but over-achieving group of young men. It will be an honor to watch them at least once more.

    • kingmidget October 26, 2014 at 7:01 am

      There’s no bar for you to reach. You’re making homemade pizza … there is nothing but good there. Would love to have some of Uncle Charlie’s sausage. I’ve been somewhat lazy about my pizza over the last few months. I enjoyed putting a little more effort into it last night. If you’ve never had an egg on your pizza, I highly recommend it. A couple of suggestions though if you decide to try it … take the egg out of the fridge well before you’re going to use it so it can get to room temperature, otherwise the egg will not cook as well and will be very runny. Also, slide the pizza into the oven first and then crack the egg in the center of the pizza after it is in the oven. The first time I tried this, I cracked the egg over the pizza and then slid it into the oven. The egg slid right off the pizza and made for quite the mess.

      I remember the jackets you’re talking about … only here they were 49ers jackets. It’s one of the advantages of being a faraway fan — not being surrounded by people wearing your team’s colors. Plus, I get insanely happy when the 49ers lose and all of the local 49ers fans are miserable. 😉

    • kingmidget October 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      By the way, the worst thing about being a Steelers fan in Northern California is having the Raiders game on TV instead of the Steelers. I get why they do it but why should we be stuck watching the worst team in football?

  2. Trent Lewin October 26, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Sigh. Football sucks, in my opinion. It’s just barbaric in all the wrong ways. I want the golden era of baseball to come back!

    You have a good looking kid there, Mark. And as always, your pizzas make me drool.

    • kingmidget October 27, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      I can’t disagree with you about football. It drives me crazy that i continue getting sucked into it every year.

      Thanks for the compliment on my kid. He’s a good one. I have my issues with him, but he has a heart of gold and an old soul, which is a great combination for a 16-year-old boy.

  3. Philip Walter November 1, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Nothing wrong with laying goalkeeper, did myself, it’s a fine position. That deals to the proper football, the Association type.

    Next you have the Rugby type, the NZ team against your USA team. In about 30 minutes, in Chcago. Stand by for incoming. This isn’t as one sided as you couldd expect the USA team do ok at the 7’s version

    As to Baseball and Footvall (American) I’m afraid it’s Mets and Jets. I’m sure we can still be friends, we do both enjoy making pizza.

    • kingmidget November 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm

      Of course we can still be friends. We have a lot to discuss regarding your rooting interests in American baseball and football.

    • kingmidget November 1, 2014 at 2:11 pm

      Just turned the TV on for a few minutes. Hey it’s rugby!! U.S. vs. New Zealand. 53-6. I feel the comeback approaching.

      • Philip Walter November 1, 2014 at 3:12 pm

        I feel it was too late, the NZ team are ruthless, the Eagles are a better side than the scoreline suggests.

        In context this is “the” national game, it’s deeply important to the national psyche. And of course the All Blacks are the current World Cup holders.

        I can imagine the carnage if the NFL sent a team to play NZ.

      • kingmidget November 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm

        In the couple of minutes that I watched the announcers talked about how NZers are born playing the game.

      • Philip Walter November 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm

        That would be almost true, Rugby is quite the thing. Long story short I have an ex-players jersey in the wardrobe, #17 – he spent a lot of time on the subs bench – wore it in a test match game against France. People find this fascinating and are both very envious and scathing that as an Englishman I shouldn’t have it blah blah blah …. My Daughter wears it now and again, and it’ll make an appearance for the World Cup next year.

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