Since I've told this story to people numerous, numerous times on Discord and I'm tired of repeating, I'm gonna tell it here once and for all.
TL;DR I fried eggs this morning and I made pizza tonight. Skim the journal for pictures.
I'm gonna tell you one thing now. My mum makes bad pizza. Just keep that in mind.
Lemme introduce you to what happened tonight by telling you what happened approximately 10 years ago. I was 10 years old and it was evening. Dad arrived home from the military, and Mum was making dinner. I was, of course, at my PC. Where else would I had been? Dinner was ready and Mum called me. Naturally, just like my brother now, I've always had a bit of a delay before getting up to go to the kitchen. Stuff on my computer was just way more interesting. This time though, I was hungry.
What I saw on the table was a good-looking, delicious rectangular pizza, cuz' Mum used to make pizzas back in a rectangular oven pan back then. I think the crust was homemade, I don't exactly remember. It was nice though, and I'd always eat a whole lot of it. She'd ask me if I'd like mushrooms on it next time, and I said yes. That one was also pretty nice. I liked it quite a bit. The crust was always very crunchy (not hard!) and it was really nice.
Fast-forward to 2020, that is 8 years later, I was in high school, and I got the 'rona. This changed my sense of taste forever. I stopped eating pizza for the longest time because hers became so... oily and rubbery to me. I didn't like it. Even though I seem to have fully regained my sense of smell and taste roughly 5-6 months later, my mum's pizza was never quite the same...
So, I simply didn't want it any more. I found the pizza in actual pizzerias and restaurants to be very nice. But I was quite intrigued that my mum's cooking seemingly deteriorated. I was not sure what was going on with that. I remember really damn well that Mum's pizza was pretty okay, even though it wasn't on the level of, well, even how cheap bakeries do it. I love pizza from the bakery, it's got a personality of its own. It's like a child that sees these cowboys in 60s western films and tries to act like them. I like the effort and it's definitely got its own sorta thing.
But I stopped liking Mum's pizza.
Later in 2021, I randomly had a thought:
"What if you boiled an egg, then fried it afterwards?"
I was, like, legit curious. This is my shower-thought curiosity at its finest. I google this thought and found out about tiger skin eggs. They look something like this: I came across a video that details how these are cooked, and I was like "Hmm, honestly, I could probably
do something like this one day, doesn't even seem hard!"
I discovered a bunch of cooking channels, but a few truly stuck with me: Adam Ragusea and Binging with Babish. One gives me practical ideas, the other gives me less practical ideas because I don't have most of the ingredients here. But lemme tell ya. Ragusea's videos on pizza opened my eyes and things started to click.
You have any idea what kinda pizza my mum was making? She wasn't making a pizza, she was making bread with ketchup and hard cheese on top of it. Oh, and Poli bologna. Honestly that thing isn't even bologna, it's just a heavily-processed chicken sausage that stinks and makes me wanna throw up whenever I see it.
These were the two main enemies: To the left, you got the Poli, to the right, you got the "livada" cheese, which can be translated as "field" or "flatland" or "a plain". It's a type of hard cheese and doesn't melt well, that's all you gotta know really. I don't have a picture of how this pizza looked, but lemme tell you, it is horrible, I'd never eat it again. I can't eat it again after I've been to several good pizzerias.
Oh, and lemme tell you, we still use canned mushrooms. Mum didn't bother drying them, neither did she preheat the oven pan. She was doing everything wrongly. So, it turns out, when I was little, I simply didn't know better and accepted this kinda """pizza""".
All of this made me attempt making my own. Initially I mostly followed Mum's way but I used turkey ham instead of Poli, and later I started swapping things out for other things. Replaced ketchup with some type of tomato sauce (still not exactly the one I am looking for, but it's good enough), replaced the cheese with a mixture of mozzarella and gouda, and it was a substantial, fairly noticeable improvement. But something was still missing and I was a real beginner, so I didn't quite put enough cheese, and I often overcooked it.
Also, the "tomato sauce" we got was like, yeah, it was weird: Apparently this is some sorta already-baked tomato sauce? Either way, it got mega stinky after a few days.
But this time, I decided to REALLY up my pizza game. Like, really really good. 2 nights ago, I stayed up until 4 in the morning, binge-watching cooking videos and I got several new ideas on how to improve my existing thing:
- actually dry the mushrooms and cut them thinner
- preheat the oven pan
- put lots more cheese
This time, it wasn't mozzarella and Gouda, it was mozzarella and Edam. Still, very good combo, I just wish I had some more mozzarella at hand. I made my brother's pizza with some turkey ham bits and the usual (without mushrooms though). I put it in the already very hot oven pan, and waited for about 5 minutes before getting it out. I then frantically ran around because I realised the dinner table wasn't set yet and I had nowhere else to put the pizza, so I just put the pizza onto the table, no plates, no anything. I quickly grabbed another pizza pan though and put it right in there, as the preheated one went back into the oven. That was quite chaotic.
Also, the tomato sauce I was using this time was a bit different. It was brighter and it smelled a lot nicer. This one seems to be the uncooked kind, it even had some veggies inside and decent, chunky bits of tomato. Perfect IMO.
Now, here's the fun part: it was my
pizza's turn. Oh boy. I made it as usual, putting the tomato sauce, putting the cheese, putting some Mediterranean spice mix on top, and I put my dried mushrooms on one half of the pizza, just so I could see if it'll be better or worse with them. Guess you could call it a half-fungirita, eheh?
And then a moment of pure genius struck me as I quickly snatched a bottle of olive oil and poured just a little bit of it (maybe 3 quarters of a teaspoon) on top of the pizza. I had no idea what the result was gonna be. I just knew I had to do it. FOR SCIENCE!!!
Now, I realise this ain't the best pizza in the world, and it surely could be better in many ways, but it's a huge step up from what I've been making before, and especially compared to my mum's pizza: See the yellowish, orange-ish spots in the centre? That is certainly the oil!
That... was damn good. I loved it. Mum tried a slice and asked me if I could make 4 pizzas like that for the family. Honestly, if your overly picky brother eats the crust, you know you've made a good pizza. Or maybe just something he prefers more. Either way, I'm glad I got to see that in life.
Now in completely other news, I also fried eggs for the first time and that was pretty good... I'm going for a cheese omelette next time.
I woke up thinking "I am frying eggs and NOBODY can stop me" and I legit set out to do that. Very good decision. First time frying an egg BTW! (yes, the basement IS the kitchen here, you lucky individuals) It was crunchy around the edges, which I liked, however I would've preferred a softer yolk. Overall, I enjoyed it more than the alternative, which was to grab something from the fridge, like a pathe, or turkey ham. I was also advised to use medium heat instead of high heat next time (thanks Zode!) and I will do just that. It was very epic either way and I got satisfaction out of it.
So yeah, thanks Mum, for having such bad cooking that motivated me even more to start cooking myself. One day, I gotta cook a steak, mmm... I've already done chicken fillets and I definitely like that. I gotta do it more, honestly.
Now, the next thing I wanna do is try cooking some sorta frozen döner kebab meat. I don't have a picture, but just imagine döner meat, whether chicken or beef, in some sorta package that sits in the super cold top part of your fridge. Here's the thing now. So far, I've been heating it up in the microwave, but you know what microwaves do to food... they make em soggy and in kebab's case, very soft and kinda moist. I don't want that.
So I'll see if I can heat it up in a frying pan next time or in the oven. I am not sure how that'll go, but maybe I'll get some better results than in the microwave.
Also, I may have mentioned a panini press, maybe not, but lemme tell ya, I use that thing for everything these days. I love it. When Mum boils hotdogs and I feel like a troll, I just panini press them after the fact. It is immeasurably useful when it comes to bread and stuff.
Either way, congrats for reading all the way to the end, I am quite impressed, not gonna lie. Happy eating, folks.