Beloved Pizza — NO MORE

Something STRANGE happened when I was in Italy.

I did not like the pizza!

I KNOW… How could that be?

I’ve ALWAYS enjoyed the Italian pizza, but this time. NOPE! In Florence, the pizza crust was terrible. Maybe it was meant to be a healthy version, don’t know, but it’s texture was like cardboard. I could barely eat it. This is a place I have frequented over the years, so it should have been delicious. My heart sank.

In Rome, the pizza crust was so thin it made the pizza soggy, I could barely eat it. Also, they had big chunks of mozzarella cheese on top. When I took a bite and tried to swallow, I thought I would choke. My daughter said the same thing happened to her when she was in Rome. She could not eat their mozzarella cheese. This has never happened before. Soooo… has the texture of mozzarella cheese changed?

I felt the SAME about the sandwiches. I used to LOVE and CRAVE salami, prosciutto, mortadella. It’s the BEST in Italy. We would have this with my grandmother at home at lunch. Put the bread on the table, cut slices and open all the different lunch meat packages, pick and choose what we wanted.

What sadness, really!

I had to think. Had the food changed or did COVID change my taste buds? I’ve never tested positive for COVID, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have it over the past 2 1/2 years. Was it the weather, high 90s, little interest in food?

Oh… it GETS WORSE!

I didn’t care for gelato either. My gosh, this is a major Italian taste bud issue, right! Who doesn’t enjoy a gelato. I did eat it, but I had no sense of this is so fantastic, like I did BEFORE COVID.

GOOD NEWS — Drinking a Fanta with ice cubes was enjoyable and my tastes buds were working. PHEW, so it wasn’t a COVID issue.

Oh, and my FAVORITE cookies — Atene, my grandmother would have these. My taste buds were GOOD. Thank goodness!! I would have been sad to have those memories taken away. Here is what they look like. They are a heavier type of cookie, good with coffee or tea.

I do think that the taste of food is changing around the world. They, whomever they are, keep trying to genetically enhance meat, fruit, vegetable products and more. There are constantly fraud issues with prosciutto. If you Google, you can read about it.

So — I’m hoping it was the extreme heat that changed my taste buds. I was happy that my daughter said she experienced the same feelings on her trip to Italy, so it wasn’t just “me.”

Soon we will all start having our own organic gardens, so we can trust our produce!

Pizza in a MUG? Breakfast Burrito in a MUG? Cooking just got easier.

Recently, I was doing a search for mug cakes. I found this site by Irish Chef & Baker Gemma Stafford, Bigger Bolder Baking, that had a pizza in a mug recipe. I watched the video of her making the mug pizza, it sure was quick and easy. I admit, I would never have thought of that. In fact, she has 100 different mug recipes. So many creative ideas.

She had one video where she was making pancakes with her husband. He was doing the video taping. She’s definitely a perfectionist and was bossing him around, that was funny. The pancakes looked yummy too.

So, if you are still stuck at home and need some fresh cooking/baking ideas, mosey on over to Bigger Bolder Baking. Chef Gemma will dazzle you with healthy exciting spins on old recipes. Also, she just started a Knead to Know podcast. When I go walking, I’ll listen to that.

Happy cooking! (Isn’t that what Chef Pepin says. He has good videos too.)

Pizza in a cast iron skillet?

cast iron pizzaFourth of July holiday is coming up, which means a lot of barbecuing. BUT, what if you prefer pizza.

I have exciting news for you. If you own a cast iron skillet you can make your own gourmet crunchy crusted pizza in 15 minutes. Make life easy on yourself, buy the pizza dough already prepared.

Here’s what you do:

Roll out the pizza dough. Warm up your cast iron skillet on medium/high on your stove top, dust the pan with a little bit of flour, no oil needed. Put your dough in the pan. While your dough is warming up, sprinkle some olive oil on it, pizza sauce and add your chosen pizza toppings (i.e. mushrooms, pepperoni, whatever you like) and then pop your pan into the oven at 425 degrees. Your pizza should be ready in 12-15 minutes.

I had no idea!

Now, I just need to find a good deal on a cast iron skillet and I’ll be a Chef in no time!

Bon Appétit!