It’s April 2011. I’m currently living in Brisbane, Australia, but myself and a couple of mates have flown down to Melbourne to spend Easter weekend with my cousin. My cousin, by the way, is living with eight other dudes in a place that looks almost identical to the abandoned, run-down house in Fight Club. It is both incredibly disgusting and strangely endearing.
Anyway, we’ve just arrived and we are STARVING. We find a nice-looking pizza place and I settle in for my usual maddeningly-indecisive dance with the menu. I always want practically everything on any half-decent menu, which makes it impossible to choose anything – even if it’s a pre-planned outing and I’ve just spent the entire day looking at the options online. My friends hate me.
I’m surprised though – this time it’s a no-brainer. There’s a pizza topped with gorgonzola, potato, pear and red onion jam. I LOVE ALL THOSE THINGS. For quite possibly the first time ever, I am the first to close my menu. I sit back to sip my beer, grinning smugly at my mates. (They are unfazed.) The waiter comes around and I’m like an annoying child, so eager am I to place my order first rather than howling my usual, desperate, “Come to me laaaast!” He raises his eyebrows expectantly.
“I’ll have the blue cheese and potato pizza, please,” I yelp excitedly, louder and more high-pitched than I had intended. I’m all giddy at the thoughts of it. I am very hungry. Very very hungry. I am practically wasting away here. Why isn’t he writing this down? He smiles at me with palpable condescension.
“Our pizzas are very big, Miss.”
“Excellent news!” I chirp at him, mildly confused by the way he’s looking at me. He snorts.
“We usually recommend that ladies share them with someone.”
My smile freeze-dries onto my face, hardening into steely, stubborn resolve. They recommend that LADIES share them?! His patronising smirk lingers in anticipation of my weak, womanly defeat.
“I’ll be fine. I can manage a pizza.” I say, as politely as I can while I feel like throwing my shoe at his head.
“Are you sure?” he has the audacity to ask.
“Yes.” I mutter through gritted teeth. He retreats with a look that makes me want to kick him in the shin.
That pizza is getting eaten. All of it. I WILL LICK THE PLATE CLEAN. I WILL EAT MY NAPKIN AND THE SALT SHAKER AND MY WINE GLASS TOO AND SHOW HIM WHO HAS AN APPETITE. Share my pizza my ass. What does he think I am, an amateur? Some sort of delicate female flower who couldn’t POSSIBLY finish a whole meal to herself? I had forgotten that possession of male genitalia was a prerequisite for having an appetite. Pah.
And, y’know, everyone has different sized appetites, regardless of gender. And, perhaps most importantly, what business was it of his whether I finished it or not? Sometimes I don’t finish a whole pizza. Sometimes I bring home a slice or two to eat for breakfast, because I hate food waste and I’m greedy in the mornings. Why should he care? If I order a whole pizza he ends up with a bigger bill anyway, and consequently a bigger tip (or what would’ve been a bigger tip, before all the snarky condescension began.) When he comes back, I could make all these points to him in a calm, collected, mature fashion. I could use my words to make him see the error of his ways, the way real grown-ups do.
Of course, I’m too hungry for that, and too immature. Instead, I choose the low road, the one that involves stuffing my face. I have never eaten a pizza so fast in my life, or with such dogged determination. I am a habitual crust-leaver, unless there are copious amounts of garlic mayonnaise on the table, in which case, give me all of your crusts too, but this time I make damn sure to finish every last crumb. (The pizza, by the way, is a pretty normal twelve incher, so I am baffled as to the reasoning behind his “helpful advice.”) When he returns to collect our plates, I can see he is genuinely surprised at the lack of food left on mine. I can also tell that this irks, rather than impresses, him. He murmurs something to the effect of “Will that be all?” I smile sweetly at him and ask for the dessert menu. Take that, jerkface.
This story had slipped my mind over the past three years, until yesterday when it came roaring back out of absolutely nowhere. The pity is that the guy’s attitude completely marred what should’ve been a truly wonderful meal and memory, and why should I let that happen? He has long-forgotten me, and I’m sure he has since returned to casually insulting the stomach capacity of any customer who doesn’t have testicles. I thought, maybe I should recreate the pizza, without the side of sexism, and let myself enjoy it this time. It being only lunchtime, I did actually decide to share it with someone this time (and that’s okay, too.) Luckily, one of the many the perks of living three doors down from my BFF Jules is that she is always, always ready to eat half of my anything.
I used a ready-made, good quality pizza base because there was one in the freezer and I was feeling rather lazy (like, wandering-around-the-house-in-stretchy-pants-and-unwashed-hair kind of lazy), but otherwise I would have made one. Onto that I drizzled some extra-virgin olive oil and piled some of the red onion jam I made over Christmas; then I sprinkled on a small handful of grated mozzarella and layered up thin slices of potato and pear. I crumbled over some blue cheese (Cashel Blue, because it’s Irish and it’s amazing… and because that’s what I had in the fridge) and poured over a little more olive oil.
Jules arrived in her stretchy pants and, when it was ready, we curled up on the couch and dug in. It was delicious, and this time I wasn’t shaking with indignation while I ate it, which – rather unsurprisingly – made for a much more pleasant experience. Any blue cheese fans out there should try this: if your best friend is anything like mine, you will be given gossip and hugs and praise and dark chocolate in return.
Of course, if your BFF doesn’t live as conveniently close as mine, you could just eat the whole thing yourself, if you’re into that sort of thing. Unless, of course, you’re a lady. (Picture the most sarcastic eye roll in the history of eye rolls. Then get to work on the pizza.)
Got any good recipes or ideas for unusual pizzas? Or have you had a similar experience with a similar jerkface? If you have both a decent appetite and a uterus (you freakish anomaly, you) feel free to leave a comment below.
[All images property of Jocelyn Doyle.)