Monday, July 21, 2014

The Dough Also Rises: Parchment Paper, Pizza, and a Pitch


Goaty Goodness
I awoke in an Intensive Care Unit with my body covered in tubes connecting me to machines. The view from my window was the rolling Pacific, sail boats, and blue skies. I was still full of pain and pain meds. I nodded back off to sleep.

After I'd spent a few days looking out over the ocean I realized that I hadn't checked any social media since before I'd been admitted. The people closest to me had already either visited my room or had contacted me by phone. Others would be in touch over my weeks of recovery. As for the social media of FB, G+, Twitter, and so on, it was, I was certain, rolling on with the same thoughts, feelings, and selfie-promotions as it had back in my pre-op days when I'd checked in frequently. I wasn't missing anything there, but I was, upon reflection, becoming aware of the life that I had been living less of as a result of broadcasting my life to others. At some point I decided that I was done with my contributions to the social chatter and that I was going to focus on those people and things that mattered to my life.

So, I took a few steps back in technology and started using the phone part of my smart phone to spend some time with the few far-off friends who'd taken the time to ask how I'd been when they'd noticed my absence from sharing land. I'd often thought that Mark Zuckerberg's definition of the word friend had been too broad. I was right. Outside of my family I can count my friends on two hands with a finger or two left over. It was good to catch up with my fingers. While I don't recommend major surgery as a road to this place that I've found, I can't recommend enough stepping back, if only for a month or two, and seeing such instant socializing as the life-thief that it can become.

That said, after months away I have been checking in on folks on FB now and then. Nothing much changes between my visits, but I have more time for RL while still feeling connected to the periphery of people from my old life. I suppose that "live more, socialize less" is one titular pitch, but I have a second that my bi-monthly-ish check-ins to the social sphere has planted and grown in my mind.

Here's the pitch, Zuck: Assbook, an Anti-Social Network. Facebook doesn't need a dislike button. It needs a banish button. Each time someone trolls or displays other anti-social behavior within their friends those friends have the option to cast a vote for banishment. Multiple votes from the same friend takes them out of that friend's feed. A set number of overall banishment votes casts them from Facebook down to Assbook. Eventually all of the fat-shamers, thin-shamers, racists, sexists, science deniers, and other "can-we-all-just-grow-up-now" types will either remain on FB within a closed pen with like-mindless types or, in the case of the worst offenders, will be wallowing with their own kind where they can annoy each other as Facebook's data miners continue operations. What fun, eh? It's all yours, Zuck. I won't Winklevoss you.

Speaking of things planted and growing, we've had a great garden this year in OC, including a wealth of heirloom tomato varieties. It's been fun eating fresh tomatoes with a bit of salt and finding other uses for the bounty. With the help of my bread machine, and my wonderful visiting sister-in-law*, to whom I dedicate this return to Chowbacca, I went pizza crazy with a special cheese I'd picked up at Costco: Goat Gouda. So. Good-a.

The Green Tops Are An Heirloom Thing
Whether skinned, seeded, and chopped, in home made sauce, or sliced whole on top of the pie with fresh basil and arugula, the tomatoes hit the spot. The creamy goodness of the goat gouda worked so nicely with the other ingredients that I had to force myself to use another cheese one night. The real game changer, however, was parchment paper.

I'd been introduced to the idea by my wonderful sister-in-law when last she was in town. I'd had to slap myself for years of relying only on my trusty pizza stone and peel to get the pies into and out of the oven. Duh. Duh. Duh. /slaps self again/

Of course! Put the kneaded and stretched dough on parchment, add the toppings, and easily transfer it all to the pre-heated stone. It was an idea that I should have picked up sooner had I been reading my own blog more closely. Brilliant! No mess! /slaps self a third time/

Edit: I know. I know. Slamming social media as a time suck and pizza ideas aren't anything new. In the coming weeks/months look out for mo' stuff, including home made and grown Scotch Bonnet Sriracha.

That's about all for now. I'll be posting again from time-to-time, but mostly I'll be on other projects. Many thanks to my fingers-on-two-hands Dottore Gustavo and 99%BitterSweet for keeping our collaboration-of-love going in my absence. I love you both dearly.

Pizza, Fresh Tomatoes, and Sunlight
*I miss you too!
**I just can't get enough of the *sterisk!