Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pizza Cuisine

When I was a kid, I thought it was incredibly clever that one of my friends was able and allowed to make her own pizza in her parents kitchen. We made it from scratch - well, "scratch" being a pre-mixed pizza-base flour, but still, I thought it was pretty fancy. So I learned how to make that too. I topped my first pizzas with cheap pizzaria-style stuff like canned tuna, tomato purée and pineapple, and my experiments with this provided some of my first culinary failures and successes, enjoyed and endured by parents as well.

Eventually I realised that mixing the ingredients for a pizza dough is really not that much more hassle than putting water in a flour mix, and I moved on. When I moved away from home - and eventually to a place with an oven - I made pizza crusts that were too thin, and crusts that were too spongy, and I finally learned how to make my perfect pizza without even looking at a recipe. The toppings were adjusted to a bolder grown-up palate as boyfriends and visiting parents tasted and commented. I even went so far as to experiment with coarser flours and spelt - loved by some, hated by others.

Then I found out I was a celiac. It took me a while to pluck up the courage to attempt the pizza dough again - something that I had banged together with such ease, with no thought for the day when I would have to shun the main ingredient, wheat. I laboured over gluten free flour mixes, gave up and tried a pre-baked gluten free pizza base to much chagrin, and kneaded and tested until finally, something - a careful mix of many more ingredients than my gluten-containing staple recipe - was acceptable; to me, and to guinea-pig boyfriend and children alike.

Then I found out I couldn't eat corn. The main flour I used for my arsidiously honed new invention, and out the kitchen window went my pizza base with all the bread and rolls on my repertoire hot on its tail. The household went pizza-less for a time while I eyed the buckwheat and the rice flour...then with a little help from online friends and just the general hankering to taste again a piece of crisp, warm bread with my favorite toppings, I tried again. I tried raw pizza, pizza with un-Italian ingredients like flax seeds, and I tried to accept "pizza" was by now just a convenient label for a whole new dish of cracker with baked or un-baked toppings. I wasn't fooling anyone in the household either, but luckily frozen pizzas now come in tasty and even organic versions.

Then I got more ill, and the only thing that has so far been able to stop pain and discomfort has been the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, which is not just gluten free but totally grain free. I am now in the SCD stage two, approaching stage three cautiously - no miracle has occurred and it is ups & downs for sure, but the progress has been noticeable and persistent. My stomach pains have subsided. Visiting the bathroom is no longer something to be dreaded most of the time. Eating food, and then feeling the corresponding energy is a very near exhilarating feeling. All this - and starting from scratch with my pizza-baking someday doesn't really seem unfeasible any longer.

Here are a couple of links I have lined up for that day:


  1. I am very glad you're beginning to see results with the SCD diet...and have my fingers continuously crossed for you! I hope you are able to experiment with pizza crusts again very, very soon :) The use of almond flour sounds great - that is a flour I've yet to experiment with but have been wanting to for some time now.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about the end of your love affair with pizza. Grains don't always seem to like me either, so I've just gotten used to not eating it in its traditional form. I really enjoy the recipes from Brendan Brazier's Thrive Diet book instead. They have a lot of flavor.