Monday, January 30, 2012

Pizza for breakfast

I like making pizza dough, at least I think I do, because it is inexact. Imprecision is allowable in its making. The product of the effort will be more yeasty, a little light on flour, more bubbly, too salty, or overly sweet, but the imperfections are expected in the homemade version. A wide breadth is allowed from Cook's Illustrated perfection to the time I mistakenly used self-rising biscuit flour, or topped it with American cheese. Mistakes in the recipe could even become a source of pride over time, with guests commenting on the particular twist that the cook accidentally gave to his now-specialty.

It also brings the joy of chemistry, melding unlike things in varying amounts of powders and liquids to produce a warm, pleasant, rising growing mass that is almost alive. The ball of dough is expanding as I write, softly inhaling and pushing upwards towards the kitchen towel ceiling. It's difficult to leave it alone for the time it needs to rise. I can't wait until the dough is ready to be eaten as pizza, but I cherish the process of putting it together and my central role in its parenting.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Initialisms, among other things

I had a capacious thirst from having walked the streets of downtown Washington, D.C. for several hours. I bought a large, capacious bottle of Gatorade sports drink, which was in the process of trying to write itself out of existence by changing its name gradually but perceptibly to only 'G'. Why have for your product's name a recognizable, concrete thing when you could transition your "branding" to a meaningless abstraction? This was the question Gatorade had asked of itself and answered on its own, without assistance. It was in this way similar to the public radio distributor American Public Media, soon to become a trio of letters whose bond and claim to a corresponding meaning were irrevocably severed. This may not seem important, and yet it is. The fashion is for abstraction, high-mindedness without deeper meaning. Not that consumer products are an area from whence to derive a great deal of meaning, but it feels like we have started a car rolling down a hill without any plan on how to stop it. George Orwell said it best.