Archived in 2022

Originally posted on 21 Dec 2011

Some families have a large, lovely ham for Christmas dinner. Some have beef. Others do a sort of Thanksgiving recap with another glorious turkey. If you’re a Who down in Whoville you partake of the festive Roast Beast.

My family? We have pizza.

Not just any pizza, of course. We’re not talking about your standard Cardboard Platter Delivered in a Cardboard Box. We’re not talking Wood-Fired Artisanal. We’re talking Homemade Handmade Delicious Disc of Evil Goodness. The sort of dish that’s so good you only get it once a year. The sort of dish that’s such a pain in the ass to make that it’s also the only day of the year when you reliably get to hear Mom swear. Oh, yes, that’s the stuff.

While I’m not entirely sure of my facts here, I believe the history of the Christmas Pizza tradition can be traced back to when we were living on base back in Jacksonville (late 1970’s). Dad got some pizza stones for Mom for Christmas one year. And, DAMN, what pizza stones these are! The stones you can buy in Willams-Sonoma{.broken_link} or Bed Bath and Beyond or even Macy’s all pale in comparison to these things. I believe Mom’s are a dense ceramic that’s close to eighteen inches in diameter and an inch thick. Each of them (there’s a pair) must weigh a good twelve pounds, at least. To bring them to temperature you need to heat the oven for at least an hour. I’ve never seen their like and admit I’m now envious of them.

Anyway, Dad got Mom the stones so naturally pizza must follow. Last year I made a deep dish pizza in the style of Zachary’s (pictured here). Prior to baking it weighed approximately six pounds. The pizzas Mom made for Christmas—while not deep-dish style—were even more considerable. Thick, homemade crust. So laden with toppings that the pie would be too heavy to slide off the peel (leading to the aforementioned swearing), even with the cornmeal beneath the crust. One piece and you’d be done in but naturally on Christmas you would try to eat two (or more).

That’s Christmas to me: tasty, tasty homemade pizza.

This year I’ll be here in SF for Christmas and will have at least one friend joining me for the holiday. I have plans to make my own holiday pizzas. They won’t be nearly as formidable as the ones Mom used to make but they’ll still embody the spirit of Christmas to me.