The other night, my husband Tony and I decided to make pizza, a tradition we've begun ever since we found pre-made gluten-free crust at a nearby health food store. Except that when Tony went to pick up the crust, the store had run out. Apparently a woman has started coming in in the mornings and buying up all the gluten-free pizza crusts, EVERY DAY. I mean, honestly.
"A pox on her family," I declare, when Tony calls to tell me this. Then I add, "Just get some gluten-free pizza crust mix instead."
He returns home with his purchases. Which turn out not to be gluten-free pizza crust mix, but all-purpose gluten-free flour.
"The cashier told me this was for pizza," Tony says.
"Pox," I say.
I look up a recipe on the Internet while Tony chops the toppings. Halfway through my dough-making, I realize that the recipe calls for yeast. Which we don't have.
"Do we really need yeast?" I ask.
"YES!" exclaims Tony, to whom pizza is a very, very important part of life.
I run to the corner store, buy yeast, return, and mix it into the recipe. But something is wrong. Very wrong.
"The dough is really crumbly," Tony points out.
"I noticed," I say, through gritted teeth.
"Maybe it needs more water."
"You can't just ADD WATER for FUN. It's a RECIPE. You need to FOLLOW it."
"Did you follow it?"
I reread the recipe. I reread it again. I wonder if maybe, the person who posted this recipe is playing a massive hoax and has put in the wrong amount of flour just to mess with people, like someone who lets off a fart bomb on crowded metro and then gets off the train.
I reread the recipe a third time.
"Oh," I say out loud, and immediately regret this.
"It... um... I doubled the flour."
Tony's face freezes over. He turns away, quickly, trying to hide this from me.
"I'll just add more water," I say, casually, knowing this night is headed for certain disaster.
I add water. The dough is still very, very crumbly. I add more water. Still drier than Ghandi's flip flops.
Then, out of nowhere, I am stirring oatmeal.
"It's pretty mushy," Tony says, helpfully.
I say nothing.
"You should add some flour."
Fortunately for him, he does.
I spread out the pizza dough, which is as easy as spreading putty mixed with Elmer's Glue. The more I try, the more the combination of low blood sugar and irritation build, and soon, I want to fling the dough across the room, tray and all, mostly because I know how much this will annoy my husband. But I grew up in an Eastern European home, where you do not waste food, even if it came out of the garbage. Instead, I say a little prayer and pop the dough into the oven for five minutes before putting the toppings on, hoping for a miracle, i.e. the extra water somehow getting sucked out of the dough and saving this evening. Five minutes later, I take it out. It actually looks okay.
"I think it's going to work," I said, as Tony returns to the kitchen.
"Let me do the toppings," he says. "Just in case."
I let him. We cook the pizza. We watch Family Guy on YouTube while we wait. When it comes out, it tastes pretty good.
"It's a miracle," Tony says, his mouth full. "A holy miracle, from above."
"Oh, for Godsakes," I say. "Don't be so dramatic.
Follow Natalie Karneef on Twitter: www.twitter.com/karneefn