Memory is a curious thing. It’s a constant source of wonderment to me – why do we remember the things we do? I remember the seemingly most random and trivial things from my past while things that I think must have been important – even life changing – totally elude me. I know my father was laid off for an extended period of time due to a union strike during my later childhood. This was probably a period fraught with uncertainty and The Grown Ups certainly must have been acting weird and a little stressed. But I don’t recall it. At all. But I do remember my Uncle Jake bringing us balloons one time when he came to visit. Extended unemployment vs. balloons that probably popped within the hour? Go figure. Now I do have a rudimentary grasp of The Big Stuff we remember – the sources of national and international trauma. I can remember precisely where I was standing in the halls of Herndon High School when they announced over the PA system that President Kennedy had been shot. Even today, almost 50 years later, I could take you to the exact spot. September 11th? I can replay in minute and technicolor detail in my mind the sequence of events when I learned that the twin towers had gone down. For this type of memory we have our highly evolved brains to thank. When our bodies go into “flight or fight” mode, our adrenal medulla secretes norepinephrine. It acts as a printer of sorts that fixes information into our long term memory. But balloons? Much as I love my Uncle Jake, I just don’t get the balloons. So, what I’m getting to in my own circuitous and roundabout way is this – my son Austin as a toddler had this little sweatshirt that he loved. It was turquoise and bright yellow. It had this little Italian guy on it tossing a pizza in the air and saying (via the familiar cartoon balloon) “Eat a pie, a pizza pie. Mozzarella, too. Sausages, mushrooms, lots of goo.” Every pizza I have eaten since has brought forth the memory of that cute little boy with the curly brown hair and big blue eyes wearing his little blue and yellow sweatshirt. These are the random memories that make being a human being so great – I get to treasure that little piece of my life over and over thanks to some synapse that formed for reasons that science does not yet (and may never) totally understand. And getting pizza in the bargain isn’t bad either. And (as you might expect) here is a recipe for a favorite pizza around the Walker household. A quick dinner for a busy day when you can’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Spinach Alfredo Pizza
one pizza crust (make it or buy it) about 14 to 16 inches is good – if you can find it, Udi’s makes a pizza crust that is a very good gluten free alternative
1 jar alfredo sauce
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 10 oz pkg frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed until as dry as you can get it
1 can Rotel
8 oz (more or less) of Provolone cheese slices, torn into largish chunks
8 oz (more or less) of shredded mozzarella
Put your pizza shell on a pizza stone (recommended) or a cookie sheet. Mix the alfredo sauce, parmesan and sqouzen spinach (that may not be a word but it should be) together; spread over the pizza shell. Top with the drained can of Rotel, distributing it evenly. Lay on the Provolone. Lay on the mozzarella. Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes. Then eat a pie, a pizza pie and treasure your own memories.