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Getting Over the Fear of Cooking This Year

Homemade pizza, recipes below

Last night I made New York style thin crust and Chicago deep dish pizza at home using 99 cent bags of whole wheat dough from Trader Joe’s and mozzarella cheese from Costco; they turned out really good. The experience left me thinking about how easy and inexpensive it was to make pizza. Why have I been paying up to $20 for a large pizza with as little as two toppings that doesn't taste good! Because like me, many people have a fear of cooking and that fear becomes more intense when it comes to dishes like pizza which seem too hard and mysterious to make. This revelation made me think of Mrs. Vasta. During my senior year in High School back on Croton-on-Hudson in New York's Hudson Valley. In 1980 and 81, classmate Joe Vasta and I became very good friends because we had a mutual love for the game of lacrosse which bordered on fanatical and we both loved good food. On Friday nights his mom made homemade pizza and when you walked into the house the wonderful aroma of baking pizzas was unforgettable. Mrs. Vasta made great pizza! But what’s interesting is that she grew up in an Irish American family in Croton and thus she had to learn to make pizza as a new bride. She married Joe’s dad Salvatore Vasta, a warm working class Italian American who loved his heritage and its food. Mr. Vasta must have grew up eating homemade pizza in his home and wanted that experience for his children too. Mrs. Vasta understood that and learned how to cook Italian food for her very large family as an expression of love. The experience of eating Mrs. Vasta homemade pizza back in the 1980s, planted a seed in my mind that I wanted to do the same for my family. Last night I solved the pizza mystery (it’s really not a mystery, it’s getting passed the fear of failure) and I am own my way to developing a new family tradition that I hope to pass on to my two children. Mrs. Vasta, thank you for inviting me into your home and for your culinary inspiration. Below are some pizza recipes that I hope will inspire you.

New York style thin crust pizza recipe: http://1700milesofcooking.wordpress.com/2007/08/11/nearly-perfect-pizza/

Chicago style deep dish pizza recipe: http://www.theworldwidegourmet.com/recipes/pizza-chicago/

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