Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘pizza

Kitchen Aromas

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Honestly, I don’t feel worthy of the aromas that greeted me from Cyndie’s kitchen when I walked in the door after work yesterday. She pulled me all the way into some of my fondest November memories with a robust batch of fresh Chex mix roasting in the oven.

Threw me back to Thanksgiving day parades, afternoon football games, and my dear ol’ mom.

I don’t know which came first. Did my love of cereal lead to an overwhelming attachment to Chex mix, or did my fondness for Chex mix lead to my mind-boggling passion for cereal?

No sooner does the mix come out of the oven and Cyndie puts in a pizza crust to pre-bake.

Not one to avoid a challenge, she was working her magic on an untested recipe for an adventurous fresh cranberry balsamic white pizza.

I can sincerely say that this did not bring back a single memory or aroma from my past. I can take, or leave, an arugula salad on my pizza, but ricotta cheese in place of a good salty tomato sauce left this experiment lacking.

It looked tantalizing, though.

Just needed more sauce and maybe a heaping crown of mozzarella cheese for my tastes. And bacon.

What?

That was Cyndie’s idea. We read somewhere that the most common ingredient in contest-winning recipes happens to be bacon flavor in some shape or form.

We both got a chuckle out of that.

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Written by johnwhays

November 14, 2018 at 7:00 am

Food Love

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Thirty-seven years ago this morning, Cyndie and I woke up in a cute little cabin by the Cascade River on the north shore of Lake Superior. It was the first day of our week-long honeymoon that would ultimately include some camping, and then visits to one of the old Wildwood cabins in Hayward and a night at Telemark Lodge near Cable.

One of the memories we laugh about is a breakfast we enjoyed at a restaurant where everything was perceived as exceptionally perfect. The best eggs ever, the toast was out of this world, the service, the lighting… I believe we were in such a state of newlywed bliss that we were filtering every single experience through a lens overflowing with love.

Or, we just really love food.

Last night I brought home Cyndie’s favorite pizza for dinner. She arrived with a package of coconut infused dark chocolate covered almonds for me.

I gotta say, they tasted pretty close to similarly exceptional as that brilliant breakfast we enjoyed 37 years ago.

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Written by johnwhays

September 20, 2018 at 6:00 am

Natural Oscillation

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There are days, and even just moments within days, when it feels like the world surrounding me is flowing away from my presence. Then there are probably an equal number of occasions when the sensation comes across more like everything is blowing toward me.

Well, duh. Ebb and flow. Of course it would feel that way. The thing is, I have to pay enough attention to perceive that oscillation. It might seem obvious, but it is also, for the most part, invisible. That is, unless you take into account the marvels of the universe that are all riding along on the same waves.

Our animals, the weather, the innumerable growing things everywhere around us, they are all dictating and reacting to the energy that pulsates and resonates through our beings.

We recently watched a documentary about water, and it pointed out how much connection there is throughout the world, simply through water. Our bodies are mostly water. If you and I drank from the same pool, we would have the same water within us. It would be the same water being consumed by the plants and animals in and around that same pool.

The same water that has been cycling from sea, to sky, to earth for as long as we can imagine.

It’s no wonder the pull of the moon and the reacting tides make such a common impression on people. It’s affecting the same water in all of us.

Or, something like that.

For some reason, my craving for pizza tends to arrive with a mystical regularity that exceeds most natural frequencies. I benefit from not being very picky about types and styles, and am blessed that Cyndie is almost as adventurous as me, so frequency comes with variety.

Last night, she baked a homemade pizza on the grill.

All I can say about that is, “MmmMmmmm.”

That’s a comment I tend to make around here at mealtimes with an unsurprising regularity. It’s my natural pizza oscillation.

 

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Written by johnwhays

July 13, 2017 at 6:00 am

Pizza Magic

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 I live with her every day, but Cyndie continues to amaze me with her gifts of getting things to happen. Last night she listed off a couple of dinner menu options that failed to inspire me. Reading my hesitation, she started tossing out other ideas.

“Pizza!”

She said the magic word. That choice resonated for me. I had actually noticed a craving earlier in the day for her homemade pizza, but didn’t want to trouble her with it. Obviously, she sensed it anyway and dug the option out of her bag of tricks.

She channeled George with her masterful crafting of the dough for the crust. I reminded her that I saw George put his crust in to partially bake before adding toppings. As I helped to grate a large block of mozzarella cheese for her, my fingers got cold.

Cyndie mentioned it had come out of the freezer, as had the pre-baked sausage she was using. Even though she had not planned to make a pizza for dinner, she didn’t hesitate to react to my craving and rustle up the best of ingredients in our kitchen, both fresh and frozen.

She knocked this one out of the park!

Even with a sauce she admitted was a compromise settled on by necessity, this custom pizza pie was fantastic. I fear how much better it might have turned out had she been given proper time to plan in advance.

I witnessed some real pizza magic last night, I tell you.

Pizza magic.

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Written by johnwhays

April 25, 2017 at 6:00 am

Improving Outlook

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It is said that one way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. I won’t deny being an easily satisfied eater. Ply me with delectable delights and I will instantly offer my allegiance. Cyndie and George hatched a plan to assuage my recent exhaustion and woe with a promise of homemade pizza and some massage.

Who wouldn’t begin to feel more hopeful at offerings like that?

I decided to take some of my own advice, choosing to turn off the sad news flowing constantly out of my car radio and replacing it with my personal library of long-cherished music for the drive home from the day-job yesterday. It was bad enough that I had to commute to the day-job on my usual extra day on the ranch. I didn’t need the added downer of endless news-feed distress.dscn5679e

I stepped in the door from walking the dog and tending to the horses to find George’s smiling face in the kitchen. He was working dough and creating scrumptious food art that looked as good as it smelled. And trust me, it ultimately tasted even better than it’s aroma implied.

As if that wasn’t enough to loosen my strings, Cyndie had a fire glowing in the fireplace and offered up the opportunity to have my stress headache massaged away.

Yeah, those knotted muscles in my back and shoulders were real. Real crunchy.

Right up until they weren’t.

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And as quickly as that, the ache in my head wasn’t so noticeable, either. Now that’s my kind of medication for what ails you. Turn off the news, put on good music, get massaged, and eat a special meal prepared by hand with loving care. No pills or alcohol required.

I’m feeling some hope that these steps of intervention have me well placed to carry on a search for that hope I lost somewhere along the way in November.

Cyndie is gaining strength and ability every day in her journey of healing and rehabilitation, post knee replacement surgery. I am beginning to believe once again that she will someday be able to help care for the horses and walk Delilah, which would lighten my load considerably at a time when the demands of the day-job appear to be intensifying significantly.

If I am unable to find hope in anything else at this time, I am at the very least relieved to have found hope in this improving outlook.

Here’s to the prospect of a lighter load.

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Written by johnwhays

January 7, 2017 at 7:00 am

Rain’s Back

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At least we had a week where it didn’t rain on us. Yesterday afternoon, the ground was just starting to show signs of drying out a bit. That’s over now. img_ip1763e

The horses were grazing in a tight cluster under the gloomy sky. I’m pretty sure they had a sense of what was coming our way. The precipitation made a slow approach, prolonging the wait for the inevitable.

I had just the plan for a rainy night. I had volunteered to prepare dinner for George and Anneliese, and I was serving up my specialty. I brought home a pizza.

That meant we could warm up the kitchen by using the oven. But, shhhh… don’t tell Cyndie. I had her favorite pizza delivered to my workplace, half-baked. She wouldn’t want to know she was missing her beloved deep-dish and more episodes of our current tv series addiction, 2007’s “Life” with Damian Lewis, Sarah Shahi, and Adam Arkin.

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We’ll keep that secret just between us.

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Written by johnwhays

October 26, 2016 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Pizza Therapy

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Since I don’t drive to the day-job on Fridays, Thursday nights have become my “Friday night.” Even though my work week is only 4 days long, I am no less exhausted by the end of it. Yesterday, despite all that I was struggling to manage at work, Cyndie decided to complicate it in the early afternoon with a request that I be responsible for dinner.

DSCN4553eSigh. Really?

Okay. I called Gina Maria’s.

One of the greatest culinary events for Cyndie and I occurred the day our long-time favorite pizzeria opened a branch within delivery range of my work place. When the guy who stopped by to announce the new location told me they could do half-baked pizzas, my heart swelled.

I had a new dinner solution, and it was Cyndie’s number 1 choice for pizza.

We invited George to join us for Thursday night pizza therapy. He calls it Thursday night Hays therapy. We think of it as “friend therapy.” Most often, our weekly dinners haven’t been pizza. Maybe it should have been “pie therapy.”

Last night, pizza was just right. Cyndie added an incredible salad and decadent “healthy” multi-berry pie for dessert. It was healthy because it had pecans and walnuts and oatmeal, along with the fruit. She even added flax seeds. I figure the healthy amount of brown sugar in the topping was how it earned that moniker.

The dessert pie was great, but the pizza pie was the key to making dinner therapeutic.

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It was pizzatacular and pizzarrific.

It’s therapizza!

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Written by johnwhays

April 1, 2016 at 6:00 am