The first chance to try my hand at cooking had finally arrived. The rest of the WeFiFo team was delighted; I was horrified. The guarantee of a delicious home-cooked lunch had kept me sustained through many increasingly chilly mornings in the office, yet as we discussed what would be on today’s menu, I saw the chances of another delicious lunch slipping from my grasp.
Fortunately, the weather was on my side, and this meant that I wouldn’t be thrown in at the deep end quite yet. it was the last Friday of September, and it was radiantly sunny, and this meant only one thing: homemade pizza. We were all in mutual agreement that it was the perfect time to try out WeFiFo’s own wood-fire pizza oven (I was particularly enthusiastic: making my own pizza meant there was no chance of accidentally poisoning the rest of the team).
It all seemed fairly straightforward: all I needed to do was to roll out the dough into a vaguely recognisable pizza shape, accessorise with as much mozzarella as was physically possible, and transfer it to the oven. I was presented with a chunk of dough, instructed only to use the rolling pin in extreme circumstances, and then left to my own devices. Simple- or so I thought.
Everyone immediately set to work on their dough, and, at pains to stand out, I threw myself in (this I mean quite literally, as within minutes I had managed to cover myself and anyone in my immediate vicinity with a liberal sprinkling of flour).
As my pizza materialised, however, I quickly realised my more pressing problem: my pizza was far from pizza shaped. In fact, I had miraculously managed to make it almost perfectly rectangular. To my left and right, delicious (and, might I add, perfectly circular) pizzas were already appearing. I eyed up the rolling pin regretfully.
my plate turned into a sea of watery tomato and cheese when the pizza was sliced, but I was, nonetheless, proud of my little rectangular delicacy.
The most important thing (or so I told myself) was the taste, and with any luck it would still taste delicious, so I decided to see it through. I piled on copious amounts of my favourite pizza toppings, hoping this would distract from its noticeable shortcomings. It was time for inspection.
In loading the pizza with undue amounts of mozzarella, I had overlooked the fact that cheese would melt in the heat of the pizza oven. If I was lucky, my pizza would simply be a little soggy. If unlucky, I’d be back at square one, and would probably be scraping melted cheese from the bottom of the pizza oven for the foreseeable future.
The best thing, I discovered, about this sort of pizza-making is the speed with which they cook; it works on the principle that the pizzas are only kept in the oven for as long as you can hold your breath, so I didn’t have long to wait before I could witness the result of my endeavours.
Once again, luck was in my favour; the pizza appeared, slightly soggy but- to my huge relief- edible. I probably wouldn’t be hosting any Italian-themed WeFiFo events anytime soon (especially as my plate turned into a sea of watery tomato and cheese when the pizza was sliced), but I was, nonetheless, proud of my little rectangular delicacy.
And, most importantly, it tasted delicious. Mission accomplished.
[Photographs by Sophie Brown]