Are You Feeling Sad?

No worries, no worries, oh. You’re gonna be alright.

— Little Dragon

The route to Saturday’s successful grandma pie started a few weeks ago when I first watched Carla Makes Sheet Pan Pizza.

I had assumed it was a recently published episode of From the Test Kitchen when it popped up in my recommended playlist, but it is nearly a year old. It’s a delightful 11 minutes that close with other Bon Appétit staff members cursing with pleasure after their first bite.

Pizza has been one of my regular cravings during the COVID-19 “safer-at-home” orders. Despite a couple decent pies from a local restaurant, they hadn’t scratched the itch. Carla made it clear that this would.

I haven’t been spending my homebound days baking like many of my friends (and many Americans in general). In this case, though, I made it my mission to make this entire thing from scratch.

The original plan was to make it for our ninth wedding anniversary. Problem number one: we had flour in the house but no yeast. Yeast has been hard to come by during the pandemic. I had yet to see any of it restocked in our local grocery stores when I’ve made my occasional excursions out for provisions. On Mother’s Day, however, when I ventured out for my first low risk meet up with my parents and sister—outdoor, ten feet apart, masks on—I was able to procure yeast from my mama.

When I went about the making of the dough, though, a new problem: the yeast wasn’t active. No exciting reactions in my warm water. No foaming. Nada. Anniversary plan derailed but, no worries, dear reader, we ate very well.

In the time before the coronavirus, I’d cultivated a life of great convenience. We live in a comfortable neighborhood, surrounded by grocery stores and shops of all kinds, all within walking distance. They are usually stocked with all manner of goods in multiple varieties to appease the upscale palettes of the surrounding zip codes. How brain disruptive to be denied such a common ingredient?

I would not be denied. A little online hunting and a large quantity of yeast was ordered. There would be no instant gratification, as it would take more than a week to arrive. Still, the delay of good things, the earning of them even if it is just by having to wait, has been a lesson I have enjoyed re-learning over the last two months.

Ten days later than planned, yeast went back into the mixer. Ten minutes after that, bubbles appeared. A ball of dough formed. 24 hours after that, a pizza went into the oven and, fuck, that’s delicious.

There’s joy in cooking. There’s joy in circling the block. There’s joy in Los Angeles. There’s joy in remembering to care for others.

Even now, there’s joy.

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