It's OK to Love Food

shakeys pizzaPizza is my favorite food, period. Pizza will be my last meal on Death Row, and it will be the first thing I go for when the zombie apocalypse comes. Hear me now zombies -- I will not go down without it.

It's funny, because I don't think I even tasted pizza until I was 13 or 14, when our family discovered Shakey's. I always liked pizza just fine, but I didn't become a fanatic until my husband, Dale, started making it at home. We call him El Rey de Pizza. He makes pizza from scratch nearly every Friday night. He makes the dough for the crust the day before, and it rises in the refrigerator overnight. That's how the pros do it.

We even celebrate with a pizza song we wrote ourselves:

Pizza, pizza, ya, ya, ya
Pizza, pizza, ha, ha, ha

The version above is named Punishment Pizza. Toppings are olive oil, mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, kalamata olives, shrimp, fresh garlic, goat cheese and habanero peppers. I love the habs, but they are lethally ass-on-fire hot. At first it wasn't my favorite pizza, and I wondered why he kept making it when he knew I had a hard time with the peppers. Ever heard of jaloproctosis?

I asked him if he was mad at me and was retaliating by making pizza so hot that I suffered. This was advanced and complex thinking for his male brain. He was like, huh? As it turns out, he's just a simple guy who likes hot stuff. jalapeno peppersBut he thought my inquiry was funny, so he started calling it Punishment Pizza.

While I have grown to love it, I pick most of the peppers off. The flavor of the habs comes through but not the killer scorch. Dale's pizza is cheesy creamy goodness bursting with bold fresh bites on top of a crust with complex texture -- chewy in the middle and crisp on the outside.

So, why am I writing about pizza? It's about loving and respecting food. It seems like everyone is quitting something these days -- gluten, dairy, meat, sugar. I went the denial route in my youth in an attempt to lose weight, but it didn't work for me. What did work is accepting that it's OK to love food.

Super-restrictive diets seem to be about a search for control. Control hasn't really worked out for me as a life strategy, so I adopted a different approach that emphasizes flying by the seat of your pants. I eat just about everything within reason. Certainly not mass quantities, though. I avoid processed foods and fake stuff and diet-anything. If I'm going to eat pizza, I want it to be the best pizza on the planet.

Eating is one of life's great joys, and I find that loving food with a passion makes it easier to bypass the mediocre junk that makes us fat and unhealthy.


Donna Pekar authors a blog called Rock the Silver, about aging with panache. It's about being fearlessly gray and relentlessly cool.

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