I am not a party person. I get it honestly. Ask any of the women in my family to a party and I guarantee that they will all have something else to do that probably involves cleaning the gutters or washing the dishes or jumping off a cliff so as to avoid said party.
My husband is a party person. Not a partier. We are 20 years too old for that. He likes to be social. I like to be on my sofa. It's really a pity that I don't like cats as I would make an excellent cat lady. I digress.
For some unknown reason that I can't even begin to articulate, I decided on Tuesday that I wanted to have a party on Wednesday. For my 41st birthday. You can feel free to ask my mom or my step-mom, but I'm pretty sure neither of them EVER remember me wanting to have a birthday party.
My mom said that the last time she remembers celebrating my birthday together was when I was 21. Twenty years its taken me to celebrate my birthday with my mom. You can comment on what a slouch of a daughter I am later.
Anyway, not being a very social person, I had no idea who I might invite to this spur of the moment party for me. And at the last minute, on a school night, who would come? Turns out just about everyone I called was in the mood for spontaneous. We had 28 people over for pizza on Wednesday night and it was fantastic.
If you can believe it, my camera loving, food blogging self did not take a single photo of the food. Not one photo. But that’s cool because you would have been jealous anyway. We made six (!!) batches of pizza dough, which made approximately 40 pizzas. My husband pre-made about 20 skins to get people started, then we pulled two batches of dough as we went. We set up platters full of toppings on our ten-foot long backyard table. Italian sausage, prosciutto, pepperoni, grilled zucchini, grilled asparagus, roasted red peppers, artichokes, arugula, mushrooms, fresh tomatoes, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, olive oil, salt, garden tomato sauce, mozzarella, chèvre, figs. It was totally over the top and absolutely delicious.
Rob and our friend Dan manned the grill topped with pizza stones while everyone shared each other’s creations. We made two different crust recipes as an experiment. The first, from Mario Batali's Molto Gusto was very easy and great for pre-baking the crusts. The second three batches of dough were made using the pizza bianca crust recipe from The Cook's Illustrated Cookbook. Broken record time, people. Get this cookbook. It is the bomb. This is my favorite pizza crust recipe so far. I could eat it every day and I don't care that it takes longer to rise.
We had two beautiful salads, a homemade apple crisp compliments of our friend Alison, a chocolate cake, and a banana cake (into which I mistakenly added two sticks of butter instead of one and onto which my son lovingly stuck flower from our garden). And wine. We had lots of wine. I wish you all could have been there.
Can I tell you something? Live on the edge. Do something that isn’t part of your normal routine. Do something that is a stretch for you. It might just be the best decision you’ve made all month. It might just be amazing.
(P.S. Thank you to my wonderful friends, fantastic husband, patient sous-chef mom, and dishwashing/chauffeuring kids who made my birthday completely awesome. I am one lucky girl.)