Aunt Beck was great not only because she was my aunt but because she was the one who introduced me to pizza!
Aunt Beck, 1991
She was my mother’s youngest sister. After Aunt Beck and Uncle Dick got married, they lived for a short while in a trailer in the 3-corner lot across the road from our farm in Pickerington. I was really young and Mom did not allow me to cross the road and walk over there by myself but, I always wanted to! A few years later, they had a daughter and lived in Columbus.
Let me go back to around 1955 when I was 10 years old! (Ok, so now you know how old I am!) Aunt Beck, Uncle Dick and their toddler, Vicki, were visiting us one day when Aunt Beck asked if I’d like to go home with them for the night. I loved to go to their home when I was a kid, so my pajamas and toothbrush were packed fast! But, there was one thing I didn’t love and that was applesauce! Aunt Beck did love it and served it sometimes at meal time. I really didn’t like apple sauce and always tried to get out of eating it!
As we neared the Whitehall area Aunt Beck asked me if I had ever eaten pizza. I told her, “No, I’ve never heard of it. What is it?” She explained, “It’s a baked round of dough with tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni on it.” Then I’m sure I badgered her with a lot of questions like, “What is pepperoni?” I could not imagine this thing called pizza and didn’t think too much of it by the sound of it because it seemed so different from anything I had ever eaten. But, I was pretty sure it wouldn’t be served with apple sauce!
Anyway, after a while, Uncle Dick pulled into the parking lot at Massey’s Pizza (interesting history.) We were met with an explosion of the weirdest aroma I had ever smelled in my life when the door to the pizza parlor opened. I thought, “Yuck, what is that smell?” I wondered how I was going to get out of this! Soon enough this huge circle of pizza was delivered to the table and Aunt Beck put a slice of it on my plate. I took a little bite and didn’t know what to think. Then I tried another bite with mozzarella oozing and by the time I neared the end of my first slice, my love affair with pizza had begun ~ thank you, Aunt Beck!
My Homemade Pizza
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup oil
1-1/3 cups warm water
Combine the following ingredients well:
2-8 ounce cans tomato sauce
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano 1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 pound Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1-3.25 ounce package sliced pepperoni
In a large bowl, add yeast to lukewarm water, about 100 degrees. Stir well until yeast is dissolved and let it rest for 5 minutes.
Add flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Mix well.
Stir mixture with a wooden spoon; then use your hands to bring it together into a ball.
Knead for about 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil.
Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets evenly coated with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes.
After the dough has rested, divide it into 2 balls to press on pizza pans.
Press the dough out on the pans up over the edge a little.
PRE-BAKE the crust before filling is added at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes, until they puff up and the surface looks slightly dry.
Remove the pre-baked crusts from the oven.
Spread with thin layer of tomato sauce and toppings.
Bake at 425 degrees until cheese is hot and bubbly, about 15 minutes.