February 19, 2008

I is for Improvise

I tried making a pizza but something else came out of it. The essence of the food fanatic in me called the shots and I decided to start from scratch in the literal sense. I wanted to make a thin crust pizza like the real thing and not some Americanized version as popularized by Dominos and the Pizza Huts of the world.

T- 15 minutes to disaster and counting down.

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong with la affaire pizza! I ended up adding too much water to the flour, which was to butterfly into a pizza base but decided otherwise. The damn dough refused to rise to the occasion. The topping ended up being a concoction of Maggie Pizza Sauce (a last minute resort), tomatoes and mozzarella cheese, which wasn't hard enough to withstand the pressure of my hand as it worked on it. When I finally cajoled the truly homemade pizza to get into a pre-heated oven, it revolted.

Blast off!

My brain did some calculations and I ended up transforming the pizza into a quiche! After sprinkling some basil and rosemary on the top and waiting for 20 minutes, out came the improvised pizza. My friend was patient enough to endure my 'floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee' jig in the kitchen though her presence made me realize a few things about myself. She devoured the...ahem...whatever-you-may-call-it and god bless her (she did joke about the 'pizza' having two crusts, one on the top as well....grrr).

It was a long time since I cooked something and the entire escapade me realize a few things about myself. I should never follow a recipe. I ever I follow a recipe; I adhere to it as if it were some truth from the Bible, I usually end up making a mess. On the contrary every time I have gone by instinct, the results have been finger licking good (no pun intended). I noted that like most other things in my life, I start off with a plan but end up being somewhere else and its usually a better place.

Where does the knack for improvising come from?

Look around and you'd see everything forces us to improv! We might not be aware but all of us improvise more than we can credit ourselves with. Starting off with tackling traffic in our cities to handling work pressure, modern life seems to have become one big jazz gig! Jazz musicians are credited with making the most of improvising and I came across an article that claimed you could learn everything about improvisation by listening to Charles Mingus. Though the definition of the word can surely be improvised upon, this article summed it up in a simple line, 'The essence of improvisation is to churn out ideas and see what sticks.' It's not sure that what comes out will work but when you out yourself on the edge, the payoff is well worth it.

Image courtesy- www.lifehack.org

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