Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What's cooking?

Mam-ah's Mini-Pizzas

"I'm not asking you to fix ‘em tonight, Mom, but you know what you haven't made in a while? Those little pizzas."

"That's scary," said Hubby. "I was just thinking of them last week."

Everyone who remembers their grandmothers probably remembers them as the best cook. My maternal grandmother, Elsa Carlena Terese Mack Baldwin (I just called her Mam-ah) definitely was. I don't remember ever noticing a cookbook in her kitchen, seeing her look at a recipe or using any of the standard forms of measurement that we rely upon.

She just knew.

After failing to teach me some of her recipes for years, Mam-ah finally became disgusted with my inability to grasp her "handful" (she had hands as big as a catcher's mitt) or "dash" method of measuring ingredients.

Deciding I was hopeless in a kitchen, she invented a simple recipe on the spot she thought I might be able to handle. It goes like this:

English Muffins, sliced in half, VERY lightly toasted
Top with a slice of American cheese.
Add a slice of tomato
Cris-cross with two half-slices of bacon
Place under broiler until done.

I'm sure Mam-ah is still looking down on me and shaking her head. Hers always came out perfectly. Mine? I have to precook the bacon a little because if I don't, it's either underdone or the rest is bordering on burnt.

Okay, okay. No "bordering." It is.

Variations: Try different cheeses; tomato sauce or prepared spaghetti sauce rather than the slice of fresh tomato (but that's best!); use crumbled, cooked bacon instead of sliced, or diced ham, or (already cooked) ground beef or (preferably Italian) sausage. Don't forget the possibility of diced onion and/or bell pepper. A "dash" of powdered garlic and/or oregano?

Once the "dangerous" work like slicing, dicing and toasting is done and before the broiler is needed, there's a safe window when kids can be kept busy on the "assembly line."

Make tons. To reheat leftovers, place the "pizzas" (do not layer) on a microwave-safe plate, cover loosely with wrap. "Nuke" (depending on your microwaves's voltage) for . . .

I dunno. They're too good even cold.

LATER: Linked to The Carnival of the Recipes #59 (An Ode to Autumn).



Anonymous Christine said...

My mom made a variation on these little pizzas too! I used to love these, and they were so easy to make. Mom spread tomato paste on the english muffins, sprinkled grated cheese on top, and then let us kids top our own with little pepperoni slices, or crumbled hamburger, bits of mushrooms, whatever was handy. Delish!

9:59 AM  
Blogger Don said...

As you say, my grandmother was the best cook. Born in 1902 in a small mining town and learned the art at her grandparents' hotel. Would never have done a pizza, though, or hamburgers or anything like that. Her family worked themselves out of the working class and she was damn sure never going back. Nowadays we don't care about that sort of thing.

10:51 PM  

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