Monday, July 21, 2008
Comfort Food & Movies
When my dad left my mom (back in the days before divorce was common - it was just something that happened to married couples on TV or in movies), we used to have pizza and movie nights. We'd get Appian Way pizza mix, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese and canned mushrooms. It was always a challenge to spread the pizza dough over our one round pizza sheet (I'm not sure why we never just used two pizza mixes), but we always managed. Lisa and I would take turns chopping up the pepperoni and cheese and spreading everything out just so on the dough. She was the mushroom advocate; I didn't hold with the little slimy fungi (my taste buds have since developed more sophistication), so I watched carefully to make sure at least a third of the pizza was left fungus free.
We'd have ice cold Coca Cola with our pizza, preferably in the little glass bottles it used to be sold in. Sometimes we'd put the bottles in the freezer, taking them out before we had little Coke bombs go off inside. I rarely drink sodas now, but when I do it's a Coke. Classic Coke, none of that diet crap. If you're gonna be decadent, have the real thing, says I!
While waiting for the pizza to bake, we'd make our dessert: old-fashioned homemade fudge. The kind made with corn syrup, cocoa powder and sugar, stirred in a saucepan over a burner until a dollop dropped in cold water forms a little ball. Then it was time to pour it into the pre-buttered glass pan and put in the fridge until it set. Sometimes no matter how long we stirred it, the fudge refused to cooperate. This became spoon fudge. It tasted the same, but I always felt it was cheating to eat it that way, but it never stopped me.
Pizza, Coke and fudge. The triumvirate of comfort food. And it always went with a movie, usually a musical with Gene Kelly. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, THE PIRATE, SINGING IN THE RAIN, SUMMER STOCK... these were the movies that eased the transition between being part of a 'normal' family with a stay at home mom to having Mom suddenly go to work full time and seeing Dad once a month. It was not an easy time, but the memories of the construction of the pizza, dropping drips of hot fudge into the water and watching anxiously to see if THIS time it would set, and the taste of ice-cold Coke while watching Gene Kelly (oh, those glorious thighs...not that I noticed them at that age) dance...well, those indulgent movie nights are among some of the best memories of my life.