Pizza has always been a major part of my life from childhood to senior citizen,
but I had never thought about the “hidden messages” in that delicious food that I consumed innocently just because it tasted good.
earliest memories of my childhood are of our weekly tradition of making homemade pizza and watching old black and white scary movies as a family on a weekend evening.
Mom would make a pizza crust and she and dad would fry up sausage, chop up green peppers and onions, shred mozzarella cheese (and dad always added a little cheddar cheese), and make the sauce.
After setting all the individual items on a counter, each of us would surround the crust with its sauce and be given an item to put on the pizza in the order given by mom.
While the pizza was cooked to its amazing perfection from our group efforts,
we washed our hands and went into the living room to choose a movie to watch,
which usually gave the pizza plenty of time to finish cooking.
After getting our pizza, we sat with mom on the couch while dad controlled the VCR from his chair.
The beginning one-third to one-half of the movie gave us plenty of time to eat our pizza
before the “scary” part drove us to climb up the back of the couch to escape the “threat” on the screen!
(It did actually happen when we watched “The Killer Shrews”—we have laughed about it over the years.)
That pizza-making tradition was something mom and dad continued for the rest of their lives. They never ate a store-bought pizza without “fixing” it with their special additions.
When, in 1980, they moved to Searcy, Arkansas, and we began having an annual
Hicks family Holiday gathering sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Day,
there was always one day that was “pizza day” and mom made her homemade crusts
and dad helped her chop ingredients, fry sausage, and put the pizzas together and
then we would all gather in the living room, usually watch a bowl game and eat our pizza.
Every year it was a reminder of childhood in our family and somehow was our “comfort food” without our even thinking about it.
CHANGES: after 2009, our family holiday gatherings changed. Like most families, we had family struggling with personal issues and the resulting “explosion” served to make future gatherings never the same again and, after 2009, we never had the entire family together again for that special Hicks family Holiday gathering and mom and dad’s pizza.
With the recent passing of mom and dad, I have been confronted with many memories
and mom’s homemade pizza is a major one. I had never realized or stopped to think about it before, but mom used making that pizza to send several very important messages to our young hearts:
1) working together as a family, we made something we could all enjoy
2) each of us was an important part of the process and each of us felt we had contributed to the final outcome
3) our parents prepped the ingredients so that we could “help” without knife skills at our young ages
so we never even thought about the idea that we couldn’t do something to help
4) we had fun making the pizza and never thought about it as a chore – we looked forward to it every week
and could count on it happening
5) we “celebrated” our accomplishment as we talked about how great it tasted while we watched the movie
Hidden messages . . . in that special pizza . . . in mom’s pizza process
Hidden messages . . . planting wisdom for life in unsuspecting hearts
Hidden messages . . . YES! messages hidden in our hearts to be discovered later—
the ultimate comfort food!