Barbecued Pizza?… Why not?

The National Association of Professional Organizers, a group without a single solitary male in it, sounds like an unnecessarily belligerent organization to me. I wonder if they might be the same group responsible for giving men directions in the car while the men are driving.

The members of this venerable association have grabbed some great news headlines such as the article from the Chicago Tribune titled Eliminating clutter gives new retirees clean break. Not to be outdone, the Columbus Dispatch later weighed in with a missive entitled Planning helps keep fuss to a minimum. Fascinating reading.

Because I am neither professional or organized, I have had recurring thoughts about grilling a pizza. You don’t need a tall, funny-looking white hat and a bad attitude to be a pizza chef. You don’t even need to be Italian.

Here are some amazing facts about pizza you will not believe you did not know:

The circular plastic thingamajig, which keeps the lid from collapsing on to your delivered pizza, was invented by Carmela Vitale of Dix Hills, New York, who filed for the patent on Feb. 3, 1983. (What was there before this?)

Americans eat approximately 350 slices per second with the number-one topping being pepperoni on 36 per cent.

Pickled ginger, minced mutton and paneer cheese are the top-three choices in India.

Brazilian pizza shops offer green peas, while the Russians like to go with red herring pizzas.

A tasty combination of mayonnaise, potato and bacon called Mayo Jaga, along with savoury eel and squid, are runaway favourites for pizza toppings in Japan.

Food historians, another quite-lively and well-informed group of individuals not to be mocked, widely agree that pizza-like dishes were consumed around the Mediterranean by Greeks and Egyptians, but the modern version is said to have been invented in 1889, by Raffaele Esposito of Naples.

Rumour has it that he baked the first pizza especially for the visiting Italian King, Umberto I and his Queen Margherita. (I didn’t even know Italians had kings.)

Chinese pizzas feature sliced water chestnuts, while Malaysians prefer low-sodium soy sauce and chicken.

For the grill master of your clan, there is a barbecue apron available made from alpaca and afghan, featuring a likeness of one of the beasts and the slogan “Alpacas Rock”. I can’t help wondering how an alpaca steak might taste fresh off the grill.

To make a barbecued pizza, start with dough that may be store-bought or rolled to one-quarter-inch thick, keeping it well-floured. Lightly brown the dough on a clean, oiled grill. If you only brown one side, put your toppings on this side, reduce the heat of the grill and keep a close eye while the cheese is melting, being careful not to burn the crust.

If the toppings you are going to use are large slices of meat or veggies, grill them up a bit so they will be cooked before the dough is burned. Toppings can vary widely. Grated Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, garlic, balsamic vinegar, bell peppers and hot Italian sausages are popular, but you could throw on herbs, green onions or even black peppers.

So just keep a close eye on your pizza while it is cooking, so the cheese melts and the crust does not burn. And make sure no one sneaks broccoli or cauliflower on it.

Shop locally and grill up a storm.

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