Pizza… What a beautiful story of integration. Did you know that this flatbread treat was looked down on by Italians before the Americans lifted it up to a category of its own? In the 1700s, it was consumed by the working class or Lazzoni in Naples. It was simple, quick and easy. What more could a working man want?
When Italian migrants started appearing in the U.S. along with their pizzas which tickled the Americans’ fancy, that’s when the Italians caught a whiff of this round treat and the rest, as they say, is history.
What does pizza have anything to do with King Arthur besides being round and reminding me of the roundtable of knights?
Admittedly, the last thing I do when I see a pizza is to take a look at all the individual ingredients. I don’t hold the pizza slice up and honour the unique flavour of everything she’s made of. I don’t savour the earthiness of the mushroom, salty subtle bitterness of olives, tangy juiciness of tomatoes and that unmistakable garlic and basil aroma. I’m sure many people do, but I’m not quite that high up on my mindfulness journey.
There’s much to be said about the individual ingredients, particularly the tomato, garlic, basil and mozzarella cheese. They are the stuff of a classic pizza, the holy grail of the taste buds. But stop and consider that without a crust to embed themselves on, the ingredients might as well be antipasti.
It All Begins With Culture
What makes the crust you may ask? Dough… Sure, but just as money ain’t what keeps people and societies together, I ask you to dig a little deeper and ask what raises the dough.
The answer is…
The yeast culture is a family of one-celled fungi brought together by the common purpose of raising dough to form the crust of your delicious pizza dinner. Of course, you can’t get dough without flour.
Flour brings us to King Arthur.
King Arthur Flour, is a 100% employee-owned company founded in 1790 in Boston by a man named Wood. After seeing a musical telling of the legend of King Arthur, Wood decided that his flour was worthy of the name. Purity, loyalty, honesty, superior strength, and a dedication to a higher purpose were all the values he saw in himself, company and of course, his all-purpose flour.
Allowing Everyone to Bring Themselves to the Table
In our family growing up, the dinner table was not always a place where we talked about ourselves. There, I didn’t get the proper cultural setting to go out onto the world to raise my own dough on my own terms in line with my views. King Arthur Flour wants every one of its employees to take ownership. This is the foundation of the company itself.
Stealing a page from Wood’s book, I consciously want my family to be one where everyone brings all of themselves to the dinner table. Everyone in the family must have ownership of the family dinners starting with the humble pie.
And we must all remember that no matter how old we are or how experienced or wealthy or skillful, that we still have so much to learn from each other.
Family Pizza Nights
My idea is to have a pizza night one day of the week where I work with my partner and children and we all learn how to bake a pizza from scratch. I have just the recipe here to get me started.
I’ll give credit where it’s due and let you know this is an idea that came to me by a crazy employer I once had, whose reason and sanity I’m now beginning to see.
He was big on family pizza nights.
I hope he still is. The family who bakes together stays together – well, that’s the hypothesis.
Over to you…
What are some family traditions you’ve held onto over the years that brings everyone together around the table?