Words by Iona Judd
August 2020. Lockdown continues. I’ve entered my 200th Pizza oven competition on Instagram and have not won – again. Friends have started to suggest that I just fashion my own using reclaimed bricks and a tutorial from YouTube. I am sorely tempted. The next thing I know, it’s my birthday and I discover my house to be filled with friends for a surprise pizza party. There in the middle of the crowd was the oven – my oven! I am not sure who was more excited, me, or my friends realising that their Instagram notifications would now be spared.
It was reminiscent of birthdays held at Pizza Express as I grew up, face pressed against the glass as I watched the pizzaiolos craft American Hots and Four Seasons. At this 29th edition, marinara sauce had been lovingly hand-crushed by my housemate and another friend had secured what he claimed was the best dough he’s ever had. The secret ingredient, he said, was pure Puglian seawater. Now, as the weather warms once more, and more pizza parties are on the horizon (not that the weather has ever stopped me), I’ve been thinking about the beauty of pizza, its history, ingredients and my utter obsession with it.