I have a very distinct memory of one of my godsons, three years old at the time, shoving me back as I sought to assist him with the fastening of a shoe or the connection of a toy part. “No!” he said determinedly, “MY do it.”
Last week, I promised you a pizza and a pizza you have here. It is a delicious one—wonderful wintry combination of ingredients, beautifully colored and the perfect choice for those who eschew tomato sauce-y things. The funny thing is, I feel almost disingenuous posting something I made so many weeks ago; I’ve barely been in my kitchen since the month of February began.
I, like my godson, like most toddlers, like a lot of really stubborn people, tend to think I can do all things on my own. I have perfected the art of politely turning down offers of help: in my kitchen, at work, even when I really need it.
Forget that. There’s no way Jill and I could have made it through her first round of chemo without all of the help we have received in the last few weeks. For the first time in my adult life, the refrigerator in my house is full of food that I didn’t make. And that’s okay. Because I’m too freaking tired to push anyone away right now.
At some point you realize that the amazing people in your life (turns out there are many of them) really, honestly, genuinely want to help you, and that shoving them aside would not only be stupid but selfish. You also realize that there is a part of you that you will always have to fight, a perfectionist self who thinks asking for or accepting help is betraying weakness, an insecure self who feels she has something to prove, a three year old inside who wants to impress everyone by showing just how much help she doesn’t need. I’m trying to get her to shut up for a while.
BACON & BUTTERNUT SQUASH PIZZA
A word about pizza crust: it is so, so gratifying to make at home. I honestly believe it’s one of the best bread items to start with for people who are intimidated by yeast. Pizza crust is very forgiving and people are going to eat it anyway.
At this point, I no longer measure when I make my crust, but I began with the good-old-fashioned Joy of Cooking recipe and learned to tweak and adapt it from there. Often, I’ll make a big batch and freeze half for another day—very convenient!
butternut squash (peel, seed, cube, & roast)
bacon (thickly slice & skillet cook)
onions (peel, slice, & caramelize)
goat cheese (crumble)
sage (rinse & chop)
pizza dough (homemade or purchased)
oven: 525° or as hot as yours gets
Roll out your pizza dough to desired thinness. Dimple with your fingers and rub with a little olive oil. Pre-cook the crust only on a baking stone or baking sheet, for 3-4 minutes or until bubbles and a bit of color appear. Remove the crust carefully from the oven with tongs and spread with the caramelized onions. Top with squash, bacon, & goat cheese.
Return the pizza to the oven for another 7-10 minutes or until the edges of the crust have browned. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with sage and a little salt. Slice and serve hot.