I was so happy with my jaunt into to baking that isn’t really baking because it’s only flat bread that I’ve gone and done it again. The classic Neopolitan thin crust pizza with tomatoes, anchovies, mozzarella, and basil as seen through different, more discerning eyes that envisioned it on thick, dense bread. But as it turns out, the more discerning eyes were bleary and bloodshot because as good as it was on foccaccia, it was a sad shadow, a bloated sad shadow, of what Naples blessed us with all those many years ago. With these ingredients, stick with thin crust.
Still, it looked great. So great that my enthusiasm for capturing it overcame my circumspection. I failed to remove the volumes of poetry that are my constant cooking companion and aid me in aligning competing muses through various shakras. I’m embarrassed. Really I am.
So it looks good but tastes average enough to mention as a cautionary tale. I’ll fill the rest of this post with a Flash Fiction short story, something I only just learned existed. Not true. Something I learned just had a name. It’s no “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” But Hemingway practiced more often than me.
The Jealous Pharmacist
“Mise en place.” He earned tuition for pharmacy school by working nights in various restaurants. “Mis en place.” French for “putting in place.” It’s how you began each shift. Cutting carrots, celery, and onion for mirepoix, making garlic confit, setting salt, pepper, and everything else you needed over the course of a shift in place. You needed to be able to reach for it without looking. “Don’t fuck with my mise.” was a serious threat. You were responsible for your area. The last thing you needed was another line cook borrowing from your set. God forbid they moved something. That could ruin more than one dish.
He looked across the pharmacy at little miss perfect, the chief pharmacist’s pet. Her magnificently shaped pills, expertly measured doses. Not for too much longer. Not after tomorrow when all of the pharmacy’s migraine patients start to come back with severe diarrhea. Somebody fucked with her mise. He smiled a satisfied smile.
So there you are. A failed, but great looking pizza and a very short story. “Not my usual, but nice.”