Monday, February 10, 2020

We approached this day, our stomachs lucid and yearning, an unavoidable apex of these 366 days set to crown February as quite possibly the greatest month of this endeavour. Sure, we got that new puppy last week, but today was perhaps the ultimate food celebration of the year.

National Pizza Day

If, throughout the course of this year-long party, you hear me refer to anything other than pizza as the perfect food, you have my permission to verbally thwack me in my literary gonads, as I would clearly be speaking in error. Pizza is perfection. It’s all four food groups in every bite. When made Neapolitan style (tomatoes and mozza – authentic Neapolitan requires ingredients from Italy), it’s divine. When made Sicilian style (focaccia crust), it’s hearty and wonderful. When made Detroit style (rectangular, with a crispy crust), it’s still a wondrous feast.

The North American debate for the ultimate pizza (among many – no offense meant to the residents of St. Louis, New Haven, Trenton, and anywhere else that claims to be the best) is between New York and Chicago.

If pizza can teach us anything, it’s the value of coexistence. The metropolitan tug-of-war over which pizza style reigns supreme is a reflection of this lesson. Both are the culmination of their own respective paths to the ideal. One is a high wall of crisp dough, barely containing a river of sauce and a mountain of toppings. It’s an avalanche of flavour, nearly impossible to consume with hands alone. The other shimmers with grease, with toppings arranged atop a thin, portable and bendable slice. We all have our preference, but to deny one is to deny ourselves a significant portion of this perfection.

On any given day, 13% of Americans dine on pizza. We are saddened that most are settling for chain-store varieties, or worse yet, grocery store chemical-slabs. Way up here in the tundra, true New York style is absent and genuine Chicago deep dish has been supplanted by some horrid bastardization, consisting of a normal pizza top upon a thick chunk of spongy dough. But wait… things aren’t all bad, are they?

In 2016 Conde Nast put out a list of the 14 best pizza cities on the planet. Near the bottom of this list (but still… top 14 material) are Las Vegas, L.A., Philly, Rome, Milan, Palermo and Florence. Then at #8 – ahead of four Italian cities, mind you – is Edmonton. How is this possible? Ask anyone around here and they will have no answer. But this is a banner our city should wave more proudly. Locals have their favourites, but last night we visited our undisputed #1 haunt in town, Tony’s Pizza Palace. The crust is bursting with as much flavour as the toppings, and we’ve never had anything less than a perfect pie from Tony’s. A perfect pie of the perfect food. Thank you, February.

National Bagel (And Lox) Day

January 15 was National Bagel Day, yet here we are again. It seems that what some celebrate as National Bagel Day in February is in fact National Bagel And Lox Day to others. Since the bagel & lox combo (along with the requisite cream cheese, capers and onions) is one of the greatest breakfast/lunch/brunch creations on the planet, we were happy to give this day another run.

There are also two National Doughnut Days. Some things are simply not worth complaining about.

As we discussed (probably – I don’t feel like checking) back in January, the bagel sailed from Polish Jewish communities, across the Atlantic and into the tradition of New York Jewish cuisine. I’ve been eating them since my first teeth blasted past my gums. I should have consumed enough bagels by now to be an outright snob about them.

And I have. But while I prefer the New York style to the Montreal style, and I believe a proper bagel should be boiled (and please spare the sourdough), I simply can’t brazenly boast of my favourite bagel establishment. The sad fact is that I’ve yet to sample a bagel that can hold a schmear to those my grandmother used to concoct.

So we were relegated to some sesame-seed / poppy-seed bagels from Bon Ton Bakery. Still a solid win, as these little dough-rings were percolating with flavour, even with nothing on them. Done up properly with its lox companions, it was a great meal. We ate well yesterday.

Read In The Bathtub Day

Not the most practical thing to do in a bathtub, since a few wayward splashes could render your reading material ruined beyond repair, but I did her best. Skipping the water really helped to preserve the book. It also helped Rosa to feel much more comfortable.

Man Day

What to do for Man Day? Do I get a card? A present? A gift certificate for a good ol’ man-pamperin’?

No, but I made the above short video of me doing manly things, like frowning at a vehicle engine, fixing stuff and sports.

I’ve got the day off today, which means I won’t be distracted by pesky work things. Instead I can focus my attention on this:

  • National Home Warranty Day. Do we have a home warranty? Do we have warranties on anything in our home? I’ll find out!
  • National Clean Out Your Computer Day. My computer is relatively new, but already it’s gummed up with files I don’t need. I’ll tidy things up.
  • National Cream Cheese Brownie Day. A delicious day for meals yesterday, today gets dominated by my sweet tooth.
  • Tu B’Shvat. Not a Jewish holiday I’ve ever celebrated before, but this one is all about trees. I’ll show some love to a tree or two.

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