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Pizza on the grill

I am always encouraged when I hear someone say, “My parents read your blog every day.” I hear this comment all the time from friends that we’ve either camped with or who have given us courtesy parking.   I don’t know why this tickles me, but it does.   Today Susan told me her mother reads the blog because it gives her a sense of what’s up with Susan and Adam while they are traveling with us.   Welcome aboard, Mrs. W!   My parents read the blog, too.

We are in Tampa for a few days of urban recreation.   Our recent travels through state parks (in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida) have rubbed off on Adam and Susan, and now they want to spend more time in state parks and eschew the commercial campgrounds they used to frequent.   So now that we’ve arrived at a very comfortable Tampa RV resort, they are   anxious to   get back into Florida’s state park system.   I have to admit that Florida state parks are among the best in the nation, and we’re only slightly blasé about being in them because we’ve visited so many over the years.

But instead of rushing off to another state park, we are taking in those things that are uniquely suburban Florida, and one of those things is the ubiquitous Florida Flea Market.   These things are all over the state, and many are huge.   Just down the road from our campsite in the town of Oldsmar is one of the biggest.

The flea markets are riddled with Chinese knock-offs (sunglasses, toys, tools), questionable antiques, bad food, and sleazy DVDs, but they often also feature great used-book stores, fresh fruit stands, and the occasional genuine bargain.   You’ve got to browse the entire thing to find the few diamonds in the dustheap, which is part of the fun.   For me, the other part of the fun is getting some kettle corn or a bag of Florida citrus and eating it as I browse.

Emma is, of course, not particularly interested in flea markets, but it was a good place for her to collect a few ingredients for her magic wand.   The kit she received for her birthday includes a 24-page instruction book with many dire warnings about the risks of making a wand improperly, so she wants to do it right.   The interior of the wand must be filled with a personalized mixture of crushed stones, feathers, sand, glass beads, and other items.   She bought malachite and moonstone for her wand, and collected some pure white sand from the ground.

She takes it so seriously that I am tempted to ask her if she understands it’s all in fun, but I don’t want to ruin it for her.   I think magic wands fall in the same category as Santa Claus.   I’m pretty sure she realized Santa wasn’t real a couple of years ago, but she won’t let on that she knows because it would spoil the fun.   And we pretend she doesn’t know, because we don’t want to end it either.   (Those of you who are adults reading this: If I just disillusioned you, never mind. Santa is real.)

With Adam and Susan we have discovered the joy of making pizza on the grill.   Eleanor bought a bunch of little flatbreads at the supermarket and in the afternoon Adam grilled up a bunch of vegetables (Portabello mushrooms, eggplant, onions, etc) and assembled a variety of ingredients, including fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, Kalamata olives, olive tapenade,   Gorgonzola cheese, mixed shredded cheese, fresh pears, raspberries, walnuts, dark chocolate, Amaretti cookies, roasted red peppers and roasted green peppers.

This is a lot of fun.   You cover a flatbread with a mix of ingredients and slide it onto the hot grill for a few minutes, then slice it up and let everyone try it.   Since the pizzas are small and the crusts are thin & crispy, you can try a lot of different pizzas before you get full.   We took turns creating new pizza mixtures, finally ending up with a few “dessert pizzas” featuring chocolate bits, pear, cookie bits, and yogurt.   This is a great thing to do with a crowd, since everyone can contribute to the cooking, even kids, and the new pizzas just keep coming out every 2-3 minutes.

As it got dark, I brought out the uke and Adam broke out his bongos, and we experimented briefly with the concept of a uke/bongo combo.   There’s some potential there, but I’ll have to get better at different strumming patterns.   When I say “potential” I mean potential to make some interesting (to us) music, and potential to drive away unwanted neighbors in the campground.   If ukulele is an un-acquirable taste, as my curmudgeonly friend Dr C claims, uke/bongo must certainly fall into the same category as our pear and Gorgonzola pizza: strange-sounding but really delicious if you try it.

One Response to “Pizza on the grill”

  1. dr. c. Says:

    Here is a culinary suggestion. It’s called the FIVE P pizza…ready ? ….; chick pea, pickle, pineapple, peanut butter, popcorn pizza.

    If you can develop a taste for that, then all of those with acquired (and earned) amnesia who have been able to successfully erase the memory slate of tie-dye shirts, love beads, and Don Ho….

    Well, maybe we can restructure our standard to accept the primitive, rhythmic thumping of ukes and bongos as real music, the music that gave birth to rap and hip-hop.

    Impaired hearing, often a result of aging, has turned into a genuine asset for which, some day, you, too, may be very grateful. Keep on strumming.