Butter Late Than Never: A hearty slice of single
February 12, 2017
“There is nothing wrong with being single on Valentine’s Day.”
This is the internal dialogue I have with myself after my third glass of wine and as I wave goodbye to my friends as they head out with their boyfriends, doe-eyed and blushing. They’re the kind of cute that makes your face do that little upside down frown, lips pursed in a display of adoration. The kind of cute that makes your head tilt and sigh. In truth, I can’t even feel bitter. I love love — even if I’m not the one swept up in its rush.
There really is nothing wrong with being single on Valentine’s Day. I have spent a handful of February 14s with boyfriends, most with friends and always with food. I have both loved the holiday and hated it, waited patiently for its arrival and dreaded its company. This year I find myself somewhere in between, in the mood for pizza, wine and a long overdue date with myself.
Though I wish I could say that this recipe stemmed from a cry of loneliness and romantic pessimism, it did not. But having had those feelings in years past, I understand the need for caloric indulgence and a night dedicated to the distaste for love.
For those of you who find yourselves here, single and in your nicest groutfit, treat yourself.
Here’s what you need:
- Store-bought pizza dough
- A jar of Prego sauce
- Wine (again)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Wine (Do I have to mention it again?)
Step 1: Drink
This is the most essential step to the perfect evening. I picked red wine for obvious reasons, but it also made me feel saucy and admittedly very Carrie Bradshaw-esque. Depending on your cynicism, though, wine might not be the ideal beverage. Tequila is certainly an option and I recommend it for my more jaded readers.
Oh, also, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Step 2: You knead to keep drinking
At first, I considered making my own dough from scratch to really beef up this recipe. Sure, my mom would be proud of me, but would real dough really taste any different to my wine drunk self? Probably not. Settle for the store-bought dough. It’s like Big Y knows that you’re just trying to inhale carbs as fast as you can. They do all the dirty work for you.
In between sips (or shots) of your preferred beverage, knead the dough. I’m not really sure of any proper kneading techniques. I suggest smacking it around a bit just to make it’s malleable enough to shape.
Step 3: Drink and spread flour on a cookie sheet
If you don’t sprinkle flour onto the cookie sheet before baking, you will have to scrape your pizza off of it like a rabid animal. Let’s aim to keep some of our dignity intact here, people.
Step 4: Turn off Norah Jones
For the love of all things holy, turn it off. I love her voice just as much as the next person, but everyone knows that her music increases loneliness and self-pity. They’re positively correlated, it’s science.
Step 5: Drink more?
My heart-shaped pizza is unoriginal, I’m aware. If you’re more creative than me, mold the dough into something else! I always encourage inappropriate shapes because I’m immature. I don’t, however, recommend making the pizza into shapes that resemble people in your life (unlike making gingerbread men). Nothing good can come out of making a Valentine’s Day pizza into the shape of an ex.
Step 6: Drink and decorate
Spread on as much sauce as you’d like. If you use the kind that has bits of gross meat in it, I’m judging you.
Adorn your dough with some basil if you’re feeling adventurous and top it off with some mozzarella cheese. I also recommend chasing each sip of alcohol with a slice or handful of this cheese. Adults do that. They do that wine and cheese thing.
Step 6: Let it rise
Put your pizza in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until it is cooked to your liking.
At this point, you’re probably a little drunk or at least should be. And of course, there is some sappy romance movie on television. If you need a cathartic cry, watch it. There is no shame in that. I, too, grow weak at the knees watching Ryan Gosling tell Rachel McAdams that he wrote her 365 letters. Three hundred and sixty-five!
But, my stronger recommendation is to FaceTime your mom. She’ll remind you that you’re always her special Valentine and that, yes, of course she loves the Walmart groutfit you’re sporting. Not that you need any confirmation, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Step 7: Wine and dine
Retrieve your pizza from the oven and finally treat yourself to a night with the person you should love the most and probably too often forget about.
In true drunken, college girl fashion, it is only right that I conclude with inebriated affection. For all the friends and family in my life that love and support me, and treat me like everyday is Cupid’s day, you’re the real pizza and wine.
This story is the fifth installment of “Butter Late Than Never,” a series where Rachel Ayotte explores cooking as a college student.
Email Rachel [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @RachelEAyotte.