Pizza and The O.R.

My first time in the O.R. (Operating Room), was when I had to get some minor surgery done, and I really don’t remember much of it. There was a lot of white and bright lights, and a lot of masked people looking down at me, trying to reassure me that the restraints were temporary, and the IV was “just in case”. My last thought before drifting off from the anaesthesia was how I wanted to be observing, and helping, not being operated on.

Fast forward to the present. This memory washes over me as I tie up my scrubs, adjust my hair under the net, and fix my mask so my glasses don’t fog up. The nurse motions for me to follow her as we go to reassure a patient, and explain his operation. There are eight of us in the room, and as the operation begins, my mind wanders back to when I was on the table, attempting to place titles on all the people that were hovering above me. I wonder if there were any students eagerly awaiting the start of the procedure. I wonder if there was a RNFA present. I wonder these things until my thought are interrupted by the doctor as he calls my attention to something on the screen. As he wraps up and we cart the patient away, it hits me. It took a mere two years for my wishful thinking to become a reality, and now I’m shivering with cold and excitement in the toasty 62 degrees of the OR.

My excitement lasted until I got back to the dorms and realized that I hadn’t eaten or taken a break for the entire six hours. Luckily, there was one slice of this pizza left. Pizza and reflections of the day… it was pleasant.

Pizza dough is not hard to make. It’s a two step process, but both of them move fast, leaving you time to do other things. I mean, I made it in a college dorm room, of all places.

And as for toppings, I just added whatever was on hand and sounded good – in this case, olives and feta and sautéed spinach. Maybe someday I’ll post a recipe that includes toppings. Just don’t go too heavy, or your dough may get soggy and remain, well, doughy. Which is no good.

When I’m at home, I like to add a splash of wine to the dough to help it come together, but since I’m living on a college campus and not 21 years old yet, I have none of that here. So I used water. But seriously, if you have that available to you, add some. It adds something that I can’t quite name, that’s quite good. Very good. Indeed.

Basic Pizza Dough

Adapted from Food Network Magazine, the July/August 2010 issue

1 cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
2 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups flour

Whisk 1 cup of warm water (105 degrees) and honey (sugar will work too) in a small bowl, and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let it stand until it is foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center, pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil, and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic – think 5-10 minutes. Form into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rise in an oiled bowl until doubled, 1-1.5 hours.

When it risen, (and you can test this by poking two fingers into it. If the impression remains, it’s ready!) roll it out on a floured surface, and sprinkle with cornmeal. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Put your dough on a baking sheet/pizza stone cornmeal side down and garnish with your toppings. Bake for 20 minutes, but watch it closely.

Alternate method for those lucky enough to own a grill

Follow the recipe,  but instead of baking the dough, divide it in half and roll it out both to about 1/8 inch thick, brushing both sides with olive oil. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, and grill or cook all of your toppings ahead of time, as this pizza cooks fast! Place the pizza dough on the grill, and grill until stiff and marked on one side, and soft and puffy on the other, about 5 minutes. Flip over, and put your toppings onto the now cooked side. Cover the grill and cook until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and serve.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Omg… no wonder Aleah loves you. Ha ha, I totally will if you let me try some of that! 🙂

    And I also love how you cook on top of that nice wooden desk… is it real oak?


    • Ha, you’d have to ask the makers of all the dorm furniture. It’s nice to have extra space like that at my disposal, especially in a dorm room!


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