I am sure pizzas were bigger in the nineties. Sure you didn’t have the huge array of toppings and crusts that you do today, but what you did have was size. It was definitely the time for big pizzas.
I remember them delivered to the door in containers so big they had to go in at an angle. I remember having to move glasses of Coke out the way of two ‘regular’ monsters that dwarfed the table. Now if you order out, a large will leave you craving pudding.
My sister’s boyfriend used to work in a pizza restaurant in the front end of that decade. They broke up years ago, but I ran into him the other day, working in a stationary shop. We didn’t have much to talk about. I had to ask him about the pizzas. I assumed he would laugh, and claim he didn’t know what I was talking about. But instead, he nodded.
'It was the flour,’ he said. ‘It was different then. More golden. It stretched way better. Me and my friend Kevin, we used to stretch that dough across a seven foot room, and it still wouldn’t break.’
He stopped to sell a customer some printer cartridges, then got back to his story.
'I don’t know exactly what stopped them being so big. But I have an idea. One day I was making an 'extra-large supreme’. We didn’t make many of them. They were large enough to serve sixteen people. They required a full jar of tomato sauce, half a tub of grated cheese, and a whole bag of flour to make. I was spreading the sauce, when my spoon broke through the the dough. And I mean all the way through, like there wasn’t a table underneath.
‘A jet of cold air like a freezer filled with ice cubes and lollies hit in me in the face. I pulled the spoon out, but all that was underneath the dough was the fake granite worktop. I stopped working there after that.’
It was a cool story, but I was pretty sure he was winding me up, so I bought at pack of pens.
At least before I went online.
You can get all sorts of retro food on the internet. There are collectors out there, who pay even more if the packets aren’t open. It wasn’t cheap, but tracked down some flour from the very pizza franchise my sister’s boyfriend worked at, all those years ago.
I only bought it to see if the colour really was golden, and assumed whatever was left would be damp and rotten. But to my surprise, inside was ground wheat so smooth was like it had been milled yesterday, and smelt of home cooking.
The rich gold colour convinced me I had to try.
It was time to bake some pizzas.