Photos by Jun Tsuboike, Words by Grady Erickson
Life can get stressful--especially as a college student. We are constantly trying to stay caught up on our school work, our friends' lives and our favorite television shows. Sometimes, sleep becomes a luxury and coffee becomes a necessity. With so much going on, it is easy to become flustered and start thinking negatively. However, when all else fails and you’re at your wits end, remember: pizza exists. Pizza can be very useful. Besides satisfying a grumbling belly, pizza can teach us a lot about life. To start, let’s examine what makes pizza, pizza. Merriam-Webster defines it as, “a dish made typically of flattened bread dough spread with a savory mixture usually including tomatoes and cheese and often other toppings and baked.” This makes sense. Of course, everyone knows what pizza is--it's simple and almost universal. You take dough, throw some sauce, cheese, and toppings on board and then bake until bubbly and delicious. These toppings, ever-so-simply, have characteristics that can be applied to create a stress-free and fulfilling life. First, we have the dough as the base of the pizza. A good pizza crust is not too thick or too thin, light and airy but rigid enough to support the toppings. It should not be bland, but not so flavorful that it’s all you taste. Some say that the pizza crust is the defining part of the pie. Life is the same way. Everyone needs a firm base in their life: someone or something that keeps everything together. Whether it’s your family, a pet or just a place you call home, a solid base to rely on helps to ease the stresses of daily life that can really take a toll on an individual. Dough or family, we all require a firm foundation upon which to stay positive.
Next, we have the cheese and sauce. These elements of pizza are sometimes overlooked, which is a tragedy in my opinion. The sauce and cheese make up a significant part of the pie. They cover the dough and make sure all of the tasty toppings stay firmly in place. Sauces and cheese types can actually differ greatly and really enhance, albeit sometimes subtly, the flavor of the pizza. Every person has their own distinct personality, set of beliefs and core values that cover every aspect of who they are and with whom they choose to interact. These attributes can affect our lives negatively and positively, just like the sauce and cheese on a pizza.
Finally, we have the toppings. The toppings define the pizza; they speak to its nature as well as its taste. Sometimes a pizza has traditional toppings like cheese and pepperoni; other times truffles and heirloom tomatoes show up to the party. A pizza's toppings are what truly make a stand-out pie. And the same can be said about a person. We all have toppings that make us who we are. The way we dress, our favorite activities and how we spend our time all define us whether we like it or not. Like with pizza, some units of our lives require toppings, while other times we keep life simple. The people, things and actions we add to our lives make us who we are.
From bottom to top, there are multiple elements that go into making a pizza. No two pies are exactly alike and that is what makes pizza so great. It’s a food that is able to be molded and changed to fit every taste--no matter how unique. Pizza can be extravagant, it can be simple, it can be tasty--it can even be awful (though unlikely). Life is the same way. Pizza, or life, is what you make of it. So remember, if you’re having an off week or struggling with something, think of pizza and strive to create the best pie you can out of your current situation.