Who was it that started this whole phenomenon? This thing of ours that’s been around since time immemorial — they all claim to be the best, the original. I recall one owner telling me that it was the French who thought it up, and another tell me of how in the early days of Italy, that they created this food group and hired poor Italians to deliver it on bicycles. I would suppose that the name of the original creator may not matter as much as the creation and its staple here in the states, for the legacy lives on and shows no sign of diminishing.

I know you’ve been there before, right? It arrives at the front door or your friend or parents return with this magic box filled with gooey goodness and as you pop open the top — the aroma fills the kitchen. You may not have even been hungry prior to that sudden luring action of temptation grabbing you by the nose as you salivate and it’s all you can do to avoid trampling the children as you race into the kitchen to snag a plate to be first in line to have your pick of what has been set upon the table.

Am I alone in this? Your eyes have a brief and useless conversation with your stomach as to who is bigger and how much is appropriate.

When the boys were younger, we would have a night as a family where we made these all on our own, with style and then some. In fact, each family member had their own crust, and we sautéed the veggies and set those along side the meats in the center of the table and we each had our pick of toppings as we began creating our own pizza from butter, garlic, rosemary, pasta sauce, pesto, mozzarella, Parmesan, maple sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, olives and on and on. We made faces, and shapes, but most importantly — memories. They grow up so fast and before you know it, they have jobs and careers and lives which do not include “make your own pizza night.”

I was in Indy this past week on a project with some associates who asked, “what’s for dinner?” It can get somewhat expensive rather fast when you eat out all the time. We decided to pick up a few groceries and make some French bread pizzas topped with pepperoni, maple sausage and onions, ’shrooms and a bucket or two of shredded mozzarella.

Pizza seems to have this odd talent of unexplainably and inexpensively bringing groups of people together for some nourishment and potential for good conversation. I encourage you to grab a pie or make your own tonight and share with as many people you can. You may just be surprised at the response you receive, but then again ... that’s just my humble opinion.

Toby Baker is a family man and eclectic style guru.

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