I don’t love pizza.

There, it’s out.

But I take it back. I mean, I don’t love bad to mediocre pizza.

I don’t like pizza where the crusty edges are so hard chewing (gnawing?) them hurts your mouth. I don’t like pizza that arrives cold (it’s okay if you eat it cold next morning — that’s something else entirely). I HATE LOATHE DETEST WANT TO SEE THE END FOREVER of overcooked, over-oregano’d tomato sauce. I don’t like pizza that’s basically tasteless. I think pepperoni is a plague on mankind and should be outlawed. I like anchovies (in moderation, melted gently into the tomato sauce so they’re almost undetectable). I like fresh vegetables. I like good-quality cheese that hasn’t been incinerated. I like herbs. I like powerful punches of flavor along with sweet creamy bits.

SELF INDULGENT ASIDE: Do you know how distracting it is to try writing a blog while your cat is on the couch with you making hairball hacking noises???? He seems to be in limbo; can’t hack it up, can’t stop trying. I’m sitting here with a pile of paper towels waiting for the inevitable and trying to think about pizza. It’s not really a very compatible combination.

When I lived in Washington state, before the Internet and cell phones (I’m not kidding), Friday night was pizza night. I’d stop at this little place near our home where they sold whatever you wanted: a finished pie, a round of dough, a rolled-out “naked” pizza, a pizza for which you picked all the toppings and then cooked at home, thin crust/thick crust, white sauce or red (white sauce is a misnomer; it just means cheese, no red; if there was a pizza parlor that made a pie with real bechamel on it, I would drive to Haleiwa to get one).

I fervently wish there were such shops here; I like to build my OWN pizza. I just don’t want to make the dough.

I’d buy one personal-size pizza, pie and white cheese only; for me. I’d buy a large with pineapple and ham and some other stuff for my husband and step-daughter. At home, I’d throw their gigantic pizza into the oven while I concocted my topping, usually feta and marinated artichoke hearts. But it might be anything: Fresh vegetables I’d gotten that day while doing a food story, maybe some strange Asian melange — does anyone else remember that Asian pizza place over in Pearlridge below the shopping center? I used to LOVE their Thai chicken pizza! My daughter, strange brew that she is, likes ranch dressing on her pizza. So I always made sure we had ranch. My husband — like most husbands — would eat anything. Especially if he knew there were no dishes at the end of the trail.

I loved those Friday nights. We’d pick a movie (VHS then). We’d get the pizzas all hot and right. We’d serve ourselves. My late cat, Tiger, or his sister, Lily, would curl up in my lap after dinner while we watched the movie. I’d knit. We’d watch the TV.

We didn’t know it, but we were making memories, memories that (bittersweet or not), last longer than pizza. Or even some families.