Of all the food I eat, pizza would be the item that I’d miss the most if I were forced to live in a post-apocalyptic world. I know this for a fact because when I’ve been working offshore or in some remote location for weeks, or even months, at a time, deprived of all but the most basic food (and sometimes not even that), it’s always pizza I find myself craving. If I’m away long enough, I’ll even find myself dreaming about it. That’s how much I miss it. After all, there’s nothing in the world like kicking back with a cold beer and a slice or two, especially with friends.
Now, for many people these days, pizza is what you get from Dominos, or worse Pizza Hut, but that’s not the type of pizza I like. I especially don’t like the mass-produced deep-pan pizza that’s more base than topping and tastes like cardboard warmed up. I know this will be sacrilegious to some people out there, but I prefer mine in the traditional Neapolitan style.
I first encountered these pizzas, with their wafer thin bases, cooked in traditional stone pizza ovens, while staying in a small hotel in northern Italy. Later, when back in Glasgow, in my native Scotland, I was amazed to find that if I sought out just the right little family owned restaurant, I could get it there, too. This shouldn’t have surprised me, after all, Glasgow has a large Italian community which brought us some fantastic ice-cream, deep-fried everything and many, many restaurants, but it did, because the only place I’d ever had pizza before in my home city was in a chain pizza restaurant that favoured something closer to the Chicago style, but even then it wasn’t close.
Now, it might have taken me some twenty years since I first tasted a true Neapolitan-style pizza, but a few weeks ago, I finally decided that, in case civilisation ever came to a sudden, and unexpected, end, I should sit down and work out how to make such pizzas myself (after all, someone has to keep the knowledge alive – even in a world filled with flesh-eating zombies, it’s important that someone still knows how to make good pizza!).
So armed with Google, some search words and some blind faith in my own cooking abilities, I set out to see what I could do, and the result was … passable at best! However, I could see it was a step in the right direction. So, after I’d eaten the first attempt (bad as it was, I still couldn’t face wasting pizza!), I tried again, this time using exactly the right sort of flour the recipe called for (rather than whatever half-used bag I’d found lurking in the back of my food cupboard). This time, it worked so perfectly that even my girlfriend was impressed (okay, I’ll admit it, it took a bit it longer than two attempts, but you’ll have to forgive me for using some artistic licence here to make me look better!).
Now, this has resulted in two problems. The first is that I can now have my favourite pizza whenever I want it, and I’m going to have to try very hard to ration myself, so I don’t balloon up like a … well, a balloon. The second is that when it comes to pizza night in our house, I’m now left with the cooking duties (damn – but it’s a burden I’m willing to shoulder if it means never having to eat supermarket pizza ever again!).
Of course, this is a small price to pay for perfect pizza on tap, and one I’m willing to take, but there’s another issue, too. What if the zombies rise tomorrow? If that happens, I’m going to be left ever-searching whatever post-apocalyptic hell-hole I find myself in searching for the ingredients to make the pizza I’ll no doubt be craving, just like Woodie Harrelson’s Tallahassee and his endless search for Twinkies in the movie Zombieland.
But wait, maybe I could even carve myself out a niche in this post-apocalyptic world as an itinerant pizza-maker, wandering from community to community, bartering my skills for guns, bullets and any other supplies I might need. After all, I’m sure I won’t be the only survivor who’ll be dreaming of pizza once the world has come to an end, and maybe they’d pay anything to get their hands on it again. In this respect, I might find myself following in the footsteps of the last human in the Universe, Arthur Dent, who, after many twists and turns, carves a niche for himself as a sandwich-maker on the planet of Lamuella (for those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about – shame on you, now go away and don’t come back until you’ve read all six books in Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy trilogy!).
So there you have it: Pizza-making turns out to be an important post-apocalyptic survival skill, not just for preserving my own sanity (after all, I couldn’t face living in a world where pizza would never be made again), but also for giving me a role that would allow me create something I could trade with others to obtain whatever I wanted – as long as I can get my hands on a regular supply of the ingredients, that is!
From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.
To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.