Personal story

Food for the Soul

Pizza is not something I have made before at home. Indeed I’m not sure I even like it very much, not the type of pizza we get in a frozen cabinet at the supermarket anyway. But last year I met the most inspirational man who had set up a fabulous pizzeria in Chester market. Stile Napoletano is run by the wonderful Giacomo who hails from Naples. I spent a Saturday morning with him (before lockdown) talking dough, toppings and whether pizza could ever be good for you.
He explained to me that he prepares his dough as least 24 hours in advance and that helps with the digestion. He eats pizza everyday, and certainly looks good on it. He uses the best ingredients he can lay his hands on, fresh and seasonal. With an innate understanding of flavour the wonderful combinations just kept flowing.
So I took inspiration, I looked in my cookbook collection and found a recipe from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Fizz Carr. The dough was prepared in the morning, 10 minutes of kneading and any frustrations that I had that day were hammered out in the process. By lunch time the dough had risen and the pizzas took less than 10 minutes in the oven. My son said they were better than the ones we had bought in the past, not the ones from Stile I hasten to add. But I was definitely pleased with the result. Time is what lockdown had given me, time and a desire to break the monotony of another sandwich for lunch. To show my son that good food not only costs little, but tastes better the more love and attention you give it. So will I continue to make them post lockdown? I certainly will, maybe not on a Tuesday lunchtime as life gets back to normal. But what joy to take time to learn something new and nourish the soul in the process. I’ll also be checking out what Giacomo and his family have been doing during lockdown as they launch their new restaurant at 49 Watergate Street, Chester. Looking forward to reconnecting with him, as we begin to enjoy eating out together once again. Here’s to reconnecting with our wonderful small independent businesses that make eating out such a joy and to taking home their ethos and allowing it to make our lives richer in the process. Another slice of conviviality anyone?