You want that perfect pizza night? Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.
Ordered thin crust? You ended up with thick.
Excited about extra cheese? Looks like you got easy.
What about that side of sauce? Forget about it; the driver forgot it.
Pessimism? No, just life. It’s easy to view these pizza mishaps as tragedies, but every day we will be faced with late deliveries, missing toppings, and cold pizzas. For most of my existence my knee-jerk reaction to life’s little jabs has been with anger, frustration, and despair, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
The wrong Roman Candle.
Spring had sprung and it seemed like the perfect Friday night for pick-up, so Tess and I hit the road. We opted for a scenic drive with baby Ellis in tow to a hip little joint called The Roman Candle.
After arriving at our Fitchburg location (there are four Roman Candles in Madison) the hostess dropped my heart to my stomach when she began searching her computer for our order with a perplexed expression. After a couple “hmms” and a “are you sure it’s not under a different name?” I knew I had made a major goof.
I had placed our online order to a location about 30 minutes away. Suddenly in my mind, I was the ultimate failure; the guy who ruined pizza night, the inept husband and worst father of the week; squandering all the fun Friday night hangs.
I was now faced with a hard decision and time was of the essence. Drive further from home for cold pizza or place a new order and wait out another 25 minutes for a fresh order. At that moment I had two choices: dwell on the problem or make a decision and work towards the solution.
We decided to take the wait, but we couldn’t decide on a pizza, so we ordered three.
Roman Candle is a unique spot; the menu is chock full of specialty pizzas that highlight ingredients you don’t normally see. Items like beats, arugula and artichokes provide an elegant twist. Though pricey, but I gotta say they churn out really well-portioned pizzas. It’s nice to find a pie that’s so well balanced, with high quality ingredients to boot.
Tess’s usual is The Professional. It starts with a blend of pesto and alfredo and is then topped with feta, broccoli, roasted chicken, and bacon. The orginal version comes with green peppers and jalapenos too. This combo seemed whacky to me at first, but it works.
I went for their signature The Roman Candle with a few additions. The pie has a spicy base called firecracker sauce and is then covered with house-made ground sausage and banana peppers. I added thick artisanal pepperoni and extra house blend cheese. The combination of the meats and banana peppers create a salty, tangy flavor explosion.
I’m not usually one to jump for a taco pizza, but with the quality and craftsmanship of Roman Candle, I had to give their El Jefe a try. This is definitely not your average taco pizza, the El Jefe begins with a taco sauce and alfredo mix and is then topped with cheddar, onions, tomatoes, lettuce and drizzled with sour cream.
While waiting we got to catch up as we rocked a crying baby in the parking lot. It was nice.
In that moment I changed my perception from wasting 25 minutes, to getting piping hot pizzas fresh out of the oven. I accepted my situation and shifted my outlook from negative to positive and was able to drive off happily into the sunset.
In author Mark Manson’s bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k he explains “We don’t always control what happens to us but we always control how we interpret what happens to us as well as how we respond” Manson echoes the ancient Greek philosophy Stoicism which called this our “reasoned choice”. “Reasoned choice” is basically the idea that our perceptions are the only thing we truly control and whether we view them as a blessing or a curse it’s up to us.
What pizza taught me:
When life throws us a big ol’ misshapen dough ball it’s up to us knead it into the pizza we want. Whether we stub our toe, lose our keys, or hit all the red lights on the way to work how we respond is in our control.
What I’m eating: Roman Candle: Party for three: The Profressional, The Roman Candle, El Jefe.
What I’m reading: Mark Manson The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k