If ever you have a project or hobby that obsesses you and the people near you are aware of this obsession it makes it easier for them to:
a. Communicate with you.
b. Buy you birthday and Christmas presents.
c. Know what to expect when they come for dinner (providing that obsession revolves around food.)
d. All of the above.
What I mean by that is that you take on an identity. Before pizza I was the painter guy to the baristas at Starbucks due to my painter pants. After I put mural signs on my truck and got some flashy business cards to match I became the mural guy. Once I let it leak, because I had my pizza stone delivered to the local Starbucks, I became the pizza guy and have brought them 3 home baked pizzas so far to thank them. Now, their opening line is, "Have you made any good pizzas today?" or "When are you going to bring us another pizza?" Suddenly you are on a level that all people can relate to and seemingly communicate on. That's OK with me. I like pizza, they like pizza, and we have something to talk about. Before pizza I was becoming the Civil War buff, but if that's not your cup of tea, I pretty much have to go it alone. I would take my Civil War books with me to Starbucks to read but nobody actually asks you who won the Civil War today Vince? Was the outcome of Gettysburg different in that book you're reading?
It's funny too, when someone introduces you to their friend and they say something like, "Vince makes pizzas". If that doesn't draw a question from that person about pizza then I feel like I better pull a pizza from up my sleeve to prove it. Darn, if only I had a brick fired pizza oven right here in the parking lot to prove it.
Secondly, for the people closer to you, it makes it easier to narrow down the search for a perfect present. No more, "Hmmmmm, what does he like? A gift certificate to Chuck E. Cheeses? No, better not, I read his blog and he's a bit of a pizza snob. What about a pizza tool? I've heard him mention he would like a brick fired pizza oven. No, too personal. What about a nice sharp pizza rocker knife or one of those pizza pan elevator thingies?" Perfect! See, that wasn't so hard when you know what they like to do. If you were a gardener I would be looking to buy you a watering spray gun that doesn't leak all over your feet and run down your arm.
The third thing is, you know what to expect when you come for dinner. How could you not know? I am a test kitchen and you are a lab rat. Well, maybe it's not that bad yet. I do like to try new pizza recipes on my guests to get their opinion and at the same time educate their palates a bit. Point out to them the levels and nuances of flavor that you try so hard to impart into your pizzas. Sometimes we need to be told what we are looking for. Something like, "Did you notice the slight burn in the back of your throat or the subtleties of freshness in the sauce and maybe the simplicity of those flavors working together?" If I tell you what to look for, I can do a better job of evaluating the success or failure of one of my pies because you will tell me what you think is missing or too strong or not enough of. It can be a win-win situation for everybody. A side trip on that is, people send you newspaper and magazine articles, reviews etc. of all the great news they have heard about pizza lately. I have instilled a curiosity in them. However, I don't try to be a know-it-all when it comes to pizza (really!) but maybe just a well informed pizza person. There will always be something that I haven't tried yet.
One of our next vacations will definitely include pizza. I have been wanting to tour Civil War Battlefields back East. Now, I'm thinking, back East is where all the great pizza places are as well. Why don't we dovetail the battlefield tours together with a few famous pizza places? You gotta eat right? Now, I know what you're thinking. . . I'm not going to find pizza places where our favorite Civil War Generals ate pizza here or the place that Jeb Stuart's Cavalry got a couple of dozen pizzas to go there. Wouldn't that be cool though? What if that parlor in Appomattox, Virginia where Lee surrendered to Grant was actually a pizza parlor? Now that would be a pizza place worth seeing!