I Don’t Want Papa Murphy’s!

“What is more principled than giving up some part of your position to advance the greater good?” -Arnold Schwarzenegger


What happens when you and your pizza-eating partner in crime don’t see pie to pie?

Some Fridays in the Luther household getting the stars aligned for the perfect pizza night can be a little tricky. Especially when the wifey wants gourmet veggie and I’m all about the grease laden pepperoni.

Well, this is a tale about a boy (me) who wanted a pepperoni slice the-size-of-his-head and a girl (Tess) who wanted a take n’ bake thin-crust with all the veggies and how we met in the middle and found happiness despite our differences.

It all started one Friday afternoon when a usually cherished topic of conversation turned into a heated debate. Tess had a deep desire for a Papa Murphy’s Gourmet Veggie, and I wanted, well anything, but, Papa Murphy’s.

I was sold on Chicago tavern-style pizza. I wanted something thin and party-cut in squares and loaded with cheese and pepperoni. And for that, Dahmens at Hawks Landing is the answer.

Now, I’ve got nothing against Papa Murphy’s, it’s great for a cozy night in and I love how they chop their veggies in small chunks (it’s one of the few places where my go-to is a pizza loaded with toppings), but that Friday I knew for certain, it simply would not do.

That left us in a pizza-night pickle.

I was tempted to slam my parmesan-shaker down and demand that we get the pizza my way! But, years of marriage experience have taught me that is no way to start the weekend.

On the contrary, I could always just give-in…but that’s a hard bite to swallow, especially when you look forward to Friday-night pizza as much as I do.

The best course of action?

Take a step back, open up our lines of communication and get to the root of the problem.

What were the “pizza-particulars” that were driving us in different directions anyway?

To uncover that mystery we had to do some digging. We needed to cross-examine each other and use questions to uncover our severed connection.

Step #1 when problem solving is to shut up and listen; that’s where the magic happens. So, it was time to put my pizza passion to the side and open my ears.

For starters, why did she want Papa Murphy’s? And why did I detest the idea?

Did Tess want Papa Murphy’s because she likes the experience of making it at home as a family? She likes it leftover? She wasn’t in the mood for red sauce (gourmet veggie comes on creamy garlic base)? Or did a thin crust veggie pizza just sound yummy to her?

It turned out that one of her ruling desires was a cracker thin crust (who can blame her) and pizza that would hold up leftover. I could work with that.

When we probed my mozzarella-covered motivations it was revealed that I too wanted thin crust, but I wanted traditional pizza flavors; red sauce, pepperoni, stretchy mozzarella.

By unearthing our real motivations, we could start to work towards common ground.

Now we had a common denominator, we both wanted thin. From there we could build the Friday night pizza eating experience we were both after. And thanks to the ease of building custom half and half pizzas on Papa Murphy’s website, we built a pizza that suited both out needs.

Tess got her Gourmet Veggie and I was won over with crispy thin-crust layered with pepperoni and extra cheese . A win-win.

The Luther pizza night negotiations showed me that beneath the surface, our interests are often more inline than we may think. Though the world seems polarized right now, we should remember to listen, attempt to see through other’s eyes and make an effort to meet in the middle.

What I’m eating: Papa Murphy’s half gourmet veggie, half pepperoni extra cheese.

What I’m reading: Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story -Arnold Schwarzenegger 

So Long, Sweet Summer

“Love is meant to be an adventure.” Gordon B. Hinckley

As I bid farewell to the infamous Covid-19 infused summer of 2020, I do my routine reflection on the best pizzas of the season. While retracing my pizza-eating escapades a sweet, sticky, molasses-brown infatuation became hard to ignore: BBQ sauce.

The last three months of sunshine didn’t have as many friend-filled backyard barbeques as usual, but I still celebrated by incorporating that cookout flavor into my Friday night pizza-nights.

My summer fling with BBQ on pizza began when the ol’ red sauce started to feel a little stale. In our decades together we built glorious memories, but it was time for a little more flair underneath my mozzarella. Out of boredom I began to peruse further into my favorite pizzeria menus and I noticed that BBQ Chicken pizzas were popping up as frequently as pepperoni.

After I succumbed to a couple sultry affairs, I was fully seduced by the sweet and salty pairing of savory chicken, salty cheeses and BBQ sauce. And as our chance encounters turned routine, my heart became smitten by hints of cilantro, the bite of red onion and sprinkles of bacon.

Now for a trip down memory lane with a list Summer 2020’s best BBQ Chicken pizzas.

Wild Tomato, Fish Creek, WI. “The Old Faithful”.

For the Luther’s the summer wouldn’t be complete without our annually trip to Door County and while Covid may derail the dine in experience at our mainstay Wild Tomato it is certainly not slowing down their carryout business.

Since we only visit once a year we usually go for our usual standby’s; the D-lux or Sausage & Pesto (add goat cheese), but this year in the midst of my BBQ Chicken Pizza affair I opted for the “The Old Faithful” (their version of a BBQ chicken pizza).

Though some were skeptical of the BBQ chicken pizza addition once it showed up everyone wanted a piece. (I’ve found that to be a common theme with BBQ chicken pizzas; it never quite seems to be anyone’s first choice, but once it’s there, everyone wants some.) This rendezvous confirmed that BBQ chicken pizza is phenomenal vacation pizza.

Luigi’s, Madison, WI “BBQ Chicken”.

When I think of Luigi’s I think creative Italian inspired takes; like meatballs, Italian chopped salads and pastas, but within their forward thinking menu sits a bomb BBQ chicken pizza.

The BBQ sauce that topped their thin crust was rich and savory and was covered with a combination of mozzarella and gouda cheeses. The charred thin crust, cilantro and addition of bacon made this one of my favorites of the summer.

Glass Nickel, Fitchburg, WI. “Santa Fe”.

If you’re in the mood for a dynamite hand-tossed pizza that’s loaded with toppings Glass Nickel is your place. They’ve got a menu chock full of specialty pies, so it’s not surprise they’ve got a solid BBQ chicken game with their “Santa Fe”.

Their juicy chunks of chicken are the star. Hand’s down the best quality chicken out of any of the BBQ chicken pizzas I’ve tried—no weird pieces, just quality cubes of chicken breast (rumor has it they actually roast their chickens in house.)

Pizza Di Roma West, Madison, WI. BBQ Chicken Slice.

BBQ chicken pizza and New York Style slices rarely get lumped together, but the BBQ chicken slice at Pizza Di’s is amazing and actually one of the first BBQ Chicken Pizza’s I’ve ever enjoyed (I had friends that worked their through college that would swear by this slice.)

The slice is not only the size of your head, but also it’s covered with shredded chicken that has been simmered in BBQ sauce. It’s sprinkled with crispy bits of bacon that sizzle up in their deck ovens.

And now, my appetite is aroused (lucky for me Tess whips up a mean home-made version.)

Tess’s homemade BBQ Chicken pizza

Even though the air is getting crisp and the leaves are changing colors, there is still time to hold onto the sweet(baby-ray)ness of summer. Remember, if life under the siege of Covid starts feeling dull, you can always flirt with a new pizza.

What I’m fondly daydreaming of eating: BBQ Chicken pizza on a sunny summer afternoon.

What I’m reading: Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story -Arnold Schwarzenegger

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