Peter's Blog
Welcome to My Pizza Quest Blog
Peter Reinhart

Hi Again,

This is the place where I'll be posting some commentary and thoughts of my own, separate from the webisodes and instructional sections. It is also a way for you to link over to my personal blog, where I write about all sorts of things not related to Pizza Quest. That site is at http://peterreinhart.typepad.com

But on this Pizza Quest blog I'll share things related to our search for the perfect pizza and also any other thoughts that relate to the themes of Pizza Quest: artisanship, the search for quality and meaning, and various aspects of self-discovery through the metaphor of pizza.

 
WheatStalk this Weekend
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

I'm on my way to Chicago for the bi-annual WheatStalk Conference, our version of Woodstock, where 250 serious "bread-heads" gather for workshops, lectures, demo's and all things bread. I'll be leading a wood-fired pizza workshop.  Lots of fun!!!  I'll blog about it right here when I get back. (And I'm sure at least one pizza quest adventure awaits us in the Windy City -- not yet sure where we'll go, but how can anyone be in Chicago without hunting down some Chicago-style?)

Unfortunately, we're still having technical issues with loading photos, so Brad's post is still waiting in the wings. We may have to start posting some of these things without the photos, at least until we get it worked out. Believe me, we're trying. In the meantime, thanks for your support and hang in there with us.

Sincerely,

Peter

 
Peter's Blog, Quick Update
Peter Reinhart

Hi Everyone,

We have a new posting from Brad coming soon, all about a killer Lamb Merguez sausage pizza that he came up with in his Primavera 60. However, we're having some technical issues with our photo posting service. As soon as we clear that up, we'll post it.

Also, I have an interview coming up with Liz Barrett, managing editor and writer for PMQ Magazine (Pizza Marketing Quarterly) about a new book she just released called, "Pizza: A Slice of American History." The book just came out, and can be found at Amazon and other book stores if you want to check it out and order it now. I'll post that interview as soon as we put it all together (and also get the technical issues ironed out that I mentioned above).

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that more great content is on its way, so keep checking back.  More soon....

Peter

 
Rest in Peace, Robin Williams
Peter Reinhart

I first saw Robin Williams perform about a year before his career took off, when he was doing stand up in San Francisco, where I lived at the time. I was about 28 years old and I went to a comedy club, called The Boarding House, with a friend, having heard rumors of this hot new comic. About ten minutes into his frenetic routine my friend and I looked at each other, our mouths agape, and simultaneously said, “Unbelievable!”  It was unlike anything that anyone else was doing; spiritual, profane, gross, sublime, full of popular culture and also arcane historical references, like someone took the lid off the universal Pandoric subconscious and just let the genie out to roam at will (and this was years before he played the genie in Aladdin, which was the most perfect casting in the history of cinema). He acted out a slow motion tai chi dance in one of his routines, while spouting witty one-liners in concert with the movements, to illustrate how he could manipulate time, perhaps giving us a glimpse into how he experienced reality and how different his experience was from ours, like an athlete in the zone. “Reality, what a concept,” was a getaway line for him.

I’d long been a fan of Jonathan Winters, who was clearly one of Robin’s main inspirations, but that night was like watching Jonathan Winters on steroids to the tenth power (of course, we later learned it was probably fueled more by cocaine, but in those innocent days I’d hoped it was au naturale).

After the second time that I saw him perform I tried to send him a note, via one of the club managers, to ask if he would let me interview him. I was, at that time, a seminary student and a regular contributor to a theological magazine called Epiphany Journal and I believed that Robin Williams was operating about as close to the “Eternal Now” as was humanly possible, and I wanted to know more about his process. There was an Icarus-like quality to his ambitions and I feared that the wing-wax might soon melt but, as a performer, he flew as close to the sun as I’d ever witnessed; it was both inspiring and scary. I never got a reply to my interview request and I doubt that he ever received it, but it was as near as I ever got to him, though I followed his career earnestly till the end.

I saw him perform a few more times during that break-out year, and when I went to catch his set at a different club, about twelve months later, just as he was about launch Mork and Mindy (he’d already done a legendary HBO special, so he was no longer my/our little San Francisco discovery), he was clearly off his game. Normally, (if such a word could ever be used in association with Robin) he had a very clever way of pulling out of a bad joke sequence by stopping the show and directly addressing the audience with a straight face, declaring, “So this is what must be known as Comedy Hell.”  Then he’d go off on a comedy hell riff, invoking demons and inner voices that would magically turn things around and win back the crowd. (He also had a “Comedy Heaven” routine that he’d use when the audience was too easy on him, admonishing us by saying, “Now you’re laughing at nothing.” Brilliant!) But on this night even the Comedy Hell trick wasn’t working, so he kept sputtering, working hard to turn it around, sweating profusely, drinking lots of water, knowing that it just wasn’t happening, a little panic entering into what seemed like his coked-up bravado.  It was hard to watch but I was glad I got to see him in this situation, though disappointed that he wasn’t as mind boggling as before, because everyone knows that these are the situations that really test a comic’s mettle. It was painful but, by now he was a veteran trouper and he managed to pull out of the tailspin enough to leave us hungry for more, applauding for him wildly; an A for effort. It was on that night that I began to wonder how long he could keep going at this pace before imploding. Amazingly, it took thirty five years, though who knows how many crash and burns he went through along the way -- we do know of a few, but probably not all. Every time he got clean and sober I breathed a sigh of relief and hoped he could keep bouncing back. But his resilience, as we now know, had its limit.

There’s no way to know just how much each performance took out of him, but if any of you have ever laid it all out there (“Left it all on the field,” as they say in sports) -- and I know many of you have -- you know how it is both exhilarating and draining, how there’s always a cost. When I heard of his death I became profoundly sad and it hasn’t surprised me that so many others were equally saddened. Great artists have a way of becoming transparent to and sharing with their audiences their deep longing for something always just out reach. Robin’s performances, at least the early ones I got to witness, and also some of his best film roles, caused us to believe that, even while still out of reach, the things longed for were nearer than ever to our grasp, maybe even achievable but, oh my, at what a cost. The sadness I now feel is a kind of melancholy, putting me in touch with my own longing for what C. S. Lewis called the great “I know not what.”  When Robin performed, the “I know not what” seemed almost graspable. But, because it is, in reality (yes, what a concept), still always just out of reach, the quest for it can sometimes wear you out. I wish we had another twenty years of him, but that’s just selfish.

I’ll find my own way to stay renewed in the quest of my own longings, and wish I had been able to help him keep bouncing back. A lot of people are wishing that, even those of us who never knew him. But what a joy it was to live, if even vicariously, in the slipstream of his unbelievable energy.

 
Peter's Blog, Aug. 1, 2014
Peter Reinhart

Hi Again,

I'm about to head out with my wife SUsan for some long-awaited R&R, so will just post a quick one today and do a more substantial posting when I get back. I want to tell you then all about The Kneading Conference that I just attended in Skowhegan, Maine, a true fantasy camp for serious bread-heads, but still need to gather my photos and collect my thoughts. I learned new things about sourdough starters worth sharing, and had some pretty righteous wood-fired pizza and, of course, breads, breads, breads (including my own demo, featuring sprouted wheat flour). Still to come....

Also, wanted to suggest that you check out my friend Dede Wilson's terrific website, www.Bakepedia.com where she recently did a pizza posting featuring me, and also posted my "How to Re-Heat Cold Pizza" trick.  This should get you there but if it doesn't just go to the website and type my name in the search box: http://www.bakepedia.com/?s=peter+reinhart&submit.x=0&submit.y=0 . But there's a lot more there than pizza there -- a great resource for all aspects of baking. Enjoy!

More when II  get back....

Peter

 
Peter's Blog, July 2014
Peter Reinhart

Hi Again,

It's been awhile; crazy summer, going way too fast.  Just a few quick items for you:

--First, we'll be running Bob Radcliffe's final installment of the Rocky Ford Tomato Pie series in a few days, so please do check back. It's been a very inspirational story, full of useful tips for anyone who loves pizza and also for those of us who still have a dream or two to pursue and need to know that it's never too late.

--Also, my friend Dede Wilson, who created an amazing website called Bakepedia.com, just ran two pieces about me and pizza. Here are the links and, after you check them out you might want to check out the rest of the site and revisit it often:

http://www.bakepedia.com/peter-reinharts-neo-neopolitan-pizza-dough/

and:   http://www.bakepedia.com/tipsandtricks/reheating-pizza/

--Brad English is working on another crazy fun recipe and we should have that ready to post soon too. I don't know how he keeps coming up with these but he's a big, hungry guy who loves to feed people. Brad is the personification of what Pizza Quest is all about and his recipes are awesome!

--One final note: for any of you in the Skowhegan, Maine area, I'll be there next week from July 23-25th for the annual Kneading Conference (a fun and informative gathering for serious bread heads), followed by the Maine Bread Festival on Saturday the 26th at the Fair Grounds that is open to the public. Come over and say hi if you're there.

Thanks so much for your support and loyalty, and for continuing to visit us here. Lots more still to come....

Happy Mid-Summer!!!!

Peter

 

 

 

 

StartPrev12345NextEnd

 

Login Form

Who's Online

We have 53 guests online

Vision Statement

Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.

Peter's Books

American Pie Artisan Breads Every Day Bread Baker's Apprentice Brother Juniper's Bread Book Crust and Crumb Whole Grain Breads

… and other books by Peter Reinhart, available on Amazon.com

Home Peter's Blog