Pizza is the dedicated university student’s best friend. It is quick, handy, and comes in user-adaptable sizes: a slice to take the edge off, or a whole disk to kill hunger off for a full day. But Pizza is also experimental food, and sometimes what one does with it just doesn’t work.

Over the years Mark and I have been together, we have developed a routine. He cooks on odd days, and I cook on even days. Unless he boots me out of the kitchen when he’s gripped by an urge to cook, which happens more often than not so that our routine regularly falls apart completely.

I am an indifferent cook; he is passionate about it. I cook to get something to eat, now, this instant, while Mark does his usual thing and fills the cork board with ideas and inspiration. If guests are coming, we know that he’s the one to manage that. I am likely to make something dependably utilitarian and bland. He creates a feast for the eye and for the palate. Except when it doesn’t work.

Today’s fare was pizza. Homemade in the oven. He had spent three days drawing inspiration from television, magazines, and other people. Auntie, his parents, Stephen and my Brighton-cousin were inbound at noon, and by two or three they expected food and wine on the table. Cue Chef Mark, and the pizza.

The topping was fine. Later, I scraped some off the pizza to eat separately, but the dough must have had glue in it because the crust was like eating the rubber non-slip carpet in the bathroom. I have no idea how he managed it, but the crust was resisting both the knife and the tooth. We could probably stretch it between sticks and get a very good slingshot out of it.

Okay, I’m exaggerating, but I’m also laughing a bit because it was so funny to see him red in the face at the dinner table when he bravely tried to eat the pizza – until he stood up and almost yanked the plates out from under people’s noses. In the end, we ordered chinese food to compensate.

Poor thing was upset though, and I’ve spent the afternoon telling him that it will be one of those stories we’ll laugh about later. Nobody minded, of course, except Mark’s mum kept mentioning different forms of rubber until they left, and wondered if they were more edible than the pizza.

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