This weekend’s visit to an avant-garde art museum has my family talking about what constitutes art, and how art is created.  After looking at a pile of broken glass that was artfully displayed as an exhibit, I concluded that something is considered art when it is prudently constructed, and provides the audience with a unique and thought-provoking experience.  I began to wonder how often we view food as an art medium.  Some prepare food solely for nourishment, whereas others savor the process, beginning with preparation and culminating to presenting and tasting the first bite.  I tend to cook intuitively, often creating meals from a handful of ingredients; based loosely on a picture I saw; or shaped by a meal I had in the past.  Even when I follow recipes, I’ll omit or substitute items, using ingredients that are healthier, or more appealing.  Some people don’t feel comfortable taking liberties, either because they don’t trust their own judgment, or feel that the integrity of the recipe is compromised (my mother!), whereas I cannot imagine being in the kitchen without the freedom to experiment.  Yes, sometimes the results are less than stellar, but other times they are fabulous.

Artistic pizzas

These two pizzas are ones created with an artistic hand.  Similar to going to an art museum and seeing a painting of flowers, it’s been done before, but no two are alike.  We’ve all made pizza before, but each time there is a variation, and this dinner was no different.  The first pizza is chicken-spinach-alfredo on a whole wheat crust.  My daughter and I made the dough earlier in the day, but you could start with a pre-made crust.  We covered the dough with alfredo sauce, raw baby spinach, chunks of rotisserie chicken, and slices of fresh mozzarella.  The second pizza is half bbq-chicken spinach, and half pizza margherita.  Both sides start with marinara sauce; one side has chicken, slathered in barbecue sauce, layered over spinach and under mozzarella; and the other side was simply basil and mozzarella.  Other times we’ve used grilled chicken rather than rotisserie, different types of cheeses, or extra toppings.  In making pizza, as with so many other foods, it’s fun to follow your mood, cook with what you’re craving, and see where it takes you.

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