During the Summer of 2017, my dear friend, Julia, sent me a picture of her brand-new tattoo- a big ole cheesy piece of pepperoni pizza permanently inked into her thigh.
Not too long after she sent me a picture of a new and edited version of that same tattoo, this time surrounded by the glorious words, “In Crust We Trust.”
Both times I asked the same question: How much were you drinking?
Both times I got the same response: Not even a little.
Anyone who knows Julia knows that pizza is so much more to her than just a gluten and dairy-filled creation of culinary brilliance (even though it is). The relationships that Julia has built over, you guessed it, pizza, go deeper and last longer than the simple pleasure of a cheesy slice.
My pizza memories with my friend. Where do they begin? Eating our weight in carbs around DC? Snapchatting each other regularly when we both happen to be eating a slice even 1,000 miles away from each other?
No, surely it began senior year of high school when we were let out of school early for a tornado warning and a whole group of us crowded into Julia’s tiny bathroom eating, yes, pizza, totally oblivious to what may or may not be happening outside of that sacred (and don’t worry, recently scrubbed) powder room.
Hey, in crust we trust, and it never lets us down.
The point is that I, and so many others, are fortunate enough to have a stake in that tattoo. Julia’s love language is pizza, and she doesn’t share these occasions with just anyone.
The past few years have been a bit of an emotional and financial roller coaster in my house. My husband and I seem to have that perfect blend of choice and circumstance that really keeps us on our toes. In a moment of seeking stability, a sort of routine, but still so desperate for interaction and relationships outside of our little home, Pizza Fridays came into our life.
You know what’s pretty cheap to make? Pizza.
There is show called “A Million Little Things” on ABC- and I promise it is worth your time and tears. While I would love to take credit for my beloved pizza Fridays, the idea came solely from this show. One family on this show always celebrates pizza Friday. The parents essentially tell their teenagers that on Pizza Friday they can invite anyone they want over, but for just one night a week they are to stay home and eat pizza with their family and friends.
There are a million reasons that this likely struck me and my husband so deeply. We’re both big pizza fans, yes. And we do like to stay in even on the weekends whenever opportunity arises. But I think above it all, it was this consistent act that we could have some sense of control of our life in a time that we were in a constant game of reach and miss.
Fridays are one of the most consistent things in the world. They come every week, never fail, so why not build into this consistency? Why not have pizza every Friday, just start there, and then why not spread the word that anyone is welcome to join, our home is open to anyone who needs something to do, carbs to eat. And then finally, why not establish it as a day, the one day in the week that you have one plan, and one plan only after work- pizza.
Pizza Fridays have been consistent in our household for about a year now, and through this time they have grown to mean so much more to us than we could have ever expected. They’ve grown from a meal for two in a tiny apartment to a meal for whoever wants to join in a slightly less tiny house.
Some days they’re accompanied with IPA’s and a game of Settlers of Catan, and other days we cuddle into our living room with wine and watch a movie. Sometimes, when we’re feeling particularly crazy, we’ll even go out for pizza, trying a new place around our beloved city.
Pizza Fridays always look different, but there’s always pizza, and that’s always enough.
Eventually, these little days became a staple. Eventually, Andrew and I, the introverts that we are, didn’t have to invite our friends over. Instead, our friends just tell us they’re coming, and sometimes they bring someone else, and together we toss, and we top, and we bake, and we eat, and it’s magical.
That’s what Pizza Friday is. It’s not just an excuse to break a diet. It’s not just a day to indulge. It has become a consistent relational aspect of our life, a day where tears have been shed and laughs have been shared. It’s a day that has been lived in some of the sweetest and some of the hardest seasons of our life, and it allows us, two people who tend to hide and grieve and celebrate in private, even when it is unhealthy, to welcome others to share in this joy and grief, and in return we share in theirs.
I can’t tell you how many times these nights have pulled us through, these moments of sharing life with others have been exactly what we needed even when our personalities initially try to reject the idea, and tell us, “not tonight.”
Pizza Friday has ultimately become a day for two homebodies to open our sacred space, a place that we love so much, and hide in so often, to share it with new friends, old friends, and people who just want a little free pizza. When we can’t all fit in our home then we share our favorite restaurants, our favorite parts of town. It’s not that hard, and this simple act, this simple consistency, has made a world of difference in our lives.
Pizza Friday is about relationships and the relaxation inside routine. It’s about the control of knowing what the end of the week will look like and looking forward to it without having to gear up for a night out and a whole day’s salary spent. It’s a day of inviting anyone who wants to join into your life to partake in your favorite food.
Your day might be different. You might be a fan of taco Tuesdays, or burger Sundays. The specifics aren’t the point. The principle is.
That’s what I challenge you to do, set your own principle. Find your own pizza, your own day of the week to stay in, but also invite others in with you, invite people to share that with you. We’ve celebrated pizza Friday in a tiny apartment and in a tiny house, and while one day we might have the works of a big kitchen and maybe even a pizza oven, today we have a pizza stone and a Trader Joe’s right down the road, and that is plenty for our mission, that is plenty to bring people together. It works.
Find your day, find your food, find your tribe and grow that. Find your consistency. And whether your live in Indy, or your just passing through, if ever you feel the need for Pizza on a Friday let me know. You probably won’t get me to leave my house, but come on over, friend, we have a few slices for you.
A few favorite Tips and Tricks for a Brilliant Pizza Friday:
Not into DIY pizza dough? – us either- Trader Joe’s has you covered.
Try to create new topping combinations every week, but always make a trusty pepperoni too- just in case.
Post your creations on social media- how are people going to know that they want to join you if they don’t know it’s a thing?
Make it a competition- ask your insta-friends to vote on the better pizza.
Buy your sauce in bulk as Costco- it’ll save plenty of $$$ if you do this consistently.
Grow your own fresh basil- it makes a difference, promise.
Drizzle honey on top before you pop the pizza into the oven– Andrew has brought a lot of wisdom into our marriage, but this idea is arguably the most impactful advice he has ever given me.
Pineapple has never and will never belong on pizza (I added that in because I know Julia would be pissed if I didn’t.)