I have placed my fingers on the keys, waiting for an idea to take control of my hands, to lead the way to thoughts that might hold some significance in light of our recent events. What can I say in a column based on food experiences, based on informing those who read that we Egyptians indeed have a food culture that can dramatically improve with some dedication to the cause? How can I possibly talk about food when young people, my people, are leaving this world in such haste?
There’s a symbolic gesture happening on the part of restaurants and the various food producers in the United States to support the Occupy Wall Street movement. Food bloggers are offering pie recipes to endorse the protests and are now sharing templates to show you how to make Occupie pies that demonstrate 1 percent of the American population holding more than 40 percent of the wealth. Food bloggers are also urging people to use this template on any Thanksgiving pie. All you have to do is cut along the drawn line on the template to give one person 40 percent of the pie while the rest share what remains. Ben & Jerry’s, the ice cream company, has become the first corporate company to publicly support the protests and Liberatos Pizza in New York City are taking orders from supporters who want to have $15 pizzas called “Occupies” delivered to the protesters.
Yesterday, as I was scrolling through the raging thoughts of people on Twitter, I came across a piece of news from @TahrirSupplies, the main account calling for supplies to be delivered, that Juhayna, an Egyptian dairy company, has taken it upon themselves to deliver all of Tahrir Square’s milk requirements. Was this public support for the movement’s cause or a quick response to the humanitarian crisis taking place? How will our companies who shower us with uninterrupted advertising react if this confrontation continues — will we begin to see more companies spring up to help the country they benefit from or will they continue to hold their silence in hopes that their share of the market remains unscathed?
This recipe is the pie I’m offering today. A pizza dough that is easy to work with, takes no time to prepare and contains vinegar, a well-known combatant of tear gas. Occupie your kitchen if you’re home.
Thin Crust Pizza Dough
One cup of warm water
1.5 teaspoons of yeast
1 tablespoon of sugar
2.5 teaspoons of olive oil
1.5 teaspoons of salt
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
4 cups of flour
Stir together your warm water and sugar and sprinkle the yeast over the top. Leave it for 10 minutes until it starts forming bubbles on the surface. Add the oil, salt, vinegar and 2 cups of flour until well incorporated. Add additional flour and knead until pliable, stretchy and barely sticky. The smell of the vinegar will evaporate in the oven. Don’t fear it. Move your dough to a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Let your dough rise for an hour or until it has doubled in size. Once it has doubled, punch it down and divide it into the portions you need. I personally made a few smaller pizzas with this as opposed to 2 large ones. Roll and stretch each piece of dough until it reaches your desired thickness and size. Coat your dough with pizza sauce and the toppings of your choice. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet or pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal at 250 degrees Celsius for 10-12 minutes or until browned and bubbly. The time depends on the heat of your oven – it might need a few more minutes.
You can also use the amount of dough you need and freeze the rest of the dough. Grease the inside of a freezer bag, put the rest of your dough in and make sure it’s sealed. Next time you come to use it, take it out in the morning or allow it to thaw at room temperature before attempting to roll it out. Pre-rolling and freezing is also an option.