Everywhere I go I find a pal
Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review
Tuesday is Election Day. You should make your voice heard and vote.
Because the world is watching.
On Friday, I had a Zoom conversation with Kenichi Okada, a diplomat from the Japanese Consulate in Chicago. He called me up to better understand Wisconsin politics and how they will impact the presidential race between Trump and Biden.
We had a great talk. I told him about tough times in the dairy industry, the fate of small rural towns in Wisconsin, the shifts in manufacturing and demographic changes in the northern part of our state. I tried to explain how all of these factors played into Trump’s narrow win in Wisconsin in 2016.
Mr. Okada soaked up the information and thanked me. He told me that the United States was the most important country in the world to the Japanese.
So, yes, go vote. Make a statement that will reverberate around the world.
Life these days in America is polarized.
I didn’t know just how polarized until this past Sunday when my son, Guthrie, and I made homemade pizza.
This pizza was a bit different. It was a ham and butternut squash pie on a whole wheat crust.
I took a firm position. I said pizza was all about the crust, that crisp, yeasty wonderfulness in the round. My son took an opposite position with equal firmness. No, he said, pizza was about the toppings. The more toppings, he said, the better.
I was taken aback by my son’s apostacy. Like any good father, I rushed in to correct his thinking.
Pizza, I said, has always been about the crust. The world’s first pizza created in 10th century Italy was a flatbread variant. The essential thing was a chewy, delicious crust.
My son disagreed, brushing aside these musings. Pizza was not Italian, he claimed, adding that real Italians don’t even eat pizza. Pizza, he claimed, was a modern American invention. Key to this development, he said, was toppings. It was America that was both the first country to put a man on the moon, but also pineapple on a pizza. Toppings, he repeated, were supreme.
No, no, no, I said. I explained to Guthrie that I had started the dough for Sunday’s pizza on Saturday with a batter-like poolish (pre-ferment) that would help form bubbles in the crust. All of this care, work and toil was worth it. The crust is what makes or breaks the pizza, I said.
Fortunately, my son and I found a civilized way to deal with this disagreement.
We agreed to use a wooden rolling pin to create a thin, whole wheat crust. This way we not only optimized the crust, making it chewy and tasty, but we also increased the real estate on the pizza for toppings.
We found our way to both a better crust and more toppings. Kumbaya.
I don’t know if a ham and squash pizza is a way to solve the country’s divisions over politics, race and religion.
But, then again, it couldn’t hurt.
Contact Peter Weinschenk at email@example.com