Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Passionate About Pizza: Making Great Homemade Pizza

Over the years I have gotten many emails from pizza lovers. I wanted to share the latest from Curtis, who has just completed his first pizza book...

Dear Albert:

Peter Reinhart suggested that I reach
out to you. Your site is quite impressive! I mean to spend some time
looking through it in detail. I have found a few pizza web sites but had
not come across yours. You show a strong passion for pizza and for
helping others enjoy making pizza. I share a similar passion and desire. I would
like to ask a favor of you.

I began making Chicago-style pizza
soon after I got married (now 20 years ago). My wife and I received a
Chicago-style pizza set as a wedding shower gift. The kit had a deep-dish
pizza pan, pizza cutter, pan lifter, and a pizza cookbook specializing in
Chicago-style pizza. One day I asked my wife if she was ever going to
make pizza; she said, "You go ahead."

So, I did. I used the kit tomake pizza quite frequently. After a while, I was able to duplicate andeven improve on the New York-style pizza I remembered from my youth. I made and served many hundreds of pizzas to my family and friends over the

My pizzas became more and more consistent and I kept getting rave
reviews; that is, when they were not begging me to make something other
than pizza! Many of my friends said, "You should open a
pizzeria!" Others said, "Can you teach me to make pizza like

The first really good pizza cookbook I
found was Evelyne Slomon's "The Pizza Book". Over the years I
have purchased 12 or so pizza cookbooks and I've looked at and read many
others. I found that many of the pizza cookbooks give terse, short
descriptions that leave a beginner much room for error and do not help
the beginning pizza baker enough to be successful in their first few pizzas.

I think this makes it somewhat difficult for a neophyte to become
comfortable making pizza before they decide that it's just not worth the

I decided to write a book to capture the techniques that I had learned and developed to help others make greatpizza, too. My book takes a different approach from any pizza cookbook I have seen and I think it will make a good addition to the pizza cookbook

My cookbook has been a long time coming; I began writing fifteen years ago. In the beginning, I frequently made three different types of pizza to duplicate the three types of pizza from my youth.

After describing those three, I kept adding descriptions
about another type of pizza then another. Soon I had quite a bit of
material. It needed structure and form to make it easily accessible. I
cooked up the idea of systematic pizza making and the organization of the
cookbook along the lines of the system. It seemed to hang together well
and it got good feedback from those who reviewed my drafts.

Before I knew it, I had something that looked and read like a cookbook! The text of my book was mostly finished five years ago but it sat on the shelf awaiting
pictures. This spring, I finally started taking pictures and things have
shaped up nicely.

I have just self-published a cookbook
entitled "Passionate About Pizza: Making Great Homemade Pizza".
I will receive a 100 book print run by the end of 2008 (I just got the
proofs and have given them the go-ahead to print). The book has been
extensively proofread, copy edited by a professional (twice, in fact),
and read/smoothed several times.

I am calling this my Friends and Family
edition because those may be the only people that will be interested
enough to buy one! I'll try selling it locally and on-line to see just
how much interest there is in the book. I'll take feedback to decide whether
to go forward with a larger printing or to revise and improve the

If you have read this far, it is now
time for me to make a request of you. Would you please read my pizza
cookbook and give me feedback? I would love to get some constructive
criticism and no-bull feedback from someone who has seen so many pizza
cookbooks. I will take your feedback to heart (good or bad) and use it to
make the book better for the next edition/printing.

I would be overjoyed if you find the book sufficiently good to write a testimonial or review that I can use in marketing my book or on your web site.

If you are interested, please give me a response via a-mail and I will ship a book to you as soon as I receive the printed books. If you would like to converse with me via e-mail, phone, or by FAX please feel free to do so. If you are not interested,
just let me know and I will understand.

You can find an excerpt of the book at if you would like to
take a quick look before you decide.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Curtis Ide

My response:

Thanks for writing, Curtis. I will help you in any way that I can. I look forward to reading your book as well as trying some of the tips and pizza secrets.

You do have a passion for pizza. I believe in the celebration of pizza and it seems you do to. I wish you the absolute best.

Onward and upward!

pizza on earth,

albert grande

1 comment:

Curtis said...


Thanks for the warm response! It's great to meet another person who is passionate about pizza.

I love your web site. When I started working on my pizza cookbook, the internet was just a few ftp sites and usenet discussion groups. I thought about making a web site but it seems that I'm a better writer than visaual artist. Just look at my web site and that will prove it!

Anyway, nice meeting you and I look forward to keeping in touch.

Take care,