No locality on planet Earth is too remote to serve as a place of origin for an ingredient in Jerry’s pizza.
Jerry said Saturday night he was anxiously waiting for a yeast-culture delivery from Italy, microbes from the motherland.
He was slightly disappointed. The yeast, of the sourdough variety, had not yet arrived. He couldn’t wait to try it out as an ingredient in the crust of his pizza.
But a yield of Italian red chili peppers – with the initial kick of a jalapeño but with none of the lingering aftertaste – was part of the spread. That seemed to buoy Jerry's spirits.
“Wait till you taste this!” Jerry said about the red peppers. “This is hot but it doesn’t burn all night!”
A carpenter by trade, Jerry built a wood-fueled pizza oven on wheels. He can tow the oven, which resembles a doghouse, anywhere. Perhaps he has a business venture in mind, catering big parties and carnivals.
Glowing embers are enough to cook the pizzas. When he wants to shed more light on the subject, he tosses in a new timber that bursts into flames.
It’s an honor to be invited to one of Jerry and Nancy’s backyard pizza parties where you find a veritable who’s who list of the residents of the Greenfields subdivision in Cary.
You can play tailgate toss in Jerry and Nancy’s backyard, or you can talk about current events … or what’s on sale at Jewel.
But here all roads lead to Rome. The topic always comes back to the pizza oven. It’s a conversation magnet.
“Why doesn’t the pizza stick to the oven?” somebody will ask Jerry.
“The dough is super-moist,” Jerry says. “It floats on a magic carpet of steam.”
“How long does it take to cook the pizza?” another asks.
“Ninety seconds is all,” Jerry says. “It’s about one thousand degrees in there. I’ve burned all the hair off my knuckles cooking pizzas. My pizzas are bombarded in the oven by heat. They are cooked by conduction, convection and radiant heat all at the same time. It's a really quick process.”
“It’s hotter than Hades in there,” Keith Leibforth, a neighbor, said about Jerry's pizza oven.
As far as pizza toppings go, besides the super-hot red peppers from Italy, Jerry had Brussels sprouts, basil, homemade sausage, bacon, garden-fresh tomatoes, several kinds of imported cheeses and so on.
You just grabbed a handful of something and sprinkle it on top of your pizza.