Most of the cuisine of my senior year of college isn’t worth revisiting.
Mostly I remember lots and lots of steamed rice with soy sauce, and too much macaroni and cheese from a box, not to mention lots of take-out.
Another staple of my kitchen table brought together two food items sacred to any college senior — beer and pizza.
Someone in the newsroom of the Boston U. Daily Free Press had lucked into a fact-a-day calendar put out by Samuel Adams, the hometown brewer that, in those days, was at the forefront of the developing craft-brew movement.
One of the page-a-day entries featured a dirt-simple recipe for thick-crust pizza.
All it took was white flour, wheat flour, baking powder and a bottle of Sam Adams Boston Lager, along with whatever toppings were desired.
I didn’t often have Sam Lager in my fridge back then, due to its relative cost. But I always had beer — inoffensive pale golden beer, perfect for mixing into baked goods.
A little tomato sauce and cheese from the nearby Purity Supreme grocery store (dubbed “Poverty Supreme” for its general grunginess), and you had yourself a warm, filling, homemade dinner. Nay — a warm, filling, homemade pizza dinner with beer. What more could a 21-year-old wish for on a chill New England evening?
To this day, my wife and I still have that fact-a-day calendar entry somewhere in our recipe files. It pops up every couple of years.
And you know where I’m going with this: I got the urge into my head to make it again.
Even though I have come to strongly prefer crisp, thin-crust pizza. Even though I am no longer 21. And even though I should know better than to do stuff like this … I still wanted to do it anyway.
So, I provisioned myself today with the bare necessities, and set about cooking.
I should have opted for either Sam Lager (to be true to the recipe) or some trashy canned beer (to be historically accurate.)
Instead, faced with a dizzying variety of beer, I chose a decent-looking lager more or less at random — Frankenmuth Brewery Pilsener, from Frankenmuth, Michigan. I knew it wouldn’t be too hoppy, anyway, which is the biggest concern when you cook with beer.
Thirty minutes at 425 degrees produced a nicely done if rather dark-topped pizza. (I seem to remember they looked like that in 1995, too.)
I thought it was OK, maybe even better than I remembered.
The crust was fairly light and not too bitter — it tastes a little of beer, but not in a bad way. The whole wheat flour lent the recipe a little bit of heft without making it leaden. The tomato sauce and cheese, meanwhile, were tomato sauce and cheese.
My kids weren’t totally sold on it; at one point my younger son referred to it as “gross-crust pizza.” Most of the pizza in the pan — I’d say 85 percent of it — disappeared anyway.
I might actually make this again on some weekend night when I find myself short on inspiration and bereft of ingredients except cheese, sauce, flour and beer.
I couldn’t tell you anything I learned in my senior-year college classes, but I’m glad to offer you a quick and useful pizza recipe if you want it.
My parents must be speechless with disappointment.