Pizza Arteries

There’s nothing like an endarterectomy to make you reconsider having pizza for dinner. This might be the last pizza I’ll ever eat. And as such, I’ve shaped it into a large abdominal aortic aneurysm in tribute to the body part it jeopardizes. 

Surgery has taught me so much. For example, there’s nothing like taking surgery call to reinforce sensible undergarment selection and/or vigilance in the unpopular domain of pubic hair maintenance. You never know when you might be a trauma case—best to be ready at all times for a full-body prep. Surgery has, however, deprived me of dementia-protective sleep patterns. As a result, I’m starting to do strange and zombie-like things– like, putting on lipstick (instead of brushing my teeth) before going to bed. Perhaps this is some Freudian revelation of my truest priorities. Perhaps, too, my dreams of surgery every night (like full 8 hour operations) are signals from the gods of their subtle portents for my fate. Am I a surgeon? Image

Pizza Arteries

1 cup sourdough starter

1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting (used all-purpose)

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

For the Extras
3 cups pizza sauce, I use marinara

4 ounces mozzarella, shredded

8 ounces sliced pepperoni

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan


  1. Measure the warm water and oil into a bowel and add the sourdough starter.
  2. Add flour and salt to the liquid ingredients. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
  3. Shape into smooth round ball and cover with a damp cloth. Let dough relax for at least 10 minutes (no more than 30 minutes)
  4. Brush rolled out dough round with oil. This represents how all atherosclerosis begins, with a fatty streak. Image
  5. This is a longitudinal representation of the aorta. Over time, as you enjoy your choices in life, smoking, eating steak and burgers and fried chicken, the combination of cholesterol and sheering forces of high blood pressure damage the intima, the inner lining, of your arteries. Plaque sticks to the rough edges, and looks exactly like hard cheese. Here is the aorta both longitudinally and in cross section:ImageImage
  6. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce even over dough round, leaving ½ inch border. Sprinkle one half with 1 cup mozzarella, and cover with pepperoni, or whatever your toppings of choice might be. And then ruminate good and hard about what this dinner is going to do to your arteries. How, over time, if you keep this up, and you are genetically predisposed to having weak or otherwise weird connective tissue, you might be on track to get an aortic aneurysm (which, I would be happy to operate on once it reaches 5.5cm in diameter)– watch out! These tend to be asymptomatic! If you have a family history for this, consider around age 55 or 65 signing up for a CT scan. Image

But for now, Enjoy. Bake for 12 minutes at 500 degrees. Life is short no matter what your choices are. So don’t forget to stop and look around once and awhile, like Ferris Bueller recommends. And taste widely. Image Enjoy. Worry. Repeat. That’s life. Image

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