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Show & Tell 04: Turtle Pizza

This week's Show and Tell topic is "Forgotten Snacks."  There are plenty of old snack foods I used to enjoy, but I don't know how much I could offer other than "yep, I used to eat these at lunch" and a sentence or two more.

One of the examples given with this week's topic to help get ideas flowing was:  "a special treat your Mom used to make."  

I pondered on that one for a while, and then it came to me.  Turtles Pizza!  

Ninja Turtles Pizza, of course!

In 1991, I picked up a stack of books at the Scholastic Book Fair at school.  The Book Fair could be a post unto itself someday, but it was one of the times my Mom was usually willing to spend a little more each year.  I loved reading as a kid and often entertained myself at home or on long car trips with a stack of books.  Nowadays, if I glance at my phone for a few seconds while riding as a passenger, I'm immediately car sick.  1 digress...

As I said, I loved to read, so Mom would usually be happy to let me order several books when the Scholastic people came around.  What seemed like months later, long after I forgot the titles I ordered, the books would arrive, and the teacher would hand them out.  I can still remember what the pages in those brand-new books smelled like.  I can even still feel the embossed print on the covers on my fingertips.     

In 1991, I ordered a book called "Pizza Party."  1991 was likely the height of my Ninja Turtles fandom, so of course, it was a Ninja Turtles book!  In it, the teenaged mutants head onto the streets above their sewer home, cloaked in trenchcoats and fedoras, to pick up a pizza for dinner.  When they arrive, they realize they have walked into a robbery and spring into ninja-fighting action.  By the time they get everything settled, the pizza parlor is all out of toppings except anchovies.  As we learned in the first TMNT movie, "If you put anchovies on this thing, you're in big trouble, ok?"

When they return home sad and hungry, Splinter makes them a pizza out of English Muffins, tomato sauce, and cheese.  At the end of the book is a basic recipe so that you (and a supervising adult!) can make your own.

When I finished the book that afternoon, I immediately came running out into the living room to ask my Mom to make one for me.  She did, and when it came out of the toaster oven, I ran back to my room, pretending to be in the sewer lair with the Ninja Turtles.  I remember the cheese wasn't melted completely, nor did it have that "burned" look like a regular pizza.  The tomato sauce we had, Ragu's "Thick and Hearty," also didn't taste like the traditional pizza sauce I was accustomed to.  

Nonetheless, I loved it!  In my mind, Master Splinter had made it for me, and I was happy to be just like the Turtles for a few minutes.

From time to time, I'd ask for a "turtle pizza" as a snack, and Mom was always happy to oblige.  I began making them myself when I was old enough, but nothing compared to that first turtle pizza she made as I daydreamed.

I wish I still had that book.  I  read it so much the binding eventually wore out, and the pages were held to the book with Scotch tape.  There were even tomato sauce fingerprints on most of the pages from when I read the book for the 3,918th time while snacking on a "turtle pizza."  

I haven't thought about, or had, one of those in likely 20 years.  Now I feel like I need to head to the grocery store for English Muffins.  While this isn't exactly a "forgotten snack," considering you can make one at any time, it's certainly one that I loved as a kid and had forgotten about.   

Thanks to this Show and Tell deal, another memory from my youth has been unlocked.