Pizza Week 2014 – Get Ready!!!!!

Pizza Week 2014
Monday, February 24, through Sunday, March 2 (until 11:59pm!)

It’s time to start preparing for Pizza Week 2014! Once again I have interviewed the creator of Pizza Week, a guy I am lucky to call my brother-in-law. At the end of the interview, which is interspersed with pictures of delicious pizza, I have included the guidelines for Pizza Week. I hope you will join us in celebrating, and even send in a few pictures of your own pizzas for me to post on the blog!
(*UPDATE: Now that Pizza Week is over, I have posted links to all my pizza posts at the bottom of this blog)

To quote last year’s Pizza Week post, “As some of you know, one of the reasons I created this vegan food blog is for my Orthodox Christian friends, to give them ideas for meals and snacks on fasting days. What you might not know is, despite the fact we are fasting more days than not, we Orthodox Christians also love to eat. The great and wide variety of foods, after all, are a gift to all of us from God. So to keep things balanced, the Church does more than give us fasting days of preparation and repentance. We also have feasting days (and weeks!) in celebration and in preparation.

That’s where Pizza Week comes in, in preparation for Great Lent. You see, during Great Lent and Holy Week – the 50 day period preceding Pascha (Easter) – Orthodox Christians generally abstain from all meat, eggs, fish, dairy, oil and wine. This is called a strict fast.

If you think Fat Tuesday is great, just wait. In preparation for Great Lent, we start with one whole week without any fasting except the brief fast before communion that Sunday morning. Then we slowly work our way into the fast. We have these two special Sundays before Lent begins. One is called Meatfare Sunday. It’s the last day when meat is permitted. Eat all the meat you want – I’ll be eating the last of my faux meat, if I have any.
The next day Cheesefare week begins, and with it, fasting from all meat. But dairy is allowed every single day (normally during the year, we keep the strict fast every Wednesday and Friday) – and again, I’ll be using up my faux cheese. Then comes Cheesefare Sunday, the last day to eat any dairy or eggs. After Cheesefare Sunday, the strict fast begins, with a slight relaxation on Saturdays and Sundays when oil and wine are permitted. Then, after 50 days of waiting and praying, we celebrate The Feast of Feasts!

Okay, now that we have some background, let’s get to the fun stuff!

from Cult Pizza in Grand Rapids, MI

from Cult Pizza in Grand Rapids, MI

OhSheCooks: First, last year you said maybe you’d keep track of how many pieces of pizza you ate. Did you?

Brother-in-Law: I did not. The slice size varied so much it would be tough to truly understand what a number would have meant.

OSC: Now, am I correct you don’t like vegetables on your pizza at all, or is it that you don’t like vegetables and meat together? I’m wondering if you just eat plain cheese pizza every day during Pizza Week since we can’t have meat. Do you do fake meat?

Eggplant Pizza

Eggplant Pizza. What’s that about vegetables?

BIL: Correct, I do not like vegetables on my pizza. Veggies are for salads, not pizza. I eat plain cheese pizza all week.

OSC: How far in advance do you begin planning for Pizza Week? What’s your strategy?

BIL: I don’t really plan for it, except send a Facebook event invite a week or so before. The only strategy is to make sure I am able to get at least one piece a day. So, if my wife doesn’t want pizza at night for dinner, I have to either get it for lunch, or make sure there’s some leftovers at home for an after-dinner snack.

Mexican Pizza

Mexican Pizza

I asked my sister to come up with a few questions for the interview…
OSC: Here are your wife’s questions: If pizza were a song, what song would it be?

BIL: Everlasting Love

OSC: What is your earliest pizza memory?

BIL: Wow, I have no idea. I feel like my family didn’t eat a lot of pizza until I was a teenager, but maybe I just don’t remember.

Onions-Three-Ways Pizza

Onions-Three-Ways Pizza

OSC: What is your worst pizza memory?

BIL: Working as a pizza relocation specialist and being around pizza for hours, having it make my car smell like pizza, but not being able to eat any of it (especially during Lent).

OSC: Lastly (back to my questions), if non-Orthodox people participate in Pizza Week, what do you hope they’ll take away from it?

"Tortizza" - Pizza on a tortilla when you need a quick fix!

“Tortizza” – Pizza on a tortilla when you need a quick fix!

BIL: Two things really. First, to realize how amazing a gift from God pizza is, as well as having the means to participate in Pizza Week. To be able to eat something so delicious every day is a blessing. Then, I hope they see that while that gift is amazing, God’s gift of sending His only Son to become man, suffer, and die for us is the greatest gift of all. If people are willing to go from eating delicious pizza consistently for days, to abstaining completely for close to 50 days in a row to prepare for Christ’s resurrection, it hopefully shows just how important God’s gift is, and anything else pales in comparison.

Thank you, BIL, for another excellent interview! And now, what you’ve all been waiting for…

BIL’s Pizza Week Rules:

1. You must eat pizza at least 1 time every day. It does not have to constitute a whole meal, but it can.
2. You must eat a standard size piece of pizza at least.
3. You can eat any type of pizza you want – thin, pan, Chicago style, etc.
4. You may eat pizza multiple times in one day.
5. You can put anything on the pizza you want (though meat is technically not allowed that week, please consult your priest or spiritual father to discuss your personal fasting rule).
6. You don’t have to be Orthodox or be giving up pizza for Lent to participate in Pizza Week (though that’s generally the point).
7. It is highly recommended that the next time you eat pizza after March 2nd at 11:59 pm is after the Anastasi Divine Liturgy on Pascha (generally about 1-3am on Sunday, April 20th.)

In case there is any doubt, we are talking about REAL cheese pizza for Pizza Week. Eating vegan pizza during Lent is a completely separate entity and in no way affects the splendor or legitimacy of Pizza Week (unless you are already a vegan and plan to give up vegan pizza for Lent*).

*I believe that was added for moi 🙂

Looking for pizza recipes? Check the Junk Food Fix category from the recipe index! Of course you can also buy a fresh or frozen pizza. Or sneak into an elementary school and steal a slice of rectangular pizza with really weird-looking bits of “sausage” on it – that can’t be real meat, can it? Did anyone else used to dip their school cafeteria pizza in ranch dressing? Man I am hungry for pizza right now. RIGHT NOW. Pizza Week, COME!

Jordanian Sweet Potato Flatbread Pizza
Basic Daiya Pizza
Neapolitan Pizza
Eggplant Pizza, Spinach Pie
Pulled Jackfruit Pizza with Corn Tortilla White Sauce
Deluxe Pizza