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Katie Caruso

Clear. Bright. Connected.

What a Disastrous Pizza Taught Me About Business



Most Friday evenings in our home are spent with my son and two nephews. They're all under the age of 13 and I'm proud to say they still enjoy my company. We often make homemade pizza for dinner these nights because it's a fun activity in which everyone can participate and the end result is always a crowd-pleaser - I mean, who doesn't love pizza?


We have made pizza as a family so many times together. It is now a well-practiced dance. My mother expertly handles the dough, the boys get creative with the toppings, and I'm a helper for the littlest hands. We're all familiar with the routine and it's usually a very enjoyable and low-stress activity.


One recent evening however, everything went about as sideways as a cartwheel.


Things started off well enough. We each fell into the steps of our well-known routine. The first pizza came out flawlessly. The second followed suit. Then we encountered a critical misstep for the third and final pizza.


While giving the pizza a quick turn, it slipped clean off the pan and straight into the crack between the door and the box of the screaming hot oven. It was messy. It was gooey. It was a disastrous pizza.


Quick to the draw as ever, my mother rushed to scoop up the molten dough and cheese onto the pan and into a shaggy heap of half-baked ingredients. I moved to open the nearby doors and windows because the smoking debris had set off the fire alarm and the youngest boy was screaming to turn it off. We worked like madwomen, alternating between opening the oven door to clear out the remaining gunk and waving a dish towel under the smoke alarm to try our best to clear out the smoke.


The pizza looked more like a lasagna at this point, but she retained all of her essential parts. So in the midst of this crisis, my mother and I looked at each other and decided we were hungry enough to press on. We smushed most of the mess into a circular shape on the pan, smothered it with cheese, and cracked an egg on it in a final flourish. Back into the smoky oven she went.


After a few tense moments, we opened the door and pulled the pizza out. It was the moment of truth. We sat at the table and tasted our disastrous pizza. The layers of dough and cheese and toppings all worked together in harmony. There were crispy bits and squishy bits and it was, in a word, delightful.


While laying in bed that night, my belly full and happy, I reflected on this experience.


After the initial slip, we could have called it quits, thrown in the towel, and tossed the mess into the garbage - but we didn't. We decided to move forward and work through the tense moment to finish the project. We didn't let the mistake define the outcome.


Sure, I believe there is value in recognizing when I have crossed over the boundary between success and failure, but I also believe that sometimes I let my fear define where that boundary exists. My experience with the disastrous pizza reminded me that I can work through a crisis and sometimes, just on the other side of my discomfort, I can find a delicious win.

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1 Comment


Deborah Castle
Deborah Castle
Apr 05

I LOVE THIS!! 30-second rule be damned. :-)



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