Finding simple: my cheeseless inspiration

Vertical headshot of actress and friend, Tanny, in a mint v-neck shirt against a tree

Headshot of young actress smiling mischievously from the side against a red backdrop in a green lace sweater

While film was what brought Tanny and I together years ago, pizza is one of the many delights that keeps us together. I can always count on Tanny to enjoy my homemade pizza. In fact it was her cheeseless pie request that led to some of the best pizza I’ve made across 15+ years. You see, while pizza lovers may bicker over the subject of toppings, most of them envision it to be a warm union of crust, sauce and cheese. Having been one of those people, I had my reservations about “reducing” the holy trinity to a plain duo. But in the end, focusing my efforts on just these two elements yielded far better crusts and sauces, both independently and in combination with each other, than any of their predecessors. Cheese I realized, with its weightiness and viscosity, would have diminished the overall product by masking the complex tastes underneath.

A long-time friend and mentor, Tanny has brought me “back to basics” in more areas than the kitchen. A seeming contradiction, she brings depth to life and living by peeling back those internal layers of perceived necessity and fortifying the simple values that lie underneath. In the end, as I have come to learn from her, a genuine person does not need the cheese.


Libraries offer more than good reads

Vertical black and white portrait of my friend Anil in the courtyard of Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan

Books brought Anil and I together. He had one of those highly coveted library jobs during college and I was a paranoid geek who wanted to befriend the desk staff to avoid pending late fees. Years later, despite different cities and time zones, we still find time to catch up on good eats, good reads (naturally), good movies and the like. I was lucky enough to make a short visit to his new home in the great state of New York this past February.

I admire Anil’s quiet endurance through life’s challenges. It makes his sense of humor that much more unexpected. He has a great smile when he laughs, as he did in this photo taken in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.