Author Topic: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?  (Read 4118 times)

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Online CDNpielover

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How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« on: January 26, 2013, 11:03:09 PM »
I was just thinking that this site pizzamaking.com has probably revolutionized home pizza making.  Using the information on this site, it's now possible to make restaurant-quality pizza at home.  Was it possible or common prior to the creation of this site?  It certainly wasnt when i was a kid.  i remember my mother buying boxed pizza dough mix and baking it in a big rectangle on a cookie sheet, and while it was fun to make, it never really tasted like real pizza that you would get from a restaurant.  when i started making my own pizzas as an adult, this site already existed and so everything i know is from here!  For those of you who were making pizzas before the internet, did you find that your pizzas really improved after this site came to be?  Just looking at old recipes and posts on this site, I can see that there seems to have been evolution and improvement in the quality of pizzas.  Quite amazing if you ask me!   :chef: :chef: :chef:


Offline Jackie Tran

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2013, 12:16:00 AM »
I would not be making the many styles of pizza nor the quality of pizza I make without this site.

Offline csafranek

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2013, 09:32:02 AM »
I think this site is AMAZING!!! The knowledge on here is unmatched! I personally want to thank everyone on helping me start my journey in WFO pizza making.

Offline mkevenson

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 10:57:24 AM »
I was just thinking that this site pizzamaking.com has probably revolutionized home pizza :chef: :chef: :chef:

CDN, I think that for those of us fortunate enough to have found this site, our home pizza making has improved dramatically.
That being said, I doubt if the vast majority of home pizza makers,eaters, have ever been here.
This .com like hundreds or thousands of specialty .coms, is of great value to but a select few.

More pizza pie for us!!!!!!!!

Mark
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Online Pete-zza

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 12:38:42 PM »
CDNpielover,

From what Steve, the owner and Administrator of this forum, has said, he started the forum because he couldn't find any place that was devoted to trying to make restaurant quality pizzas at home. In order to get the best information on how to do this, and be free of influence from commercial interests like advertisers, he decided to make the forum a free and open public resource and be not-for-profit. There would be no inundation with advertising. Steve also wanted the forum to be "G" rated so that his own children could come to the forum and learn from it without being subjected to rude conduct or objectionable content. That objective remains true to this day, although it is a challenge to fulfill this objective in a social media world where people can post pretty much what they want without accountability. Fortunately, our forum has not had the types of problems in this area that other forums have had, or so I am told.

As I recall it, when I joined the forum in 2004, there were only a few forums where pizza as a subject was covered. They were eGullet, the PMQ Think Tank and the Pizza Today bulletin board. eGullet had some content on making pizza at home but it was quite limited and nothing like what was being posted on this forum at the time. The PMQTT and the PT Bulletin Board were for professional pizza operators although some home pizza makers would register and become members there. I think that one major aspect that differentiated pizzamaking.com from everyone else was the fact that photos could be easily inserted in posts, and be assured that they would remain there forever and not disappear because a link to a photo became inoperative.

We also live in a visual world where people will be reluctant to try something, especially something like a pizza, without seeing photos. It was possible to do something similar at the PMQTT but few members made use of that capability. I do not think that the PT Bulletin Board had that functionality. So, photos in posts was and is a big differentiator.

If we fast forward to the present time, the PMQTT has become a shadow of its former self even though it just this past week went through a facelift (http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13917&sid=b03d59f057a5474632f070884e72d057). Posting volume at that forum has seen a dramatic decline over the past year or two. I'm not sure why that has happened. Maybe the economy has been a factor and maybe professionals have to spend so much time trying to be successful with their businesses that they are left with too little time to post on matters of interest to them. The PT Bulletin Board no longer exists. I mention these cases since our forum has seen a dramatic increase in the number of members who are pizza professionals. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not because professionals do not last long on the forum. They usually are not interested in home pizza making and they almost always leave when they have gotten what they were looking for. It may be partly by default that such people ended up coming to our forum in the first place.

Another area where I have seen the effects of the forum on its members is the sizable number of members who have gone on to be professionals. In many such cases, they learned most of what they know about making pizzas from the content on the forum. Some of those members are still on the forum but the day-to-day details of running a business keeps them from being as active as they once were. But it is unmistakable that this forum was a major contributor to what they went on to achieve.

Another area where I think this forum has differentitated itself is in the area of tools, especially the dough calculating tools. Those tools have allowed members to do things that were virtually impossible for them to do before, at least with ease. Those tools have also been responsible for a big increase in digital scales. If those tools disappeared, I would disappear also :-D.

In my view, the keys to success of this forum is having enough members who are generous and selfless in what they do (they are usually the ones who are also "power posters"), high quality content, and good moderating. As a Moderator who has spent considerable time in each camp, I would rate them equally. Yet, the structure is fragile. Otherwise, the other pizza related forums would be thriving, not in remission or defunct. Over the years, we have lost some very good and productive members. The reality is is that any given time, there is only a relatively small number of members who are the power posters who keep the ship afloat and help develop the quantity and quality of subject matter content that in my opinion is necessary for survival. They are an important reason for the success of this forum.

Peter




Offline Tscarborough

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 12:46:18 PM »
I know that I made pizza dough basically the same way for 30 years, and it was always a same day dough.  I don't do that anymore.

As for home pizza making in general, I think anyone that comes here and utilizes the forum will make better pizza than what they made before, regardless of how good it was.  In the larger scheme of things, I am not sure that there is enough penetration to say that PM.com has had a national or international impact on pizza making at home, but rather as Pete alludes to above, the impact of members who have gone pro DOES have influence on the national pizza scene.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 12:47:54 PM by Tscarborough »

Online CDNpielover

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 12:48:46 PM »
CDNpielover,

From what Steve, the owner and Administrator of this forum, has said, he started the forum because he couldn't find any place that was devoted to trying to make restaurant quality pizzas at home. In order to get the best information on how to do this, and be free of influence from commercial interests like advertisers, he decided to make the forum a free and open public resource and be not-for-profit. There would be no inundation with advertising. Steve also wanted the forum to be "G" rated so that his own children could come to the forum and learn from it without being subjected to rude conduct or objectionable content. That objective remains true to this day, although it is a challenge to fulfill this objective in a social media world where people can post pretty much what they want without accountability. Fortunately, our forum has not had the types of problems in this area that other forums have had, or so I am told.

As I recall it, when I joined the forum in 2004, there were only a few forums where pizza as a subject was covered. They were eGullet, the PMQ Think Tank and the Pizza Today bulletin board. eGullet had some content on making pizza at home but it was quite limited and nothing like what was being posted on this forum at the time. The PMQTT and the PT Bulletin Board were for professional pizza operators although some home pizza makers would register and become members there. I think that one major aspect that differentiated pizzamaking.com from everyone else was the fact that photos could be easily inserted in posts, and be assured that they would remain there forever and not disappear because a link to a photo became inoperative.

We also live in a visual world where people will be reluctant to try something, especially something like a pizza, without seeing photos. It was possible to do something similar at the PMQTT but few members made use of that capability. I do not think that the PT Bulletin Board had that functionality. So, photos in posts was and is a big differentiator.

If we fast forward to the present time, the PMQTT has become a shadow of its former self even though it just this past week went through a facelift (http://thinktank.pmq.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13917&sid=b03d59f057a5474632f070884e72d057). Posting volume at that forum has seen a dramatic decline over the past year or two. I'm not sure why that has happened. Maybe the economy has been a factor and maybe professionals have to spend so much time trying to be successful with their businesses that they are left with too little time to post on matters of interest to them. The PT Bulletin Board no longer exists. I mention these cases since our forum has seen a dramatic increase in the number of members who are pizza professionals. I am not sure if this is a good thing or not because professionals do not last long on the forum. They usually are not interested in home pizza making and they almost always leave when they have gotten what they were looking for. It may be partly by default that such people ended up coming to our forum in the first place.

Another area where I have seen the effects of the forum on its members is the sizable number of members who have gone on to be professionals. In many such cases, they learned most of what they know about making pizzas from the content on the forum. Some of those members are still on the forum but the day-to-day details of running a business keeps them from being as active as they once were. But it is unmistakable that this forum was a major contributor to what they went on to achieve.

Another area where I think this forum has differentitated itself is in the area of tools, especially the dough calculating tools. Those tools have allowed members to do things that were virtually impossible for them to do before, at least with ease. Those tools have also been responsible for a big increase in digital scales. If those tools disappeared, I would disappear also :-D.

In my view, the keys to success of this forum is having enough members who are generous and selfless in what they do (they are usually the ones who are also "power posters"), high quality content, and good moderating. As a Moderator who has spent considerable time in each camp, I would rate them equally. Yet, the structure is fragile. Otherwise, the other pizza related forums would be thriving, not in remission or defunct. Over the years, we have lost some very good and productive members. The reality is is that any given time, there is only a relatively small number of members who are the power posters who keep the ship afloat and help develop the quantity and quality of subject matter content that in my opinion is necessary for survival. They are an important reason for the success of this forum.

Peter






Peter, thanks for that thoughtful response.  Some great info and perspective in there and I really enjoyed it!   :chef:

Online CDNpielover

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2013, 12:58:52 PM »
I know that I made pizza dough basically the same way for 30 years, and it was always a same day dough.  I don't do that anymore.

As for home pizza making in general, I think anyone that comes here and utilizes the forum will make better pizza than what they made before, regardless of how good it was.  In the larger scheme of things, I am not sure that there is enough penetration to say that PM.com has had a national or international impact on pizza making at home, but rather as Pete alludes to above, the impact of members who have gone pro DOES have influence on the national pizza scene.



Very interesting!  I was looking forward to hearing some feedback on how people made pizza before the site. 

I remember that in 2001, I bought a cheap pizza cookbook called Mr. Foods Pizza 1-2-3 (http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Foods-Pizza-1-2-3-Ginsburg/dp/0688144179/?tag=pizzamaking-20) l and until this site, that was the only pizza resource I really had.  I'm not sure I was making my own dough until reading this site though, mostly because I was a student at the time and my kitchen had literally only 2 sq ft of counter space and carpet on the floor (not baker friendly haha).

Offline kdefay

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 09:33:57 PM »
I owe a big "thank you" to everyone out here who helped me along.   Three years ago I had never made a pizza in my life.  I started practicing at home and after about a year, my wife and I decided to open our shop.  It was ambitious (and a bit foolish) and we weren't as good as we thought we were at the time, but we adapted to the commercial aspects of pizza quickly and a year and a half later, we are still in business producing what we feel is some of the best pizza in the Kingdom of Thailand.  Almost weekly we have customers who come in to pick up pizza to take back to Bangkok (which is 600km away) because there is no good pizza there.  

The community here is so generous with its time and knowledge.   I would not be in business today if it wasn't for you guys here.  I know I'm not as active as I have been in the past.  Pete is right that many of us who have gone into business don't have as much time to contribute as we did in the past, but I feel that having professionals here is always a benefit to the community.  I still make time for lurking because I need to keep looking at the pizza porn that comes out of Craig's garage.  My wife says I have a problem, but I don't care...

Kirk
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 12:39:05 AM by kdefay »

Offline mkevenson

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 12:36:15 AM »
Kirk, congrats to you and the wife for Your accomplishments. Thanks for sharing with us.
Hoping you have at least 20 more years of success.

Mark
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Online Chicago Bob

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2013, 06:37:48 PM »
 Using the information on this site, it's now possible to make restaurant-quality pizza at home.  Was it possible or common prior to the creation of this site? It certainly wasnt when i was a kid.  i remember my mother buying boxed pizza dough mix and baking it in a big rectangle on a cookie sheet, and while it was fun to make, it never really tasted like real pizza that you would get from a restaurant.
I had a leg up because at the age of 13(back in early 70's) I worked in pizzerias.
The internet has allowed the type of good home pizza making that you are talking about (imo) CDN...and thank goodness PM.com came along. It has helped to dispell myth's and intrepidation...back in the day if I told a neighbor that they too could make good pizza at home they would say "Yeah, OK , sure Bobby".  ::) Now a day's, all one needs to do is turn them onto our great forum.
But I am still always amazed at how many shop owners I meet whom have never even heard of us......(owners making sub-par pizzas :()
Bob
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 06:40:53 PM by Chicago Bob »
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Offline tbear

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2013, 01:15:52 PM »
Three years ago I had never made a pizza in my life.  I started practicing at home and after about a year, my wife and I decided to open our shop.  It was ambitious (and a bit foolish) and we weren't as good as we thought we were at the time, but we adapted to the commercial aspects of pizza quickly and a year and a half later, we are still in business producing what we feel is some of the best pizza in the Kingdom of Thailand.  Almost weekly we have customers who come in to pick up pizza to take back to Bangkok (which is 600km away) because there is no good pizza there. 

Kirk

My only experience making pizza at home was Boboli, Prego sauce, and Sargento cheese and one other time at a party a friend had a wood fired pizza oven and real dough. I live in Bangkok and see a niche opportunity selling pizza street food. I'm headed to Italy on a pizza pilgrimage to learn as much as I can. I've got a hook up there doing an apprenticeship in a Roman pizzeria. I've got the passion and now I feel I have the extra resources here to help me succeed. Kirk, Perhaps you will have fewer customers from Bangkok if I do succeed ;)

Offline tinroofrusted

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2013, 04:03:08 PM »
I actually got interested in making pizza back in the early 1990s, which was back in the days of Compuserve and AOL dial-up. I think I bought a book or something but I started making what I would probably today think of as mediocre pizza.  I did have one good thing going for me which was a gas oven with a faulty thermostat, which would easily go over 600F, so that was nice.  (I don't think I truly appreciated how great that oven was at the time, or I would have repaired it when it broke instead of buying a new one.) But back then I didn't really know that much about different flours and different styles of pizza.  I was more or less on my own about making pizza.  With the advent of the Internet there were many more resources available. I signed up here in 2006 and that has made a huge difference in my level of knowledge.  There is so much information available on this site that it is mind boggling.  I think most of us have never even scratched the surface of what is here. 

The wonderful thing about pizzamaking.com is the group of people that gathers around this site. It is very gratifying to find a group that shares a passion for something and is interested to share their knowledge and experience.  We have a really wonderful resource here. What Peter said about it being fragile is true, so we have to take good care of it.  BTW, Peter, I am always so impressed with your wise words and great knowledge about so many things. Thanks for your long-standing contributions to the forum.

Regards,

TinRoof

Online Pete-zza

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2013, 04:09:41 PM »
The wonderful thing about pizzamaking.com is the group of people that gathers around this site. It is very gratifying to find a group that shares a passion for something and is interested to share their knowledge and experience.  We have a really wonderful resource here. What Peter said about it being fragile is true, so we have to take good care of it.  BTW, Peter, I am always so impressed with your wise words and great knowledge about so many things. Thanks for your long-standing contributions to the forum.
TinRoof,

Thank you for the kind words. They are much appreciated.

Peter

Offline TomN

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2013, 07:23:43 PM »
Whether it is a question about dough, sauce, cheese, toppings, cooking, etc... this site has help so many people. Therefore, if you visit the site on a regular basis, you should become a Supporting Member. You can join for the cost of a pizza and it helps support pizzamaking.com.

TomN
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 07:32:52 PM by TomN »

Offline Jackitup

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2013, 12:40:05 AM »
The difference of being a fairly good swimmer to being able to FLY!!!!!

jon
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Online dylandylan

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2013, 03:58:34 AM »
@TomN thanks for the prompt about becoming a supporting member.  I've just gone and done that as I reflected on how far my own pizza making has come in the 18 months I've been participating in the forum.

The amount of information and help available here really is incredible - I can't say whether it has "revolutionized home pizza making" - but for those of us who participate and take advantage of the forum, I think it is an unmatchable resource and has revolutionized my home pizza making.   It's entirely as a result of this forum and its members (past and present) that I've progressed in my personal pizza making. 

Not that I consider my progress to be anything spectacular (and in fact I expect my progress is likely to be typical of many others who take the information and advice on this forum and put it into practice), but here's my journey of progress to date:

(hah I realize Nov 4 hasn't happened... photoshop typo!)


Online waltertore

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2013, 12:44:41 PM »
I am thankful for this site as well.  It is the only outlet I have to discuss pizza in depth.  90%+ of the pizzas I see made here are better looking than what you get in a pizzeria. I just wish I could taste them.  My mother, who came from Italy, always told me- "Walter why would we go out to eat?  We make better food here at home than any restaurant."   I strive for the homemade quality and find it a lonely place when discussing food with fellow professional food vendors.   Most are about profit and rationalize the cutting corners on quality.  I originally found the PQM forum as a lurker and was not at all inspired to get involved with it because of this mindset.  I want to keep things top shelf and this forum is a great place for people looking to making great pizza the top priority!  Walter

Offline texmex

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2013, 01:34:39 PM »
Back in the early 80's we did so many oven experiments trying to make a decent crust.  We'd place that damn pizza on top shelf, in the middle, on the bottom, in the broiler, on a pizza pan, then slid off the pan to cook more.  You name and we made bad pizza over and over  and over again.
Little did we know it had to do with how we mixed the dough and a pizza stone might have solved many problems.  Those pizzas were edible but not great. 

This site showed me the baking science necessary to get the right dough for oven temp.   It  was Villa Roma's thread for the LBE that really got my attention, and to read that thread, make the contraption in the mini size (based on great info and trials fully documented) , replicate a dough (28 balls for a party) and be successful right off the bat-and I don't mean just passable results--excellent results!  That was an amazing feat I would have never accomplished on my own or with help from any of my friends or family.   This site made it all happen, and right away.  By being an avid reader, studying what I wanted to accomplish, and implementing it to great success-I'm a hero to my family and friends. LOL . 

I am still shocked and awed by the generous contributions here.  Thank you! And as far as off-topic threads go (an added bonus). I love the passion for food and experimentation found here.
Reesa

Offline Aimless Ryan

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Re: How has pizzamaking.com changed home pizza making?
« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2013, 04:07:59 PM »
I originally found the PQM forum as a lurker and was not at all inspired to get involved with it because of this mindset.  I want to keep things top shelf and this forum is a great place for people looking to making great pizza the top priority!  Walter

I used to participate regularly on PMQ's Think Tank about ten years ago (before they converted it to a real message board format). I appreciate the Think Tank's mission, but I think it fails to deliver on its intended objective. In fairness to Steve Green and PMQ, I think this is mostly because the independent pizzeria business is a magnet for not-bright people who think they're gonna get rich by spending their small(ish) inheritance on a pizza shop that couldn't be given away to any reasonable person who understands that the pizzeria is only worth buying if it's already profitable (in most cases). (Yes, even if the pizzeria has $50,000 worth of equipment.) And even then, you still have to understand the balance of supply and demand if you can ever expect to make money. And you also have to work. In most cases, success in the pizza business has very little to do with pizza. Proof: Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's, et al.

Like the Think Tank, there is certainly some misguided rhetoric on these boards, and some of it comes straight from me, but there is infinitely more wisdom about the forum's intended topic here at pizzamaking.com than at the Think Tank. No one here is trying to figure out how to sell bad, overpriced pizza to chumps, in an effort to make money without necessarily earning it. Rather, the best pizzamakers on the planet participate on these boards every day. Very few of the world's most well-known and most well-respected pizza vendors are able to produce the quality of pizza many of pizzamaking.com's members produce using inferior equipment and inferior ingredients.

Most of the "experts' can't make any kind of pizza except for the pizza they sell, and most of them probably don't even know why their pizza is what it is. They're just mimicking what someone once taught them to do. That's not knowledge. Most celebrity "experts" can't even do that. Most of the celebrity chefs and bakers whose recipes are passed around on these boards possess a fraction of the pizzamaking knowledge of the people passing around their generic recipes, which the celebrities stole straight from bad sources on the internet. Even most great bakers possess limited pizzamaking skills, because pizzamaking and baking are not the same thing.

I withhold none of my pizzamaking secrets nor my lightbulb moments, and I know countless other members of this community operate the same way. If I steal someone else's idea, I try to give them credit. (I'm sure I forget sometimes.) I hope someday someone will give me an opportunity to make a living off of whatever pizzamaking, pizza-marketing, pizzeria operations, and customer service skills I may possess, but right now I'm just happy to have an outlet to share and learn and discuss everything there is to know about pizza. I thought I knew a lot about pizza when I joined the forum, but I guess I must not have, because I feel like I know infinitely more about pizza now than I did when I joined the boards in late 2010. I've picked up a lot of knowledge indirectly, rather than by following people's directions and instructions, and I know very little of it ever would have happened if not for all the information and pictures shared on these boards, without people like Peter, Scott, Bob, John (fazzari), Dan, Norma, Craig, Chau, Nate, Walter, Gene, Garvey, Ed (vcb), Tim, and so many other members who have posted and/or interacted with me directly.

I don't care to visit most of the famous pizzerias that everyone talks about (even on these boards). I'd rather try pizza made by the people whose names I just listed, as well as pizza made by just about everyone else whose passion keeps them around here. Especially the people who show up with almost no pizzamaking knowledge but who stick around and work hard to learn things that most people are too lazy to learn about pizza; things that can only be truly learned through experience and repeated failure.