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Pizza, The Bear, and True Love

I’ve been writing this summer (yay!). I’m working on Caught a Vibe which is Adam and Bex’s story in the Soaring Bird series. Bex works at a pizza place and Adam eats pizza. It’s obviously true love, right?


Plus, who doesn’t want to read a book involving a pizza place?

Don’t answer that.


A lot (and I mean a lot) of the pizza restaurant shenanigans in the book are repurposed real life events from my previous life of restaurant manager. The original title of the book was "There’s No Crying in Pizza."


Those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning already know this. But the rest of you probably had no idea. I worked in a franchised store of a well-known pizza brand for almost 20 years. I started when I was sixteen, became store manager at 22, went to part time after having a baby at 28, and eventually had to leave the kitchen permanently due to my gluten issues (celiac, yay).


I met my husband while working there. We served pizza at our wedding. He’s now part owner of the same brand but a different franchise.


I have always loved pizza and I probably always will. Which is one of the reasons I want to include some of my favorite moments in this book.


I can’t tell you how many books or shows or movies that I’m trying to enjoy and I’m sitting there the entire time going, “That’s a Health Code violation; that’s illegal; you can’t just leave in the middle of your shift on a busy night; no one gets off at the exact time they’re scheduled, especially not a manager.”


Except for The Bear. The Bear gets it so accurate it’s fucking scary. I have never felt so “seen” by a television show before. Season 1 was incredible. Season 2 stressed me out so bad I had nightmares for a week. I am afraid to watch Season 3.


I mean, I’m still going to watch it. Obviously. I’m just afraid.


Because that show nails it. That’s how I remember most of my time at the pizza place.


I started working there when I was sixteen. My dad had just purchased a small franchise and it was in dire need of some love and care. The restaurant had been neglected for a while by the time we got to it. The reputation in town was no good and even getting people to work there was a trick.


The whole family worked there to make it run. Me and my siblings, and both of my parents. It became our entire lives. It was stressful and fun and incredibly intense. But we did it. We worked our asses off to improve the quality of the product and build back a customer base. And it worked. After a few years we were doing well.


But the pressure never lets off in the restaurant world. I think that’s why a certain personality type is drawn to that life. It’s chaotic and messy and intense and some people absolutely thrive in that environment.


Something is always broken (or currently breaking), someone is not showing up for a shift, the numbers are either higher than expected or disastrously low. Oh, and cooperate just arrived for an inspection.


And since it was our family’s business, the stakes were incredibly high.


Which brings us back to The Bear and what I’m writing right now.


On one hand, reliving some of the more “traumatic” events from that time have been stressful to write down. But on the other hand, it’s also very cathartic. Getting it out and onto paper in a controlled environment is healing pieces of me I didn’t realize were still charred by a 500° pizza oven.


And it’s bringing up some things I’d forgotten. Good things. Hilarious moments that I hope to never forget again. Like the time we were under a tornado warning (tornado on the ground, sirens blaring) and a man wanted to order a large supreme pizza to be delivered. I could hear the sirens from his side of the phone and he was like, “no, that’s something else. It’s just a little wind.”


As stressful as those years were, they brought me so much good. It’s where I met Cap. It’s where I learned how to trust my instincts. It’s given me inspiration for a story that I’m loving the shit out of right now.


I hope you read it. I hope that if you’ve ever worked in a kitchen before you find it funny and relatable.


And I hope you feel seen.

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