Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Big dreams for the future of pizza

<lass="page section layoutArea column" title="Page 1">

The LDC, as anyone who frequents the dining hall has realized, has recently updated its pizza recipe. For some students, however, a mere “update” is not enough. Some students demand a full-scale pizza revolution.
And indeed, on the outskirts of campus (Farm House) a revolt against the pizza status quo is brewing.

On a lazy and rainy Sunday morning at Farm House, resident Walter Edstrom ’17, expresses big dreams when it comes to the future of pizza at Carleton. What’s more, he has a plan of action to make this dream a reality. A CSA-funded plan, no less.

A few weeks ago, Edstrom walked into Budget Committee and demanded $168 of CSA funds for an unprecedented project: Carleton’s first outdoor pizza oven. The $168 would go to materials needed to construct a pizza oven from scratch.

A pizza oven virtuoso of sorts (with the help of a pizza oven guidebook that he obtained via an inter-library loan), Edstrom easily describes the construction basics: “It’s a wooden frame filled with vermiculite to insulate it,” explains Edstrom, “and then fire brick on top of that as the oven floor.”

The $168 of CSA funds, however, only purchases some of the materials. Edstrom demystifies the issue, explaining that, “The oven that I’m making is an ‘earth oven’, so the actual materials of the oven’s body are dug up out of the ground.” The natural thermal properties of the earth materials can keep an oven at high temperatures for hours, and additionally save costs.

Edstrom lays out the details in layman terms: “The way that it’s constructed is you create this sandcastle dome-type thing into the shape of what the inside of the oven is going to look like, and then you pile up clay and sand-mixture around that. That’s like this thermal layer that holds in all this heat.”

Sounds impressive. But according to Edstrom, one layer will not suffice. “Then you pile up another layer of clay and sand mixed with sawdust that is an insulation layer around that.” Once the wall is about 6 inches thick and the clay has dried, Edstrom will simply scoop the sand out, leaving a hallow shell of delicious pizza-making potential. Edstrom says he was inspired when he recently visited Colorado College, and found students there making homemade pizzas in their own earth oven. Not to be outdone by our peers in the Rockies, Edstrom did not see any reason Carleton shouldn’t have its own earth pizza oven.

As Carleton’s Farm Intern this summer, Edstrom hopes to complete the project in his spare time, and finish it before the summer ends. The pizza oven will typically reside at Farm house, but the wooden frame beneath will make the oven portable.

The dream, according to Edstrom, is a pizza oven that the residents of Farm can roll over to Sayles on a Friday afternoon, and sell homemade pizzas topped with fresh ingredients from the farm. If all goes well, Edstrom’s dream might achieve reality by next fall. Until then, the students of Carleton wait in anticipation.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *