The Takeout's Pizzadad Wrote The Book On Pizza

John Carruthers has created a “church cookbook” of pizza recipes.

The Takeout staff has long admired contributor John Carruthers for his willingness to do just about anything to make food fun and exciting. Run a beer mile? Make homemade haggis? Electrocute hot dogs? He's on it! (Quite honestly, we often wish we were invited to some of these events, except for the beer mile.)

During the pandemic, Carruthers devoted himself to pizzamaking. He spent months developing a recipe for the perfect Chicago tavern-style pizza. He also created a Quad Cities-style Taco Pizza that the Davenport native I live with declared the best Taco Pizza he's had on this side of the Mississippi. But it's the tavern style that became a true dad-style obsession.

Carruthers eventually realized that his pizza obsession was driving him to make more pizzas than he and his family could possibly eat, even if they did switch to an all-pizza diet, and so he developed Crust Fund Pizza, a pop-up in which he makes a limited number of pizzas every week, posts on Instagram requesting a donation to a specific nonprofit, and then gives a pizza to the first dozen or so people who respond. (He can't technically sell the pizzas for legal reasons.) Those lucky enough to snag a pizza—they're all usually claimed within minutes—get to pick it up in the alley outside Carruthers' house in Chicago. Carruthers sometimes teams up with collaborators: one week, he served a Korean-inspired pie developed by Takeout staff writer and resident pizza expert Dennis Lee.

Since Carruthers couldn't make pizza for everyone who wanted it, he decided to assemble a cookbook entirely of pizza recipes. It would be comb-bound in the style of a classic church cookbook, and it would contain recipes, essays, and art contributed by a congregation of pizza-loving Chicagoans, including Lee and former Takeout managing editor Kate Bernot.

Now the cookbook, called Pizza For Everyone, has arrived.

The book costs $35, which may seem hefty for a community cookbook, but here's the twist: all the money will be donated to one of 10 local nonprofits, listed on the order form on Carruthers' website. You make the donation, send the receipt to Carruthers, and then a copy of Pizza For Everyone will be waiting for you at one of seven pickup points around Chicago.

At the moment, there are no plans to ship copies to pizza lovers outside the Chicago area. But who knows what the future may bring?

If you are in Chicago, take an opportunity to contribute to a great cause and enjoy some great pizza at home.