tufts universitytufts magazine issue homepage
contact us back issues related links
Discover Act Create Connect Departments President’s Page The Editorial We Letters Take It from Me
Illustration: Keith Negley


Classic Pizza from Your Home Oven

Get the dough right. Find a recipe that employs “00” fine-ground Italian-style flour. Measure precisely and allow plenty of time (often a day or more) for the dough to rise. Then stretch the dough with your hands if you have the skill. Using a roller breaks down the tiny bubbles that give the finished pie a light texture.

Invest in a good cooking surface. Until recently, a pizza stone was the best way to achieve a classic thin crust at home. Today there are better choices, including shelf-size surfaces made of vented aluminum or quarter-inch-thick steel.

Turn up the heat. In Naples, pizza cooks at 900 degrees Fahrenheit. So turn your oven all the way up. And preheat your stone or steel for thirty to sixty minutes.

Top wisely. Resist overloading your pie with sauce, cheese, or toppings, and understand that most vegetables contribute unwelcome weight and water. While onions or mushrooms can work well, cured meats are classic for good reason. And if you like Italian sausage, follow what the best pizzaioli do—apply it raw in uneven chunks and let it cook on your pie.

Time for the Premarital Talk?

Get out your datebook. Set aside clear-cut chunks of time to discuss the big issues, like religion, finances, and family. Have multiple conversations. Premarital counseling can help to carve out time, and you’ll get to have a discussion facilitated by a professional.

Don’t be too specific. Try not to focus on particular “what ifs” and how you would address myriad possible challenges. We can’t predict the future, and it’s unrealistic to try to conquer specific scenarios before they even happen. Rather, think broadly about your values. Open-ended questions can help to form guidelines that you can apply to a range of situations.

Don’t worry about wrapping it all up. Things may not be resolved before the wedding. Keep in mind that you will continue to have these conversations after marriage, and that they may change as your relationship evolves.

A longer version of this article appeared as part of Dr. Brofman’s “Ask a Psychologist” column on APracticalWedding.com.

PowerPoint Prowess

Don’t read your slides. PowerPoint is not a teleprompter. Consider putting most of what you want to say into the Slide Notes, which you can see but your audience cannot.

Don’t distribute slides as handouts. Handouts should include significant information that’s not on the slides.

Build on the success of others. Watch TED talks or Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth to see effective use of PowerPoint slides. If you present often, exchange ideas at conferences like betterpresenting.com’s annual summit.

Keep it simple. Use pictures, diagrams, and animation to build emotion and convey thoughts visually, but avoid gratuitous special effects. Make your slides straightforward and clear.

Prepare well. Don’t wait till the last minute to rehearse your presentation. Also, know the slide number that begins your closing sequence. If time grows short, you can just advance to it by entering the number on the keyboard and hitting return, instead of rushing to get through everything.

Think outside the presentation. A Save As (Type) option in PowerPoint’s drop-down menu lets you save slides as web-friendly JPEG or PNG files. Use them to promote your presentation on social media. You can also film your presentation with TechSmith’s Camtasia or (in newer versions) the Create Video feature and share it later on platforms like YouTube, SlideShare, or Speaker Deck.

How To Be a Good Bandmate

Practice. Know the material. Build your chops. Make yourself irreplaceable.

Know your role. Are you a support musician or a bandleader? Do you have a say in the creation and selection of the material?

Communicate. All band members are essential—include everyone in discussions and practices. After a performance, talk about what worked and what didn’t. If anything is bothering you, speak up. Plan in advance when booking gigs, rehearsals, recording sessions.

Contribute and be respectful. Managing a band is more work than you can imagine—too much for one person. Be helpful always, whether that means carrying equipment, promoting the band, or hosting rehearsals. Be on time. Show respect to everyone: bandmates, other bands, club owners. Professionalism, across the board, will stand out and ensure the group’s success.

Don’t just play—perform. Discuss your band’s look. Do you want to be casual? Dressy? Do you want matching outfits? Be aware of stage presence. This can be as simple as smiling, making eye contact, and thanking the audience for coming. Or you could go further, adding choreography or theatrics.

Have fun. You chose music because you love it. Don’t lose sight of that, and be glad you have bandmates to share it with.

The full article appears on the Sonicbids blog.

WE NEED YOUR ADVICE. What are you an expert on? Share your life-enhancing tips with “Take It from Me” (tuftsmagazine@tufts.edu or Tufts Magazine, 80 George Street, Medford, MA 02155). If we publish your submission, you will receive $50.

  © 2015 Tufts University Tufts Publications, 80 George St., Medford, MA 02155