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Great State: Cold Days, Hot Ovens in Edmond

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EDMOND, OKLAHOMA -- Working with ovens, that's the job of a pizza maker like Leonard Royston, and, also, glass blower Chris McGahan.

"It's pizzas today," says Royce while rolling out dough.

"I'm on the glass side most of the time," says Chris, as he pulls a blob of molten glass from an oven he calls the glory hole.

Chris's oven operates at more than 2-thousand degrees.

The pizza oven is set at 625 degrees.

They work in different mediums but both artists appreciate cold weather, the colder the better.

McGahan says, "It's kind of like happy cows making happy milk. Happy glass blowers make happy glass."

Two ovens, one business.

Chris opened Italian Jim's in the mid-90's using his father-in-law's family recipes.

The McGahan glass studio was in their back yard for a long time, but it only made sense to put two hot things together.

Now Jim's and the Bella Forte studio remain the only place in the country where you can order a piece of glass and eat a piece of pizza while you wait.

"The art of glass blowing, the art of food, both are Italian," Chris states.

If there is a hot recipe on the pizza side it would have to be something called the Super-Pep.

It takes the idea of extra pepperoni to the extreme.

Leonard doesn't even count exactly how many slices he puts on a medium pizza, but every bite creates its own warm feeling.

"It's around 3 to 400 slices," he says while making one.

"It's a pretty good pizza but it's a lot of pepperoni."

A few feet away, Chris is making glass Christmas trees on this cold morning.

"Orange trees for OSU fans," he explains.

His son Micah is soldering copper cat-tails for a larger installation.

They both opened the doors to let the heat escape.

To them, a cold blast before the holidays is a breath of fresh, fragrant air.

Italian Jim's and Bella Forte are at 13 S. Broadway in downtown Edmond.

Their website is http://www.Italianjims.net

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