Monday, August 17, 2009
This is a post about PIZZA. REAL Pizza. That means I am not recognizing the phonies. You know who you are: Pizza Hut, Dominoes, Papa Johns or Little Ceasars. I want the good stuff. The authentic family "hide your recipe in the safe deposit" box pizza.
I grew up at the Jersey Shore where I always had access to "good" pizza. Mack and Manco's on the Ocean City boardwalk was "good". It was a small family business, with a secret family recipe. When I go to visit Dad, I know that Primo's is another local business that is consistently delicious. I lived in New York City during the late 70's. I knew I could always find a slice and a soda for an inexpensive lunch (like $1.60).
In Philly, my Italian painting teacher, Philomena Dellarippa (sp?), complained that pizza was garbage food. Her family back in Italy would never lower themselves to eat that garbage. (I guess it depends on your family). She might have been aristocracy. I don't know. I've never been to Italy. I desperately WANT to go but not for pizza.
She did not sway me. I continued to consume the contemptible crap. I took it for granted that "good" pizza was always available.
That is until I moved to Cleveland, Ohio. I actually loved Clevelan. I lived there for a couple of years and realized that they just didn't know how to make pizza. I mean, I thought, how hard can it be to make a crust, cover it with tomato sauce and cheese and throw it in the oven? I didn't realize it was an art form. In 1980, a local shop "introduced" New York "style" pizza. They made a honest effort.
I ate pizza in Cleveland and it just didn't taste "the same".
In 1984 I moved to York county, PA (via Philadelphia). Once again. We couldn't find "good" pizza. I mean it was okay. It just wasn't "good". I'm happy to report that things have gotten better in Dodge.
My brother told me that you couldn't get "good" pizza in California. I posted something about that and inadvertently insulted Katie. I felt horrible. I didn't mean to insult.
In all honesty, I never tried California pizza. Knowing just a little bit about Cali, especially the Berkeley-San Francisco area, is that they probably do everything they can to make it healthy and wholesome. I'm thinking whole-grained sourdough crust with sun-dried tomatoes, organically grown artichoke hearts and cheese from free range, happy, California cows.
Katie, please forgive me. I absolutely love California food! I'm just..."afraid"to try your pizza. Okay. It's a comfort food thing. You know. Those certain "homey" expectations. I am letting"healthy" fly out the window. I want cheese and grease.
Pictured above here is Wilkes-Barre, PA "Pizza Perfect" pizza. This is a Sicilian styled (thick crust) pizza. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (as in "The Office") is a very ethnic area.
You don't order a "pizza". You order a "cut" or "twelve".
My husband grew up here. In his neighborhood of Pittston, there were seven or eight Catholic Churches, each offering Mass in a different language. Two of these churches celebrated the Mass in Italian. Please also note that these wonderful Italian people were extremely competitive. Doug worked in a pizzeria and was not allowed to see the mixture of cheeses that were used. He was not privy to the ingredients of their secret crust.
I have always love the traditional round "Neopolitan" pizza with the thin crust. Until one day, my husband turned me on to Pizza Perfect. Sicilian is rectangular pizza on a thick crust, totally sinful, as they use lard in the crust. It is extremely and exquisitely crispy, a bit greasy yes, but absolutely orgasmic! The sauce is very light. We order ours with onion bits (very subtle) and whatever secret combination of cheese. We only get it now when we visit relatives. It is absolutely horrible for you - healthwise, but well worth the extra calories on occasion. There are other notable pizzerias in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area such as Old Forge Pizza, Sabatini's (Neopolitan style). Grotto was originated here. There are many others, far too numerous to mention. Locals pick their favorites and have been known to fight to the death if someone insults thier fave. So be very careful.
BTW Katie. We stopped for lunch in Livermore. We found there the best Greek restaurant ever!