THIS is pizza. A dough crust, tomato sauce and lots and lots of melty mozzarella. Piping hot from the oven. So hot the cheese burns the roof of your mouth when you take the first bite. It doesn’t need anything else. No meat, no veggies, no filling in the crust. It doesn’t come in 30 minutes and isn’t on a 5 food buffet bar.
The best pizza is the one you see them take out of the pizza oven with the big pizza paddle. They open the narrow oven door, use the long handle to skillfully slide the paddle under the pizza and extricate it with the greatest of ease. The steam rises from the golden disk as they deftly use the wheeled cutter to cut it into 6 or 8 perfect slices. The box closes and traps the steamy goodness inside. You hurry home, trying to keep the box level so the cheese doesn’t slide around or stick to the top of the box. (If it’s going to stick to something, it should be your mouth!)
I’ve lived in a few states and have travelled on business to a few as well, and I’ve had other pizzas, even that which is called, “Chicago Style”. Nothing more than “Sicilian” pizza. Good, but not a regulation pizza.
As children, the only time we’d have pizza pie, as it was called, was on a Friday night. It was a special event, as we also got to drink soda. In those days, soda was a ‘special occasion’ beverage. With the exception of pizza the only other time (besides maybe Christmas) that we’d have soda was with spaghetti. It must be the tomato sauce connection. Whatever it was, it made both dishes extra special.
As a teen, pizza wasn’t one of my favorite foods. Since then, however, I’ve come to enjoy just the idea of having pizza. Often. A whole pizza lasts me several days. I love it when I have leftover pizza in the fridge and I’ve almost forgotten about it. When I come home from work and start rummaging for ‘something to eat’ (yeah, like that’s hard to do?) And suddenly THERE IT IS… My toaster oven is the perfect vehicle for forgotten pizza.
I still think of pizza as a Friday food. I guess I’ll have to make that happen today!