Everybody likes pizza – well at least I think they do, but I suppose that somewhere out there are individuals or groups who don’t. I can’t imagine the latter, but stuff occurs so who knows. I grew up in a secluded, out-of-touch part of Western Pennsylvania and I didn’t even know until I was a freshman in college that there was such a great food as pizza. When I did start it was not just pizza, but pizza pie. In fact, in some places it was called tomato pie. It can be noted that even in the late 80’s there was a bar in Asbury Park, N.J. that had a sign advertising “Tomato Pie.”
As indicated above, I had my first piece of pizza in college. Since I had led a sheltered life, I did not like my first slice, but after the second I did! (The second slice was about a week later.) Since then I do enjoy a good piece whenever the diet will allow; however it is better if you can find a place where the pizza is really good which is sometimes hard. For example, a few years after college and I was a married man , we moved to a community in Lancaster County, PA. Pizza was apparently not high on the menu for the Amish and Mennonites who had been settled there. Thus, our community had no pizza place at all. We had to be satisfied with Charley’s Chips and Mrs. Miller’s fruit pies. Both of them were great, but they were not pizza.
Then one day out of the blue a pizza place did open. They did not sell an entire pie as much as they did individual slices. They were huge slices which cost a whole ten cents. Of course, that was just a cheese slice and if you wanted a topping it was something like 12 cents. The sauce was pretty bland, but it was pizza. The store thrived and for all I know, it may still be there. No doubt the cost now is more than 10 cents. That is fine as long as they have improved the sauce. A superb sauce is an important part of a truly great pizza.
We eventually moved from Lancaster County to Bucks County, Pa. The communities there had a slew of great pizza shops. One of them oddly was run by Greeks, but they made one mean pizza. However, my all-time favorite was also in this locale and was run by a genuine Italian. His crust was magnificent, but the real ingredient was his sauce. When you ate his pies, you knew that you were getting more than just spicy pepperoni or sausage. It was his sauce and you would be quietly enjoying it, when you would abruptly notice that sweat was coming off your forehead. It was most delightful.
Here in The Villages, there seems to be more interest in the crust than the sauce. I would say that is because no one seems to have a great sauce around here (my opinion). Some folks like thin crust while others like me like a nice thick crust. Personally, I find that I have trouble distinguishing some of the thin crusts from the cardboard box they come in. We have been advised that there is a new pizza place in town that has great pizza although I do not know if the crust is thick or thin, but it does not matter as we can’t get in anyway as it always too busy. My limit for waiting to get in a restaurant is twenty minutes, although I do admit that sometimes I am overruled by the Blonde in the house especially if we are in a group and there are other ladies involved.
Most likely my worst pizza was in Wales. For some reason, I determined that I would see what a British pizza would taste like. It so happened that the server in the restaurant was from Turkey. I indicated that I wanted a pizza with pepperoni on it. What I received was a pizza loaded with green peppers.
The sauce was lousy , too!
Barry Evans writes about Life in The Villages for Villages-News.com