When the Moon hits your eye like a BIG…
Yes, you know what comes next… if you don’t, consider yourself lucky, the rest of us now have that song playing in (or with) our minds. That’s… not amore, that’s a pizza!
Pizza. What does the word mean to you?
Is your mouth watering at the thought of a thin, juicy crust slathered in sauce, fresh out of too hot to trot oven, still steaming, too on fire to eat yet impossible not to take a bite which will burn the roof of your mouth, make your tongue numb… but, oh, what a succulent numbness is this!
The scent of spices and herbs dancing a tarantella in the air around you, inviting you to join in… doesn’t matter if you can’t dance or don’t know the steps. The sounds of sizzling, the voice of an Italian baritone, luring you to let your hair down and jump into a fountain in your finest finery, make a fool of yourself to embrace the Dolce Vita… which is oh so fleeting.
Fun Fact (or name-dropping pretentiousness): I once met Anita Ekberg. I once ate pasta (what, not pizza!?) a few feet away from Federico Fellini. The two instances were not related although they might fall under the six degrees of separation clause… except the degrees were less than six.
I was not a jetsetter, nor did I run in famous people circles, or anything as remotely seemingly glamorous as that may conjure up. I simply lived in Italy, in Rome… or close enough to Rome for it to be considered Rome. I didn’t really live there, at least only a part of me did part-time, the rest of me didn’t live anywhere either – there were a lot of hats hanging here and there around the globe none of which fit but were worn anyway to keep my hair on my head like a cobweb keeping my skull in place so my brain would not escape. The strands of a cobweb are a very strong binding agent.
Being exposed to Italian things when I was too young to realise that such things had a nationality attached to them, meant that I was inducted into the secret pizza society at an age which could be labeled as early, but since I was also a drinker of wine at a similar age, not willingly but acceptingly -never say ‘No’ to an Italian, they don’t know what the word means in the way that you mean it since their version of such a word often comes at the end of a statement of opinion with a question mark after it which isn’t really asking a question at all it’s just softening an opinion to make it seem as though it is not solid when it is… because in Italy you don’t want to alienate people as you never know when they might be useful.
Keep a finger in every pie (hole) and make sure that it is always hot for you.
Pizza. What does the word mean to me?
1. Exactly what it means to most people. A round crust of dough, sometimes thin, sometimes thick, depending on taste. Covered in tomato sauce, herbs, cheese (melted into a glue-like substance which you don’t want to think about what it does to your insides, especially if you’re lactose intolerant – sometimes you just have to be tolerant of certain things), and an assortment of toppings which may or may not excommunicate you from other pizza pie lovers. Wars have been fought amongst friends, enemies, frenemies, for less.
2. A rectangular-shaped addictive and edible slab of bread-like (Hmmm… bread, fresh baked, such savoury scented, taste-buddy goodness) pizza but not pizza-like specialty which you will probably only come across in Italy. Topped with lashings of salt (as though the salt shaker had a fit and lost its top), herbs and oil, naked yet not naked (it left its hat on). Topped with French fries which aren’t French because if they were they would have sashayed away from such an inelegant feast. Sometime topped with tomato and called red… like the nickname often given to redheads by those who don’t have that kind of crazy fire so openly displayed for all to see.
This version of pizza is akin to focaccia, but focaccia is its poor, yet expensive and poncy, cousin. Too fluffy and frou-frou to be called a real pizza.
3. Ah… che pizza! What a bore, a nuisance, a pain in the… pizzatootie! What I sometimes feel when dinnertime rolls around like sticky dough, needing me to need it when every muscle (including the ones in the brain) need kneading after a day’s worth of meeting the needs of needing… which can feel like needling that isn’t acupuncture. Che pizza… cooking, eating, feeding the needy mouths, including mine… Let’s just have a pizza and fill the needy piehole with a pie that will burn its roof and numb its tongue and perhaps it will shut up and we can all relax… however fleetingly!
As for amore…
“Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling
Ting-a-ling-a-ling and you’ll sing, “Vita bella” – That’s Amore lyrics.
What a ding-a-ling-a-ling…
…amore di pizza!
I always enjoy further supplements of your personal take of the Italian pizza monument. Your classic film history anedodotes make you such a sophisticated mystery! Particularly poignant the brain metaphor as a dough to knead:))))
I would like to add pizza is a powerful antidepressant and I picked as my very first word- rather than uttering mum.It was actually an excellent choice, considering what happened next…xxx
Haha! Ma va!
No sophistication here, maybe that is the mystery 😉
This was a joy to read…you are a lovely writer and I always always enjoy your posts. What does pizza mean to me? Your question got me pondering the meaning of pizza since it’s become a tradition in our household. And to me, pizza means “family”–a big gooey conglomeration of unique toppings on a hand-crafted dough of kneaded perfection. We have refined our free-form craft, my nephew and I after attending an artisan pizza-making class together. He loves cooking and he needed a place to shine, so pizza became his specialty. He worked and worked at getting the combination “just right” and the oven “just right” to achieve the chewy brown crust of the open-fire pizza we loved in France.
I make the sauce each year when my father’s tomatoes are in season, filling our pantry with glass jars livened by our particular blend of herbs and spices. My daughter and I make fresh mozzarella when she’s up to the task and wow, is that ever special. Pizza is a mutually collaborative production at our house and we’ve tweaked traditional recipes to reflect our contemporary needs (just like our “family”). “What a ding-a-ling-a-ling……amore di pizza!”
Thank you very much 🙂
Your family’s pizza tradition sounds exquisite! Yum!!!
Had to youtube Dean Martin singing “That’s Amore”…… ❤ good memories of my Dad sitting on the living room floor shuffling through his albums while singing ever so exuberantly…… 🙂 🙂 TY
The louder it is sung, the better! Your dad sounds like an awesome dude! Happy memories, I hope 🙂
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