Last week my family shuttled a pizza box containing three small slices of leftover Neapolitan pizza through 3 CITIES and 2 COUNTRIES rather than let it go to waste. Why? Because we’re Italian.
A little background…we were in Victoria, Canada with my parents on a two day visit to Vancouver Island. While the rest of us were out doing touristy things, my dad was scouring the city on foot in search of a good meal for us. When we met up with him later, he was waving a menu in his hand and spoke of finding a promising pizza place run by an actual off the boat Italian. In CANADA, of all places.
We hurried through the city as the rain started to fall and the wind whipped our faces. We stepped into the warm restaurant with the smell of fresh dough baking, quickly ordered, and then were charmed by the owner, Luca, and his tale of how a guy from Milan, Italy ended up making pizza on an island in Canada. After a short wait, the pizzas arrived and were as delectable as we had hoped. Truly exceptional.
Now I’m sure all you East Coast people take it for granted that you can just go out and get great pizza anytime you want. Having spent my childhood in New York, I am aware of what real pizza tastes like. Having spent the next 25 years in Southern California on a never-ending quest to find decent pizza, I finally arrived at this conclusion: the ONLY way to get good pizza in Southern California is to be invited over to Fran & Sal Collica’s house for dinner. If you’re not on that A-List, you’re shit out of luck.
Currently I live on an island in the Puget Sound, and find myself once again starved for good pizza. So when we finished that meal in Canada and had three little pieces of that awesome pizza left, there was no question of leaving it behind. Italians leave no man behind. And by man, I mean pizza. We boxed it up and deemed Jack, my 12-year-old son, Guardian of the Pizza.
This kid carried the pizza through the city streets of Victoria, through a mall, through customs in Canada, on a 2 1/2 boat ride through Puget Sound, declared it at customs in Seattle, where the pizza then hopped into a cab and onto yet another boat, this time a ferry, where it arrived on Bainbridge Island and was then transported by car before finally settling into it’s final destination…our refrigerator.
I realized later that this is not unusual behavior for my family. My aunt from New York recently visited my parents in California and brought with her a huge amount of pignoli and sesame cookies made by her mom, a fabulous baker. The cookies traveled from New York to California where they were served each night with a different meal and to a different crowd of people. There were so many cookies that when my parents were packing to come visit us here on Bainbridge Island, there were still a few left. So what did my parents do? They literally shipped the cookies in a box to my house here in Washington so we could polish off the last few while they were here. Why? Because we’re Italian.