A slice of life is now missing
Life is like a pizza pie. It's like a slice of life.
Usually, a pizza is cut into eight slices. Each slice could represent the different stages of our lives.
The crust is the foundation. It's our beliefs, our ethics, our morals.
Every life needs a little spice, so we have the sauce, which adds a taste of richness to everything we do.
The cheese is like love. It's what holds us all together, binds us, keeps us going back for another bite.
OK. Maybe it's a stretch to compare life to a pizza, but sometimes when I take that first bite, it's like a party in my mouth. And all our lives need a little party now and then, right?
I can't remember my first slice of pizza, or where it came from. I don't think it was as prevalent as it is today. But I do remember my Aunt Katie's version of pizza. It wasn't round. She made it in a rectangular cookie sheet. She made her own crust from scratch, added a little sauce and loaded it up with ham, salami and then mozzarella cheese. Mom made it when we got company and for special occasions.
And that's how I thought of pizza: It was a special treat, a warm and wonderful slice of life.
The next pizza I remember was the one sold by The Boulevard on Route 443, Lehighton. They weren't large, but they were mmm mmm good. They were so good that for my 16th birthday pajama party, my choice for dinner was Boulevard pizza. My mom drove from Kunkletown to Lehighton for two unbaked pizzas that we baked when we got hungry. Being surrounded by my closest and bestest gal pals, sinking my teeth into a piping hot piece of Boulevard pizza while wearing pajamas was not only a party in my mouth, it was a party to be forever remembered. Another slice of life.
I don't know when the "real" pizzas (the Italian version) came into my life. I'm thinking it was being introduced to the pizza shop across the street from where I was going to Lehigh Carbon Community College's dental assistant program on 19th Street in Allentown in 1970. That first day of class, a group of girls invited me to go along for lunch at the pizza shop. It was love at first bite. It was so flavorful, so greasy, so yummy. I couldn't get enough. We ate lunch there every day. School was a nine-month program. Harry was in Vietnam. It was a hard slice of life. You can only imagine his surprise when he came home and found me 20 pounds heavier. I'm blaming the pizza.
Over the years, we watched as pizza grew up and became more sophisticated. Now they're not only plain and pepperoni, but meat lover's, Hawaiian, taco, buffalo chicken, veggie, German. You name it, they'll put it on a pizza. Thin crust, pan pizza, Sicilian. They even put macaroni on it. Tomato sauce, cheese and pasta on its own bread, a whole Italian meal in one. What's not to like?
Last weekend one of our favorite restaurants, Luna Rossa, was destroyed by a fire. This is a rough slice of life for the owners and the staff as they deal with their loss of livelihood and jobs. We are going to miss it. Especially its delicious brick oven Margherita pizza.
The origin of pizza is somewhat in question. Greeks, Egyptian and Persians have been making a flat bread with stuff on it since early B.C. Now here's where it gets fun.
Tomatoes did not exist in Europe. Italian explorers in the 16th century brought tomatoes from the New World (Peru) back to Italy. At first tomatoes were thought to be poisonous because they belong to the nightshade family. The poorer people of Italy tried tomatoes on flatbread with cheese and found it to be delicious.
The modern pizza was first prepared in 1889. The King and Queen of Italy, Umberto I and Margherita di Savoia, were vacationing in Naples and had heard about the excellent pizzas made by a pizzaiolo (pizza maker) named Raffaele Esposito, of Pizzeria Brandi, which is still open and selling pizza today.
According to Peter Reinhard, author of "American Pie," "Esposito was invited to prepare the pizza and made, or so it goes, a marinara pizza with anchovies; a bianca, or white pizza, with lard, provolone or creamy caciocavallo cheese, and basil; and a pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil red, white and green in honor of the Italian flag. The queen flipped for the latter, and when Esposito received a note of thanks from the monarch, he dedicated the pizza to her, calling it 'pizza Margherita.'"
The Luna Rossa made an awesome Margherita pizza. I bet it could rival that of the Pizzeria Brandi in Naples!
The Koehlers selfishly hopes it is rebuilt. Just as in all aspects of everyday living, variety is the spice of life. We like to shake up our taste buds from time to time visiting our favorite pizza shops, where each one has a specialty we keep going back for. Our lives will be missing a tasty slice of life until Luna Rossa rebuilds and we can once again enjoy an original Margherita pizza.