Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hot Italian

   Recently we visited another pizzeria in downtown Sacramento called Hot Italian, Pizza and Panini Bar. It was an interesting blend of Italian cycling, both Vespas and bicycles with pizza and panini all decked out in a stark black & white contrast. They featured a large brick fired oven run on gas and some cracker thin artisan pizzas made in one size only. We ordered the Belucci which was a tomato sauce with mozzarella with fennel sausage and dobs of ricotta cheese. Very authentic combination, reasonably priced, well crafted but not overly exciting. However, I did feel inspired to go ride my bike as soon as the weather warms up once again. The cracker thin crust was amazingly thin so I had to go watch them roll out their doughs while asking the pizzaiolo a couple of questions. He actually was hand rolling it to my surprise which was a plus.  Later at home, I watched on TV as some show popped up before me about making pizzas. The place they were visiting was focused on making the thinnest of pizza doughs in the world although I didn't catch the name. When I saw it I said to myself, they must be using a machine to roll it because it was too perfect. I was picturing an old ringer style washer with a hand crank but fortunately they were a bit ahead of me. They used a pasta machine for rolling it wafer thin. I liked their ingenuity. Having never made pasta myself I think I would have thought more about using the old wringer washer if I had been inspired to make pasta or a cracker thin pizza crust in a uniform manner. The story would have undoubtedly have to have been kept secret upon feeding the pizza to anybody or the reactions may have been less than positive.
   It's almost worth thinking about it as I do believe it would work but rummaging through thrift shops would prove fruitless in the 21st century or even a landfill. It does bring back fond memories from childhood though going to the dump with my dad on a Saturday afternoon. While he unloaded the station wagon we boys would search for buried treasures. I remember finding in near perfect condition a discarded Corningware coffee pot. It was complete with no chips or scratches and only a little dirty as it appeared to have been left there quite recently. I scooped up my treasure to bring home to Mom. In those days dishwashers were a luxury so anything in need of sanitizing had to be boiled for a period of time, which of course she did.
   Days later, a neighbor friend of the family was visiting with mom in the kitchen and drinking coffee. I happened to walk through the kitchen at the wrong moment and exclaimed, "Hey mom, you're using the coffee pot I found at the dump!" That, of course, was the last thing she would've wanted me to say but I was quite proud of her for using this freebie that I had scored. By the reaction of the guest you would've thought I poured vinegar in her coffee. Mom was about ready to hit the moon but an explanation to the guest was already over due. I'm not sure that the friend ever came back and chatted over Mom's coffee again but the story lives on. With that lesson still in mind, I think I will steer clear of the wringer washer for rolling out a cracker thin dough. It's a shame one mistimed comment could ruin a great idea.

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