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Old 08-04-2010, 05:41 PM   #1
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The love pizza

I recently finished my cookbook entitled "The precious Ingredient".
I would like to share with you one of my favorite chapters:
The Love Pizza


I made it a habit to go out for pizza once a week. Every Thursday, after work, my friend Fiorella and I would walk into the “Pizzeria Il Corral.” Both of us were in our late twenties, petite and slender, and always fashionably dressed. Blonde, blue eyed, with white porcelain skin, Fiorella created a stunning contrast to my chestnut brown eyes and hair, and slightly tanned complexion. Every time we entered the place, our presence was noted.Some friends would already be there, others would join us later, and we would all sit at a long wooden table. As more people came to join us we would just scoot over the wood bench and make space for everybody.
Both Fiorella and I were single, and the weekly diversion provided us with the opportunity to check out the guys. Thursdays became a very important part of my social life for a few years. Everybody who wanted to meet us knew where to find us.
And so it happened. One Thursday evening, Mimmo, a young man who had occasionally joined us at the table, came in with an older companion, sat at our table, and demanded everybody’s attention. We all quieted down and looked with curiosity at this new person sitting next to Mimmo. He had not said a word and everybody had ignored him.
“I want everybody to meet this man. He has just joined the Engraving School. He is too old, and I think he is crazy.”
“ The crazy man” was sitting opposite me and as Mimmo ended his speech, I looked directly into his beautiful blue eyes and in their depth, I saw what nobody else had seen;
there was goodness and sadness in them. This was a man with a past that he was trying to leave behind and strangely, I did not feel threatened by him. I also realized that he was not a mute; he did not know a word of Italian. He was from the United States of America. This man was not crazy. This man was in pain.
Everybody returned to their noisy conversation and I asked the stranger to move next to me so I did not have to shout at him to be heard. He very promptly accepted my invitation and was very happy to be able to have a fluent conversation in his native language. He started to relax and joined in the pizza feast with the rest of the group.
Mimmo had planned this meeting with me for some time, the stranger told me. “I know a girl that speaks very good English, I will take you where she hangs out, but we have to wait until Thursday…”
By the end of the evening, all of us came to know that the name of the “Americano” was Joseph, and that was his only name. Here is a man over forty with only one name, starting to learn a new profession in a foreign country, and with very little money. No wonder everybody thinks he is crazy!!!
I left the Pizzeria with my friend Fiorella, waived goodbye to everybody, since the day after I was off on a business trip to the Canary Islands. I told Joseph I would see him again when I returned in a couple of weeks. As he stood up to reciprocate my greeting, I could see he was not very tall, just a few inches taller than me, and rather stocky. His brownish hair was starting to thin but I thought of him as a rather attractive man. His handshake was firm and his smile was honest. I liked that.
The Thursday I returned to “Il Corral”, Joseph was not there. I met him by chance one day and gave him a ride. He was limping, and that was why he had not showed up at the Pizzeria. His cowboy boots were chaffing his heels raw; he could hardly make it to school every day. His boots were the only pair he had and could not afford to buy another. I offered to pick him up at his hotel the next Thursday. Instead of taking him to the Pizzeria, we stopped at a shoe shop on the way.
I had decided to buy him a pair of plain tennis shoes. It was a small and inexpensive present, but for anybody who walks four miles a day, it was the greatest gift.
Joseph reciprocated the gift with a beautiful rose. It is still as beautiful today as it was then.

We started to develop a deeper feeling and to see each other more often. I asked him to move in with me. He accepted. I realized I had found my match.
My greatest concern was what my mother would say when she found out that a man was living with me. Just recently, she had started dating an older gentleman. She was likely to be a little sympathetic now that she had some romance of her own. She exceeded my expectations when she said, “Of course he can live with you. He must be so lonely.”


A year later after our first encounter at the Pizzeria Corral, Italy, Joseph and I were married by the Justice of the Peace, in New Haven, Conneticut.
On Valentine’s Day 1983, I became Mrs. Joseph.
The marriage has been working well for over 25 years, and what creates the strongest bond between us are the fundamental issues we never talked about: religion and politics.
We both agreed that life is a good pizza……………..

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Old 08-04-2010, 07:36 PM   #2
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Awwwww, zfranca, I just love your story!! You certainly are a talented writer in addition to a great cook. Thanks for sharing it with us and many congrats on finishing your cookbook.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:27 PM   #3
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I love anything that's connected with pizza. What a great story and writer you are.
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Old 08-05-2010, 10:46 AM   #4
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I enjoyed the read very much. A fitting story for a cookbook with a great title. You must be excited about the work ahead to publish it and spread the gospel of cooking from the heart.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:28 PM   #5
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Thank you Kayelle.
I have finished and published the book. Even though it is not sold in stores, the response has been so encouraging that I am working on Volume II.
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
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Thank you roadfix. Since you enjoy pizza as much as I do, here is another chapter pizza related:
Cooking memories, a journey into life



The round Pizza

My mother was a good, simple cook. A woman of old fashion ways, tall and slender, she was very proud of her healthy black hair, which she claimed was due to the use of olive oil as a conditioner. She was born and raised on an olive grove plantation in a small town on the Ligurian Sea and moved 150 miles north, to an industrial town near Brescia, in the Lombardy region when she married, right after World War II ended. She had been engaged to my father for the six years he had been away at war and hardly knew the man. He had returned home physically unwounded, despite having been sunk and rescued three times.
Adriana and Franco were married shortly after his homecoming. It was not a happy marriage. In those days, a girl from Liguria and a man from Lombardy belonged to two different worlds. Like water and oil, they never mixed.
My father was an uncomplicated person with a great passion for hunting. A very attractive and athletic man that had an eye for pretty girls, he was what you can call a free spirit. He used to take me hunting with him when I was a little girl. I was supposed to be the boy in the family. He even named me after him.
“Your name is Franca and like me you will always be frank and straight forward and you will never lie” my father told me as soon as I was old enough to understand. I took his words very seriously and never forgot about them. Sometimes, I think they were a curse more than a blessing, as my honesty got me into trouble many times.
My father was a different man when he was away from home; he was fun to be with. He would let me do many things such as riding a bike in the cornfields, get my clothes dirty, play with the animals on the farm, that my mother would not.
And then there were the beautiful summer school vacations that my sister and I would spend with mom at our grandfather’s house overlooking the Ligurian Sea. A short bus ride and there we were, at the beach with cousins and aunts.
I enjoyed being with my dad and I enjoyed being with my mom, but when they were together, very seldom was there peace.
My mother’s job was to take care of her husband and three girls, my older sister Maria Teresa (two years my senior) and my younger sister Giuliana, who was born 12 years after me. The last unexpected pregnancy had taken a toll on mom and we tried to help her out as much as we could. I would help in the kitchen and M. Teresa, who was a shy gangly teen-ager, would help care for the baby. My father was not interested in domestic chores; it was not a manly thing to do. We did not have an automobile, so the trips to the local grocery store were a daily routine. Dad would take care of bringing home the heavy stuff with his motorcycle. The bread was delivered every morning from the local bakery; I do not ever remember my mother making bread. When she made pizza she would send me to the bakery to buy half a Kilo of dough, which she would flatten out on a solid square metal sheet that fit into the rack guides in the oven.
We would go out to restaurants only on very special occasions. Sometimes relatives would visit from out of town and mom would prepare formal dinners. Those were special times of great preparations and anticipation. They were the rare times, with my father being present that we were united as a family.
I remember feeling important. Signora Adriana’s ravioli were famous throughout the entire town and I was helping her. My job was to cut the pasta with the ravioli wheel, my favorite toy. She would line up the ravioli on trays sprinkled with coarse cornmeal and set them on top of the dressers in the bedrooms. All night long, in the icy cold bedroom I would smell that distinctive “eggy” aroma of homemade pasta that still I love so much. In the morning, they were dry and she would cook them for dinner. (We did not have a freezer, in those days.)
As I got older, I had a steady job, bought a small car, a Fiat 500, and was very much interested in discovering what life was outside the family walls. I decided to quit my secretarial job and go to Cambridge, U.K.to perfect my English.
“Why are you leaving a job that you can have for the rest of your life?” my mother asked me. “That is exactly why I am leaving, I do not want a job for the rest of my life, mom!” I replied and with tears in my eyes I left home for two years.
When I returned, little Giuliana had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. She had the same greenish eyes with a strike of violet and black thick eyebrows, just like my dad. She had the sweetest disposition and was always smiling. She also had grown a few inches taller than me; I remained the shorty of the family.
My brand new degree in the English language opened the doors to better career opportunities. A local company that produced plumbing materials hired me as an interpreter. The owner did not understand a word of English. After a while, I started to carry on the business transactions without him, and promoted myself to Export Manager. He was very happy to let me run the Export department. Business had flourished under my management. Money was pouring in from all over the world. I had carte blanche.I enjoyed the responsibility and the financial rewards as well. Life was good.
I started going out with friends. It became a habit of getting together in this or that Pizzeria. It was a place to hang out, listen to the jukebox, and have a good time.
My mother’s birthday was approaching. My two sisters and I decided to take mom out for a real pizza to celebrate her 55 years on this earth. When the day came, we all dressed up in our best Sunday clothes and drove to “Pizzeria Oasi”, just out of town. We barely fit in the little Fiat but it was a short trip. Father had gone to the mountains hunting, the true passion of his life.
Alfredo, the young and handsome owner, came to greet us at the door and glancing a flirty smile in my direction, seated us at one of his best tables close to the fireplace. It was a Sunday afternoon and the place was packed. We had plenty of time to look at the menu while we waited for mom to make up her mind. Finally, she tossed the menu on the table and announced, “I want a round pizza!”
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Old 08-06-2010, 01:39 PM   #7
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Thank you Spork,
holding in my hands the first published copy of my book was indeed a very exciting moment.
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Old 08-06-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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Zfranca your stories are priceless, what a true gift you have as not everyone can express themselves so passionately... Much luck with your next book...
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