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by Flora Mitidiero Raehl
My son Tom and I decided it was time to try the pizza from both of these places, so first we go to the pizza parlor at one end of town and grab a table. Tom orders cheese and sausage and I go for the veggie pizza. Not too much time passes and out comes the waiter with two pizzas because, as it turns out, each person gets their own 12 inch pizza and much to my surprise, maybe even some chagrin, they're round, right out of the old-fashioned, built in the wall pizza oven, steaming with bubbling cheese, and oh so delicious. For a mere nine euro Tom and I were in pizza heaven.
A few days later I decide to invite my cousin Franco, his wife Rosella and son over for dinner. It's a Tuesday so Rosella says we should get pizza from the bakery at the other end of town because they're only open on Tuesdays and this pizza is much better. Ok, we're willing to try this other pizza so we walk there to place the order and are told it will be a few hours before it's ready so we'll have to come back to pick it up. The inside of this bakery is nothing short of amazing – a huge dough mixer, pizza pans that look like they could feed an army and vats of homemade tomato sauce.
Time passes as we sit in Aunt Rosina's kitchen, reminiscing about her life in Alessandria and soon it's time for Tom and Franco to go pick up the pizza. What I see coming down the street a short time later is one of the more hysterical scenes I've encountered since I've been here – Tom and Franco, each carrying a pizza with such a grimace on Tom's face because at this little bakery in this little town when you pick up a pizza, you have to carry it in the pans it's been cooked in. So here's my oh so American son carrying what appears to be a 25 pound pizza in the pan that has just come out of an oven that was probably at least 500 degrees. They get it home and I'm just thrilled because it looks so much like the pizza I remember my mom making – thick crust, saucy and square! And I was so right, I could have fed an army. I'm looking at these pizza pans and wonder what I'm supposed to do with them when they're empty and Franco tells me, just bring them back to the bakery when you have time! Really?? This would never happen in Chicago. The pizza was delicious and the company was great – it actually felt like the family gatherings I'm used to back home in Chicago - loud, chaotic and revolving around food. So once again I'm reminded how much of my Italian life started right here in this little out of the way mountain town of Alessandria del Carretto. Buon Appetito!
Article Published 5/18/2011
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