I'm a New Yorker, so pizza is really important to me. I consider it a cornerstone of my diet and I really don't want to spend time thinking about how unhealthy that probably is.
Then again, if you run like I do it's okay to crave carbohydrates and pizza is the ultimate cross-food-group carbohydrate, including dairy (most of the time), vegetables (some of the time), and meat (in my case, almost none of the time). In my estimation, there are few more complete meals on the planet.
You're probably thinking that I'm some kind of pizza snob who turns her nose up at anything non-New York. Au contraire. Actually, my dirty little secret is that I will eat any kind of slice you shove in front of me.
Stouffer's French Bread pizza? Check. Papa Gino's soggy-crusted monstrosity? Double check. English muffin pizzas made in my substandard kitchen, the result of debilitating hunger and absolute poverty? Well, you get the picture.
One of my favorite slices (ok, let's get real; when I order this baby, I eat the whole pie) comes from a dive in my hometown, The Park Lunch, whose BLT I described ad nauseum about a month ago. I know their pizzas are frozen; they have the same anemic crust those Mama Celeste single-servings I used to eat have. But their oven must be really hot because the pizza is always crispy and dripping with cheese.
Dried flakes of oregano are no sophisticated touch, but I like them. Fresh mushrooms and other veggies make me feel like a healthier person, although I'll admit that I'm totally a sucker for canned mushrooms on pizza. Call it a shortcoming.
With my friend's help last night, I polished off a pie in record time. But I did a long, snowy afternoon run, trekking through almost nine miles of slushy terrain. And so I believe, as I always have, that the best restorative soul food is a fine little re-heated pizza that wouldn't hold a candle to a New York eatery and that I love all the same.
181 Merrimac Street
Newburyport, MA 01950