Can’t a guy get a simple slice of pizza pie?

By Adam Magnoni
It used to really bother me when people would say, “You can’t get a good slice of pizza on the in Seattle.” It was a ridiculous notion, because of a mere longitude crossed with latitude, that a single recipt could not be produced as well as in another. I considered myself an expert though I did not discriminate. I would eat the thin-crust, thick-crust, the crust that they filled with cheese and the kind most commonly found in Washington: the medium-crust. It’s the kind that is thick enough to meld cheese and toppings to the platform of said pie, but maybe just a bit too thick because instead of becoming crisp, the flakey dough becomes flaccid. It embodys the one adjective that can ruin any good meal: soggy. It would be like cooking shrimp in the microwave. Everyone in the Seattle area will try and tell you that Pagliacci’s Pizza is the best around and for the most part I would agree. (You got to give The North Lake Tavern a try in Wallingford. You have to be 21 as it’s a bar, sorry kiddies.) They make a solid pie and they avoid the biggest pitfall of anybody who thinks they can buy a big oven and spin some dough: they keep it simple. When the idea of pizza was adopted by the Italians from the Greeks back in the 18 century (the Greeks did indeed cook flatbreads and cover them with oil and spice and as I am sure this is just fine a pizza, in my humble opinion, needs to contain one topping to even be considered for the running and this is a tomato) they were cooked and sold in markets and by the docks. In those glory days of the pizza pie a hungry sailor returning home from a long, warm-doughless stretch at sea, or a mother trying to occupy her children while she prepared for the evenings meal, would have two choices: plain (meaning with tomato sauce only) or with cheese. Simple. Only one topping to choose from. No goat cheese, no pine nuts, no artichoke hearts and definetly no chicken with barbeque sauce. Not that these things are bad things. Actually chicken is my favorite food, but for all the joy it does bring to my life it belongs nowhere near my pizza. This brings us to the toppings that should cover your slice of the pie. Sauce and cheese. A tomato sauce isn’t to be cooked with meat and shouldn’t be described as hot and or spicy. The freshness of the fruit is what’s to be achieved, accented with only olive oil, garlic and basil. Maybe some salt and pepper. Anything that comes from a jar with your favorite movie stars face will not due. That goes for the mass produced, dehydrated, hydrogen-infused stuff they use over at The Pizza Factory. Give me something that freshly milled tomato and preferably mixed with a wooden spoon. Next comes the glorious cheese. Only the freshest mozzarella will do, and in water if possible. When applied it should be done so sparingly. Please don’t infuse my crust with it and please, nothing of the cheddar variety. A good mozzarella cheese is delicate and will, when cooked in a big oven, melt in with the sauce to become one. It should not blanket the pie and be used to hold on the laundry list of ingrediants to the All Meat Extravaganza Special. I know it may be a petty request. One that I could probably solve myself by making a trip to the store and getting my hands a little doughy. I have done these things before but, must admit, am a bit lazy and have an extra $2.50, so can I please just be provided with a good piece of pizza.