What Duke Ellington said about music applies to food: “There are only two kinds of music. Good music and bad music.”
Most days I don’t eat anything prepared outside my home. It wasn’t always like that. Back in the day, in Detroit, I’d get up at 4 A.M. on Saturday morning to drive to Eastern Market where beautiful produce and fruit were sold along with eggs, cheese, chicken, beef, and an array of spices associated with the Middle East homes of most vendors.
Then along several small streets, I’d find a bakery run by a Scot selling meat pies. Or pierogi in trays lovingly lined up in shops in Hamtramck. Then there were dozens of ribs joints where thick plexiglass divided the cashier from the customers. The food spoke of origin, in each of these places, and it was good. Very good. Because it showed us the love and relationships that are often more implicit.
Nowadays, not to be sentimental, few places make me salivate as I did then. The physiology just isn’t there. I drive by a franchise selling baked goods that might as well be on Mars for all its specificity. Or, one pizza place after another, or sandwich shops selling $9.00 concoctions of two slices of bread with lots of stuff between them.
Galleria Umberto, in Boston’s North End, is a place that I think about a great deal, however. How can I time it to be there at noon when parking on the street changes from commercial to public?
The pizza there is good.
The North End: