I’m gearing up for pre-release on Tuesday, I believe, when I’ll be sent to Tewksbury State Hospital. There I’m being asked to evaluate two adolescent residents. One is said by staff to be grumpy, one is said by staff to be pleasant. Will Snow White join us?, I wonder.
Meanwhile, rounding the track towards the banner, which I can see, finally: FINISH.
To maintain focus, I’m pressing blood oranges for A.M. juice, cooking, and walking the dogs. Hagop is back at Arax so that’s good re the oranges, which he calls, “Bloody oranges.” I like his term. He’s a refugee from the 1982 wars in Beirut, and has about him an air of resignation. He seems to know what matters, too. His voice has a strong nasal twang. He wins the prize for the guy I put on the radio most: Three times.
Meanwhile, toppings. OK, so there’s this organization called Verace Pizza Napoletana Association. It establishes rules for making pizza. Why? For one thing, they worry that true pizza will be lost as more pizza appears on the planet. Stuff that has no business being called pizza will, they feel, erode the value of the original. For another thing, they feel their rules lead to tastier pizza.
The rules mean, among other things, that each pizza has to baked in a wood-fired oven at 900 degrees, that the dough has to be kneaded by hand, that the tomatoes have to be San Marzano (preferably from Naples or Campania), that each pizza be no larger than eleven inches, and that the baking time be 90 seconds, maximum.
Here’s something interesting: The rules say nothing about toppings. Why is this important? Because in NYC, at EATALY, I had a remarkable pizza that was subtle and flavorful, and made me want to come back for more. That Batali, he’s some kinda genius, no? In comparison, at POSTO, in Somerville, I had a delicious pizza weighted down with so much meat I couldn’t finish it. One place has in mind the return of the guest; the other figures you’re starving.