My affection for pizza started at a very young age. But I am 50 years old and grew up in a small rural town in Tennessee. We didn’t have Mom and Pop pizzerias on every street corner like New York or Chicago. Our only outlet was Pizza Hut. (OK, don’t knock it! It still is my favorite of the cardboard box tasting varieties.) Or we would visit with my cousin in the neighboring town. I would hope for a pizza from the local family owned place. (I do remember visiting my cousins in Florida and eating at Shakey’s! Remember they had player pianos in the dining rooms. Fun and silly.)
Pizza was special occasion food back in my pre-teens. I usually got to have it for birthdays. I know a lot of American families now eat it weekly. Hasn’t that taken some of the charm away?
During my college years at FSU, we used to eat lots of very, very, very cheap pizza from (I am shuddering at the thought!) Domino’s. It truly tasted like the box it came in. But, hey, it was in the perfect price range. Have heard from a friend that lately they have changed their formula and the taste is better. I don’t think I will hold my breath waiting to experience their newness.
Living in New York after college, I got to experience my first REAL (Yes, I mean it.) pizza. Grabbing a slice from a non-chain, family-owned, who knows how long it has been opened, true pizza shop on the corner. Walking down the street with a hot slice folded in half was AMAZING! Shop owners say that it is the water and the very old ovens that make NYC pizza the best. Hey, I think they are correct! YUM!
Here in Atlanta, we have all of the big chains, of course, and several wonderful local chains. Fellini’s Pizza right down the street comes the closest to me to resembling a slice from New York.
In such a foodie city, there are many new upscale places with wood-fired ovens to quickly cook their paper thin crusts. Just delicious with a great glass of wine. And I enjoy the fun and fanciful playing with textures, non-traditional ingredients and varying cheeses.
But still, if I need a comfort fix and just want to remember my youth, bring on the Thin and Crispy Supreme from the Hut!