True friends stab you in the front.MM I'd give you props for presented this pizza in a manner that is similar to the way many Romans eat it (two slices joined cheese side to cheese side) but my bet is that you don't know what I'm talking about. As for the pizza, well, Roscioli it ain't. But... Well, alright, it looks pretty good. Fine, it looks better than pretty good. Happy now?
If you're one of those people who reads the "Comments" on blogs (I am) and who does much reading of this particular blog (I hope you do), then you may already be familiar with my friend Tom. He's the pain-in-the-ass who, commenting under a variety of different names, often will go out of his way to make me look bad.
He has accused me of recklessly devouring endangered species (not true), rigging taste tests to advance my personal favorites (also a filthy lie), championing food items he deems putrid and disgusting (sfogliatelle, for instance). Hell, he's even talked trash about my Sainted Mother — and she's not even alive to give him a good smack and tell him to "shuttup already!"
He's a bad one, this Tom. The capo di tutti curmudgeon. It's a wonder he has any friends at all.
And yet, ruthless as he may be, the man makes some very fine pizza. Often he makes his very fine pizza for me.
A couple of days ago I got an email from Tom. In the subject line were two words he knew would be intriguing to me: "Roman-style."
Turns out that Tom had been sampling the pizza al taglio (by the slice) at the recently opened Campo de' Fiori in Brooklyn, where he lives, and found himself inspired to bake his own square Roman-style pie. (He was no doubt aided in this endeavor by his trusted companion, the lovely Beth, a fine baker of all things, though he did not choose to mention this.) Knowing my fondness for pizza and for Rome, where they buy their pizza by weight, not by slice, he decided to photo-document the event and then forward the pics to me.
But there are risks in releasing such documents — made more perilous when you release them to the man you have poked at and prodded for months, sometimes viciously and always in a public forum.
With age, I have learned, wisdom does not always come.
And so here I give you my friend Tom's version of "Roman-style" pizza — only this time I get to comment on his work. Feel free to join in. He's a big boy, and can (probably) take it.
TOM (via the aforementioned email) Forget wet doughs. I actually kneaded this with my own two paws. Part whole wheat, too.
MM Whole wheat! Are you serious? Geez, Tommy, why not slip into your organic-cotton overalls and swing by the food co-op for a reusable shopping bagful of acai berries! Grow a pair, would you, and make a real pizza dough.
MM My, my, what a cute little plastic toy you have there, Tommy. Can I borrow it to spell out funny words in the sand? Maybe next time you can use it to make a Sonny Corleone-at-the-toll-plaza cookie. (You punch the bullet holes into Sonny with the toy, get it? I didn't think so. Hey, Beth, how do you live with this clown? Has he even seen "The Godfather?")
MM I don't know why I should expect better from a man with only one vowel in his name. (Actually, only one vowel in each of his three names.) Looks like Ragu to me, Tom. And you have heard of mozzarella? I've never eaten a pizza in Rome with those cheeses on it. (Back me up here, Joe.) You oughta be ashamed.
MM Next time you're up the house I expect you to make me a couple of these pies, Tommy. Only let me give you some of my sauce, okay. And the flour. And cheese.
I've got way more vowels than you have. And they count for something.