Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Pizza Tale: from Hawaii to Italy and Back

The Pizza Therapy Pizza Book

As you know, I'm a pizzaman. I love making pizza, I love eating pizza and I love talking about pizza... (Here is my website: Pizza Therapy).

This is one of my favorite pizza tales I have ever experienced. Best of all, this extraordinary pizza conversation, had a Hawaii twist.

I happened to be at a Workshop recently and during lunch my favorite topic, pizza, just happened to come up.

Janet, who grew up in Hawaii, in a Japanese-American household, shared the following:

"One night, many years ago, my Dad and Mom decided to take us kids out for pizza. As soon as my Dad tasted the pizza, he said: "This is not real pizza...Now when I was in Italy during the Second World War, that was real pizza..."

(Albert's side bar; So here goes: a pizza tale, with-in a pizza tale...)

Her father, who had never been out of Hawaii, was stationed in a small Italian town during World War II. They were camped on a farmer's fields for several weeks. He decided to go for a walk to explore the farm.

The farmer became alarmed, when he noticed this stranger walking around his fields.

"Why" he thought, "was this strange Japanese man, walking around my fields?"

He immediately went to get a rifle. He then confronted this man pointing his rifle at him. The farmer soon realized, this Japanese man, was an American. He was a liberator and not a threat to him or his family.

After a while, the Italian farmer and this Japanese man from Hawaii, became friends.

One day the Serviceman was relieving himself near a stream and he noticed something in the water. He went to ask the farmer what he had seen.

The farmer told him, they were eels. Janet's father was elated. He and his buddies were sick of K-Rations! Now they could feast on fresh eels! The other soldiers from Hawaii rigged some nets together and that night, they had an incredible meal of fresh eels, cooked right in their helmets!

The farmer then shared another secret with him. He said there were wild mushrooms growing right on the farm. The farmer taught him which mushrooms were safe to pick. Soon, their "eel and mushroom dinners" were the talk of the camp.

A short while later, his company had to leave. There was after all, a War going on. Before he left, the farmer invited him to his house for a meal. There, he tasted fresh, home-made pizza, for the first time. The memory of that pizza would never leave him."

I thanked Janet immensely. I asked her if I could meet her dad, but she explained, he had passed away years before.

The tale made me think of my own father, who although born in the U.S., had loved to eat eels. He would regularly take us out to his secret spots to search for wild mushrooms. The love of this food had been passed on to him by his own father, who had been raised on a farm in Italy. And so it goes...

pizza on earth and Hawaii,

albert grande
Make Pizza Be Happy...
Hawaii Secret Vacation Information


Jo said...

Hi Albert, It was so nice hearing from you and reading your stories from years ago. My dad loved to pick wild mushrooms in the woods back in Scituate, R.I. He also enjoyed catching eels and cooking them. He had a tale of two that he told about when he was growing up his dad had a push cart and sold fresh fish. He would put his thumb inside the eel's mouth and shout out fresh eel's and wiggle the eel around. He was a wonderful dad and I miss him. His death was 14 years ago this September 7th. Thank you for sharing your stories and recipes with me. God Bless. Sincerely, Jo Hampson

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