THE Pasta Machine

First week working at my family’s pizzeria, and I’ve already learned to just shut my mouth and add the toppings. Just have to do this for another twenty years, then Papa will retire, I get the shop, and I can talk over my OWN kids and tell them they shouldn’t complain. That’s what Papa says, anyway.

Just the other day I mentioned that the ovens heats up slow, and I got an earful from Papa about how this is a commercial oven, a commercial oven that his Papa begged and scraped to allow us to later buy after he was gone. Back in his day they just had a big oven that had to bit lit by hand and that was Papa’s job: crawling inside the oven and striking a match right in the middle, hoping the fire didn’t spread so quickly that he wouldn’t have time to get out.

“And if I hadn’t, your Grandpa would have just shook his head, called me an idiota and baked me into his pizzas, and people would’ve said ‘yum, yum, Silvio, what’s in this new pizza?’ and he would’ve said ‘it’s a limited edition ingredient, today only’!” was what Papa said. I don’t know how much of that he just made up for drama, but I guess I appreciate having a commercial oven a little more now. I don’t really fancy the idea of outrunning fire every day.

And I just don’t mention it of the handle to the pasta machine is a little stiff, because- surprise- this was a commercial pasta machine bought with the biggest tip Papa ever got from a rich customer, and it’s a symbol of pizzeria pride that we can make our own pasta with such a machine.

That’s tradition, for you. Tradition, and family, and it’s all really serious business, and one day I’ll understand, apparently. I’ll look at that pasta machine and oven and stove and stone slab with the same love in my eyes that Papa has.