Sunday, February 26, 2017


When I was planning meals for this weekend I decided to make pizza for Sunday night supper.  We had no mozzarella so that went on the shopping list for Saturday.  I remember looking at various mozzarellas, doing some comparison shopping.  For me that usually means looking for the best ingredients, not the cheapest price.

This afternoon I put some ingredients for the crust in the bread machine on the dough cycle and started preparing the other ingredients: mushrooms, green and red peppers, onions, fresh pineapple and a small mild Italian sausage, cut up into bits.  I added some of our own tomato pulp from the freezer to a half jar of Tostitos Medium Salsa.  I like how salsa has some chunks in it, which regular pizza sauce does not.

When I came to the cheeses, there was no mozzarella in the fridge.  I looked in the freezer, none there.  Finally I dug out the cash register receipt and, yup, I had done the comparisons but failed to put any mozzarella in the shopping cart.  I had bought some cheddar, some grated parmesan and a block of Harvarti.  By the way, did you know that a lot of so-called Parmesan cheese has cellulose as an ingredient?  There is hardly any REAL Parmesan cheese to be had in Canada or the U.S.  The REAL Parmesan is made in Parma, Italy, from the milk from certain cows which graze on certain pastures, and that milk is treated in very rigid defined processes.  REAL Parmesan costs a mint and most of us have never seen or tasted it.

So, since the pizza was well on the way to being put together, I substituted the Harvarti.  Of course, it wasn't stringy like mozzarella would be, but altogether it was a decent substitute for the mozza.  It was a pretty decent pizza.

When we were growing up Mom made her own version of pizza.  Most of us had never heard of pizza.  I think she got the idea from Italian neighbours who lived up the hill from us in New Jersey.  She called it Habeets.  Which is probably what she thought they said, with their strong Italian accent.

Mom used lots of margarine in the crust and on the crust before she put on the toppings.  For cheese she used the old staple that was always in the house: Velveeta.  Can you imagine?  I don't really remember how that Habeets tasted, but I do remember that we liked it.  We thought of it as a kind of "tomato pie."  My Sis and I wouldn't talk about it with friends at school, because if we tried to describe it the reaction was always "YUK!"
This was in the late 40's and early 50's.  Our friends had never heard of this strange concoction!

Later, when I was in high school pizza had become popular.  On Friday evenings a group of us girls who didn't have a date that week would get together and drive from Grand Rapids to Grand Haven where there was a restaurant called Fricano's that made great pizza.  In those days, being underage, we drank 7UP with our pizza.  It was a nice outing with lots of time for gossip and some great pizza shared with friends.

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