("My Ultimate" will run every-other Tuesday and will feature any topic that hops into my head. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the other New England Mamas. . . although they should).
I spent my formative years, in the 70's and 80's, in a town outside of Springfield, Massachusetts. This means that I had feathered hair sprayed to death with Aqua Net, liked guys who drove muscle cars, listened to "Wacky 102" on the radio station, and spent many evenings hanging out in the McDonald's parking lot hoping for something exciting to happen.
I don't miss too much from those days, but I do miss the pizza. We went to only one place: Red Rose Pizzaria in Springfield. Every week, my dad would call their number and order a large "Combination" pizza for pick up. The "Combination" was peppers and pepperoni, and the peppers were cooked perfectly---soft but with some texture, both red and green scattered across the pizza.
In those days of high metabolism, I could eat an insane amount of pizza. My favorite pieces were the corners with their crunchy, yet soft-in-the-middle, crusts. The middle pieces were thin enough to be rolled into an 'o' and eaten in 1. . .2. . . 3 bites.
A large was a lot of pizza for four people, so we always had leftovers which were almost as good as the original pizza. Cold or hot, they were eaten for breakfast and lunch the next day until they were gone.
Since leaving my hometown, I've eaten some great pizza: American Flatbread Pizza in Vermont, Santarpio's Pizza in Boston, Casserta's in Providence, Town Spa Pizza in nearby Stoughton, Al Forno pizza in Providence, among others. But, none will compare to my memories of Red Rose.
A couple of years ago, the Fairly Odd Family found ourselves at Riverside-- er, Six Flags--for a day of amusement. After exiting the park, we made a trip to Red Rose where we order a couple of large pizzas: a plain cheese for the kids and a "Combination" for us old folk. We got the pizza to go and drove around looking for a good spot to stop and eat. As I sat with those hot boxes on my lap, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, remembering those trips with my father to pick up pizza, anxiously waiting to get home so we could crowd around the table in our small kitchen and dig in.
Almost twenty years later, the pizza did not disappoint. And, if you happen to be driving out that way anytime soon, pick me up a large Combination, ok?