We had bread for dinner, tonight.

Both were topped with tomato, cheese, and meat.  The similarity ended there.

The bruschetta was a baguette topped with a homegrown tomato slice, a slice of white stilton with peaches and cream, and a slice of speck – popped into a hot oven for about 4 minutes.  The cheese is like dessert.  it is sweet and creamy and played against the saltiness of the speck very well.

And then we had pizza.

I cheated – I bought pizza dough.  But I did make my own sauce.  A 39¢ can of tomato sauce mixed with some Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and crushed red peppers.  It’s pretty much the pizza sauce I made when I worked at Pirro’s, lo, these many years ago.  My goodness.  I left there in 1974.  How many lifetimes ago was that?!?    I had just turned 22 when I quit.  Tomorrow I’m going to be 60.  It’s been several lifetimes.  Trust me.

One thing I haven’t forgotten how to do in all of the ensuing years is how to hand-spin a pizza.  It really isn’t as difficult as people think – although most cooking isn’t as difficult as people think.

Back to being barely 22… I got into a fight with Barry – who was the owner.  I was the manager and pretty much running the place.  I walked across the street to the Riviera Dinner House – a restaurant where I ended up working about a year later – had more than a few cocktails, went home, packed up my car, and moved to Portland, Oregon.  That night.  I’ve never been the impulsive type.

My parents weren’t exactly thrilled, but they didn’t try to talk me out of it, either.  Six months later, the owner of the plant store next to Pirro’s convinced me to move back to San Francisco and help her open a new place in Jack London Village in Oakland.  When Claudia went bust, Gracie, from the Riviera, hired me as a cook.  From The Riviera to the Red Chimney and Val’s. They were owned by the brothers who owned the Blue Crystal – the bar up the street from Pirros – and where I had been illegally drinking since I was 17.  It was nice being in demand.  By 24, I was living at Lake Tahoe with a friend from the pizza parlor days…

Whew!  And these were some of my quieter years…..