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Pizza Venerdi returns

5 April 2020. Fourth week of COVID-19 quarantine.

When we lived in Rome, Friday nights were always pizza night or, as our friend and portiere Pellegrino dubbed it, “pizza venerdi.” 

It was fun to mark the end of the workweek with an outing for pizza. Arriving home about 18:00 on an average Friday, I’d change my clothes and we’d journey anywhere from 15 to 75 minutes to one of our favorite spots or to hunt down a potential new favorite based on recommendations of friends. After three years, we had quite a directory of pizzerias both excellent and marginal.

The pizza has to be off-the-charts-good to warrant a 75-minute one-way trip by tram and on foot. Pizzeria da Remo was, indeed, worth it. We could, in contrast, walk 15 minutes to Taverna Rossini, the neighborhood joint where, upon receiving our phoned-in reservation at 18:00, by 20:30 our favorite waiter would have “our” table set including a bottle of our usual Nero d’Avola ready to pour.

Even in retirement, we continued pizza venerdi. In summer, we headed out very late, usually no earlier than 20:00, due to the heat. When it rained or we were really late and way across town we would sometimes take a taxi home. These Friday excursions could take three hours what with coming, going, and eating. Having pizza on Friday anchored the week. It was a date, It marked the beginning of the weekend.

In retirement, one needs to mark the days carefully less they all become a blur. (My brother says the week is 6 Saturdays and a Sunday for retirees.)

The same holds true when sheltering-in-place.

PIzza venerdi is back in the life of the Barton household. There is no restaurant dining and frankly, on a good day, not a lot of great pizza options. Our favorite is 15 minutes away and they offer take out, but a take out pizza 15-20 minutes after it is made? Puh-leeze! Not happening. We turned to Papa Murphy’s

We have not frequented Papa M of late as we have not been eating a lot of American pizza. At least it’s hot, easy, and sanitary. We order online so no cash exchanges hands, I wipe down the plastic wrap when I get it home before opening it, and we bake it at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. That should kill anything.

Before baking, note the olives are moved to one side for Ric.

Papa M April 3 after

Baked to perfection with slightly caramelized cheese and crispy crust. Now we drink beer, not Nero d’Avola.

Ric says “It’s not Italian, but it’s tasty.”

We started this lockdown on a Friday, March 13, when we returned from Maui. Since then we have been good about shopping (mostly pickup, wearing gloves and masks as needed), we take out walks remote areas, and shout at our neighbors from 20 feet away. Friday marked the end of Week Three.

Pizza venerdi is a small indulgence to mark the passing of each week until we get to the other side.

What are you doing to mark the time? Finding any good pizza options out there?

7 comments on “Pizza Venerdi returns

  1. […] Venerdi! Returning to our tradition from the Rome days, we are indulging in pizza on Friday (Venerdi) nights. It’s only Papa Murphy’s but it is, along with a rare beer, a treat for […]

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  2. Hi Kathy! You went on lockdown earlier than most! We went to Maui on March 4 with some trepidation. By the time we came home on the 13th, things had changed wildly!

    As to Pizza Hut, not happening for us. We will do a proper wood-fired pizza in the US otherwise, we save our pleasures for Italy. OTOH we succumbed to Papa Murphy’s to have one meal week we didn’t need to cook!

    So far our Italian friends and contacts are OK. I am waiting for an update from Ortisei but according to the news, the Alto Adige has been spared to a great degree, unlike Bergamo and Milan. Romans are being very good about staying in and it hasn’t gotten as bad there. The real tragedy now is the people who have no money! After four weeks, they are on empty and it seems (per BBC anyway) that many are dependent on the kindness of strangers to provide handouts. We are in a similar situation in many places in the US, our small town no exception with many unemployed and no income. Food pantries are overwhelmed with clients.

    Stay well!

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  3. Chloe – I rarely hear from people who don’t like pizza!
    when we lived there, there were still several trams: the 19, 8, 3 and maybe the 5 and 2. I think you might be thinking of the #19. The #19 took us from Parioli to the Vatican on a north and west route, or the other direction to the south to Ostiense.

    We are safe, not too bored. The days fly by with projects, cooking, taking a walk, and too much screen time. Good weather is hitting this week so some work in the yard is in order!

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  4. Janet – Sometimes you just have to get a pizza! And it is the best way to eat cheese, IMO.

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  5. Funny you should mention it. We had pizza a week ago from our nearby place: a 7-minute walk, though I drove to keep the pizza from getting too cold! “It wasn’t Italian, but it was very tasty” – tons of cheese! Helps keep the chin up!

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  6. One of my husband’s favorite wines, Nero D’Avola. He likes Pizza: me, not so much. There is actually a pretty good pizza in a town close to us in France. How many trams still run in Rome? I remember when one used to run one way and one the other, somewhat circling the city. I hope you are staying safe and not too bored.

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  7. Laurel,

    Your Papa M pizza looks good! I am sure it is not as good as the pizzas in Italy. We ordered one from Pizza Hut recently – our first since the shutdown. They are usually very good, but (maybe I am just paranoid) it just did not taste the same, so I won’t be doing that again. I must learn to make my own crust. We have been in lockdown since the first of March. I take a walk in our neighborhood most days. I avoid areas that more people are running/bicycling/walking. If I do encounter anyone, I am the first one to move at least 6 ft. away.

    Have you heard anything from any contacts in the Ortisei area? I have been in touch with families that we have stayed with in Pienza and Monterossa. They are doing fine.

    Stay well

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