A Little Love in Every Slice
I’m singing “You’re going to make it after all” to myself like I normally do when grocery shopping while looking at the price of meat and tossing it into my cart with the resign Mary Tyler Moore did at the start of her 70’s sitcom after she dumped Rob and moved to Minneapolis.
It was then I spotted something in the freezer I’ve never seen before and was spellbound – it was a Pizzeria Uno deep dish pizza. I enjoyed it later that day and had my first taste-based memory which I’ve heard is a thing but never experienced personally.
Uno’s was where my amigos and I went in college on South St. in Philadelphia on those rare occasions I had extra money to blow on eating out. Afterwards we’d head next door to the then new experience of a cookie store where a pal working there would give us free cookies! Bliss as I couldn’t bake in my apartment oven as it forced all the roaches to scatter out and across the kitchen floor and up my pants’ legs!
After graduation I was working in Paris and talked my co-workers into going to the Uno’s there for the then novel idea of a deep dish pizza. (They much preferred the Russian restaurant where the waiters twirled around like Bolsheviks on crack flinging meat and vodka hither and yon.)
I’ve not seen or heard of an Uno’s pizza since but it was as tasty as I imagined until I got to the crust. Biting it I remembered how the crust was made from butter-laden, fried mashed potatoes! Heaven in my mouth!
This was all the more surprising as I was born without a sense of smell. Oh, I can get the life threatening odors like fire, dirty diapers and decomposing flesh but the world of food, flora and perfumes having aromas escapes me.
Still I wear aftershave daily as I hear other folks can smell it. Also I cook with an abundance of onion and garlic as I can, at times, get a whiff of them.
Oh, and much to the chagrin of my blushing bride, you’ll never find coffee at my house. Not only can I smell it but it is olfactory on par with decomposing flesh to me. I’m baffled folks not only like coffee but Starbucks build an empire off the most foul smell known to man or beast!
Those lacking a sense smell also lack a sense of taste as most of taste is based on smell. I’ve always judged my meals on texture rather than some mysterious concept of taste. Suffice to say I was never a foodie though I adore baking for the more aesthetic aspects once the roaches and I parted ways.
All this smell nonsense came to a head one day during the grade’s school anti-drug program involving a dog mascot known as McGruff the Crime Dog. It was the only time my blushing bride attended a grade school event despite having three children in attendance. Part of me was worried she’d stand up during the ceremony and profess drugs were great and well worth trying. I only wish she had.
Aside: John Morales, the actor who played the crime-fighting cartoon character McGruff the Crime Dog, was sentenced to 16 years in prison stemming from a 2011 arrest in which police seized 1,000 marijuana plants, 27 weapons – including a grenade launcher – and 9,000 rounds of ammunition from his home!
When all three of my little angels were in grade school I baked near weekly treats for their teachers. I knew my wards were a change in the wind’s direction away from being little devils. Keeping their teachers on a sugar high was key to making them like my devil’s spawn on their bad days.
Prior to the presentation I visited my son’s third grade when the teacher, the aptly named, Mrs. Love, came into the hall to give me a big squeeze. Love loves brownies!
I squeezed into the seat next to my wife for the in-process drug awareness show. She immediately turned on me to stage-whisper in a high-pitched tone that forced McGruff the Crime Dog, then on stage, to howl. The gal that claimed to be the mother of my children screeched “Why do you wreak of Chanel No. 5!?!?!”
Realizing I had the attention of the entire auditorium I merely replied “I felt the Love”.