Arguably the first British Pizza

“Apologies, Sir,—” Whike all Unctiously, “the foreign Word again, was …?”

“The apology is mine,— Pizza being a Delicacy of Cheese, Bread, and Fish ubiquitous in the region ‘round Mount Vesuvius… In my Distraction, I have reach’d for the Word as the over-wrought Child for its Doll.”

“You are from Italy, then, sir?” inquires Ma.

“In my Youth I pass’d some profitable months there, Madam.”

“Do you recall by chance how it is they cook this ‘Pizza’? My Lads and Lasses grow weary of the sam Daily Gruel and Haggis, so a Mother is ever upon the Lurk for any new Receipt.”

“Why, of course. If there be a risen Loaf about…?”

Mrs. Brain reaches ‘neath the Bar and comes up with a Brown Batch-Loaf, rising since Morning, which she presents to “Cousin Ambrose,” who begins to punch it out flat upon the Counter-Top. Lud, fascinated, offers to assault the Dough himself, quickly slapping it into a very thin Disk of remarkable Circularity.

“Excellent, Sir,” Maire beams, “I don’t suppose anyone has a Tomato?”

“A what?”

“Saw one at Darlington Fair, once,” nods Mr. Brain.

“No good, in that case,— eaten by now.”

“The one I saw, they might not have wanted to eat…”

Dixon, rummaging in his Surveyor’s Kit, has come up with the Bottle of Ketjap, that he now takes with him ev’rywhere. “This do?”

“That was a Torpedo, Husband.”

“That Elecktrickal Fish, such as those styl’d by the Neopolitans, Cicinielli…

“Will Anchovy do?” Mrs. Brain indicates a Cask of West Channel ‘Choives from Devon, pickl’d in Brine.

“Capital. And Cheese?”

“That would be what’s left of the Stilton, from the Ploughman’s Lunch.”

“Very promising indeed,” Maire wringing his Hands to conceal their trembling. “Well then, let us just…”

By the Time what is arguably the first British Pizza is ready to come out of the Baking-Oven beside the Hearth, the Road outside has gone quiet and the Moorland dark, several Rounds have come and pass’d, and Lud is beginning to show signs of Apprehension. “At least ’tis cloudy tonight, no Moonlight’ll be gettingthro’,” his mother whispers to Mr. Emerson.

—Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon (pp 235-236)

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