There are days I am hungrier than others. On those days in which I crave comfortable clothes and a day off from work, I am not necessarily looking to plunge fork first into a prime rib cooked to medium perfection. Instead, I want only to pick at fresh hummus and pita, or to do the socially unacceptable thing my mother cringes at the idea of and eat ice cream and only ice cream for dinner.
With these last few weeks for the most part behind me, I am regaining an appetite. Because of the past few weeks I understand that mealtimes can be extremely healing, especially when such weekends involve South Philly’s annual Italian Festival and overcast...
On the crowded corner of 9th and Christian on Sunday, I shimmied to Dean Martin in between bites of my two-dollar slice from Lorenzo’s. A casual bystander might have encountered the two of us, my slice and I, and mistaken it for my last meal. This casual observer on Sunday beheld quite a scene; a day of misgivings and malnourishment swiftly revived with every bite of Lorenzo’s heartwarming and heartburn-inducing slice. Far be it from me to venture to the festival for helpings of homemade broccoli rabbe, sausage and peppers, and penne like everyone else, which sat idle in their trays while my foodie friends and I indulged what we perceived to be “human” bites of Lorenzo’s tomato pie because it was my first Sunday “back” from my freakish departure from my usual bouts with overindulgence and sheer foodie late-night dining in light of my recent personal and professional preoccupations.
It hit me on Sunday also that pizza heals late-night stoopers, day old cramps, helps to overcome breakups, and most recently chronic anxiety. Never an expensive date, pizza blends with a bottle of wine or easily transitions amidst a six-pack of a local brew like none other because it’s a girl’s best friend. In South Philly this weekend my best friend and I shimmied down Christian street like two fools in love, and my faith in food is and was restored instantly.
Not to be outdone, I abandoned Lorenzo’s only momentarily to slip a five to a woman dressed like a baker who suggested I try the St. Joe’s cake; a delicate blend of ricotta cheese and zeppoli crust. Back at the corner closest to the DJ, I dug my plastic fork into the doily encasing my soft cheese sponge cake, smiling and singing Italian classics I remember fondly from my childhood, while all around me families sat eating, talking, laughing and ducking underneath awnings whenever the rain looked like it wanted to join in on the festivities for a bit. Luckily, we managed to have our cake and eat it without finding ourselves hovered underneath some unsuspecting neighbor’s front door, and luckily my love for food prevailed in spite of a string of former pizza-less evenings.