A Tale of Pizza Passion
A beautiful Italian-American girl from Long Island met a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn and fell in love. With each other – they both had pizza passion and were already in love with pizza. He loved the little neighborhood pizza places in and around New York City. She favored her grandmother’s homemade pies.
Lillian d’Eustachio married Cary Steiner and now, many years later, we’re still together sharing our passion with you. The places we like to go (and some we won’t be going back to), stories – our own and others (everyone’s got a story about the greatest pie on earth – maybe you’ll tell us yours), and the adventure we’re on: making and baking our own.
Cary: I can remember my first slice of pizza. I was about four years old, in a little pizzeria on Livonia Avenue in Brooklyn, with yellow walls, steel tables with formica tops, a juke box, and a gigantic Baker’s Pride pizza oven. Okay, maybe it was a Bari oven, but either way it looked enormous!
My mom put this hot, colorful triangle in front of me. I was hungry, but she made me wait for it to cool (my second slice taught me about pizza burn). She helped me fold it, and I am just not a good enough writer to describe the incredible combination of taste and texture, the crackly crust of the bottom, the tomato sauce tang, the mouthfeel of the mozzarella… if you’ve had pizza in Brooklyn, you know. And you remember.
My first date with Lillian? Chinese food. But pizza has always been a part of our life and our romance.
Lillian: Everything about pizza for me was love at first sight… and first taste! Spending the whole day with Grandma Antoinette when she was in “pizza mode” was one of the high points of my childhood.
She was an excellent cook, originally from Naples, but I’ll tell you more about her and her incredible recipes down the road.
In our family, having and enjoying homemade pizza was the ultimate treat and only happened on occasion. Grandma was the master, and she made the dough the old-fashioned way, starting with a large well of flour on a bread board.
Supposedly I was her assistant, but she barely let me do anything! When the dough was ready, she always caught me picking at it, as I even liked it uncooked. (That usually earned me a tender smack on the hand accompanying her wrinkled nose.) Following that was the seemingly endless cycle: the creation of each pizza, a couple of pies in the oven at once, cut up pizzas brought to the table with all the “ooohs and aahs”, and the incredibly wonderful smells that wafted through the air. The taste was out of this world, and every family member present got to spend a little time in food heaven.
So, in my humble opinion, Grandma’s pizza was a tough act to follow.
Fortunately, Cary and I got married very young, so he got to share this marvelous experience and came to understand why I was a bit of a pizza snob in those days!
Come with us now on this journey of pizza passion as we write about the best pizza restaurants, learn and share pizza lore with you, find pizza equipment and pizza-related items, explore old and new recipes — soon we’ll be sharing pizza-making triumphs and errors with you too.