Taste Memory

When I was a kid, not so long ago, my mother would always have the best dinner parties. My three siblings and I couldn’t wait to dig into the hors d’oeuvres that she would make. She has always been big on pre-meal meals. Most people would be stuffed before going in to dinner – then continue to unabashadly eat her delectable meals. My grandparents also had great little bites before a big meal. Typically smaller than my mom’s spread, their hors d’oeuvres were called “canapes” (can-uh-pays). One of my favorites was a cornichon wrapped in salami, held together by a toothpick, that my mother’s mother used to serve.

So, today, when L couldn’t figure out what she wanted as a snack, I looked around the counter and said, “I know the perfect snack for you. My mom used to make pizzas out of pita and everyone loved them!”

L said, “Pizzas?”

I said, “No, not the kind you are thinking of. No sauce.” I had made pizzas out of tiny pitas a couple of weeks ago and J thought they were fabulous, but L did not. “You’ll see. You’ll love them. I loved them.”

I haven’t had these little “pizzas” in more than 20 years. But, I still remember how good they were. Mom made them using this EXOTIC bread called “Sahara” bread. Pita, like we have in every market today, was not widely available and Sahara bread was one of the first commercially available, I think. Made by Thomas’s, and still around, it is a bit thicker and chewier than most pitas.

Mom cut each Sahara bread/pita into 2 halves and opened each pocket so that she had 4 pieces. Then, she buttered each piece lightly and toasted it in the oven. Once out of the oven, she sprinkled grated sharp cheddar on each piece, dusted it with some “fines herbes” seasoning and popped it back into the oven until the cheese was bubbly and the edges of the pita were nicely browned. Then, she cut each moon shaped piece into 4 pieces. Mom would even make these ahead, freeze them and re-warm them in a hot oven (if there were ever any missing….she never let on that she noticed that we would nab them occasionally). They taste good hot and at room temperature.

I just made these pizzas as a snack for L. She loved them, as I thought she would. I bit into one and was whisked back to the ’70s. They taste just as good as ever and I think I may serve them at a dinner party.

Retro is so hip.


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