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Pure and Simple

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dedicated to all those who have a dream. Those who never gave up, and those who are still searching. Whatever it may be.
...as they say, sometimes they come back.

“I started going to Italy a lot with my family, and once I was old enough I started to go on my own a lot, up to the point where I was going 3, 4 times a year, and I just really became obsessed with baking. It’s such a difficult thing to master, because every time you do it, one little thing changes your outcome: the weather, the way the water is, the flour, every batch of flour is a little different, the way it’s milled, the time of the year, the way the oven is working”.
“I just so got into it, I just kind of got lost in the idea of trying to become good at it. My grandmother was a super big influence on me, and my mother also. And also music, like punk rock hardcore music, mostly. It really spoke to me and made me feel like I wasn’t alone”.
“It’s just doing it with total awareness of every detail, you know it’s just being aware and constantly pushing”.
“I decided to open a place in New York City. When I was younger, that was always my goal. I had been saving a little bit of money here and there, and eventually, after six months of looking around, I found a location in the East Village, and I signed a lease and I started construction”.
“When I was kid and I was going to Naples and eating pizza... there was no pizza like that in America. When you went to Naples and walk down those back alley ways, and you go in there in these pizzerias where they had these beehive-shaped ovens covered in this tiny little tile, this raging fire flying out of the mouth of the oven, and these guys nonchalantly just sliding dough and then pulling it out like no care in the world. It’s like covered in wetness and oil, but not heavily topped, the focus is always on the dough".
“Every book that was written in the 70s and 80s, I’ve read! If it was about baking, Naples, or pizza, I’ve read it from cover to cover like five times! It was so incredible to make something with so few ingredients and have it have so many levels of flavor and be so different every day. And to me that was creative. Instead of having all these other options, to have olives, and peppers, and sausage, and tadatatata... I was like I’m already stresses out and wanna master this one thing that’s constantly evolving every single day and throughout the day, why would I even wanna deal with anything else? It’s so much easier to make anything, including pizza, with the more crap you put on it or the more things that you do to hide the truth of it and the simplicity of it”.
“When you walk into our place, that’s like basically walking into my living room. Everything in there I built with my own hands, everything hanging on the walls is from people that I care about, and beyond all that, the product that I’m serving is everything that I can give”.
“Every day I see new things, I discover new things. I’ve been doing this for 21 years, and I’m still struggling, and I’m still searching. So my universe is always expanding, because I’m lost inside this universe that I’ve created for myself”.

(A. Mangieri, Pure and Simple)

Una Pizza Napoletana

Picture taken from Una Pizza Napoletana website