Ahhh, Scranton. The Electric City. Sometimes (but only sometimes) I really miss my hometown. As I mentioned in the last post, I was up in NEPA (NorthEastern PennsylvaniA for those not from the area) visiting this weekend, and just arrived back in Philly a few hours ago. Scranton visits are always great. It's so nice to go to my favorite places, see friends, spend time with famil-OHWHOCARES let's talk about PIZZA.
Let's be honest here people. I love my family. My friends are my world. But somewhere around 80% of the reason I go home so frequently is for the pizza (that percentage is an average; sometimes that number is much higher). The pizza in Philly sucks. Sure, there are some I'll tolerate if I'm forced to eat them, but in the last year I have not eaten a single slice of pizza from the 215 and I'm much better for it. Philly's got a really great food/beer scene. But pizza is most certainly NOT included in that statement.
"But, Colleen," you say. "Pizza?? I thought you were lactose-intolerant." Yeah, yeah. I am. But some things are worth the pain, and NEPA pizza is one of them. I've gotta hear enough complaints from my boyfriend about my cheese-cheating habits and I don't need to hear any more from YOU too. Now get off my back and hand me another slice.
Seriously though, let's get down to business. I know, I know, this blog is supposed to be about baking and sweet treats and the like, but I need to talk to you for a minute about a kind of pizza called PAGASH. Because, if you know about it, you probably want to talk about it, and if you don't know about it, you need it in your life. Pagash goes by several names. Potato Pizza. Pierogie Pizza. Whatever you call it, doesn't matter, it's still delicious. Do you like pierogies? Do you like pizza? How about if we put them together into a warm, gooey, smooshy, crunchy snack and I'll watch your mind melt and your head explode from the sheer awesomeness of it all. If you're not familiar with pizza from the Scranton-area, you'll just have to bear with me for a minute while I try to explain. You start with a square crust, you top with cheesy mashed potatoes mixed with onions and garlic, then you finish with Old-Forge style cheese (usually a mixture that includes american and maybe some cheddar and provalone). Still with me?
My favorite version (from Ferri's in Moscow, which coincidentally has one of my top 3 favorite red pizzas as well) has chopped up white onions in the potato mixture (which is a weird yellow color, but no matter because it could be neon green and I'd still eat it) along with thinly sliced white and red onions and scallions on top. And here's the kicker: You can only get it once a year, during Lent. That's right. It's only available for 40 days and 40 nights, and if you miss it you've gotta wait till next year. Sure, I hear there are some places where you can get it year round, but I don't want those. Maybe a part of the appeal is that it's a limited edition kind of thing, like Cadbury eggs, Shamrock shakes, or Troegs Mad Elf. And considering its main components are dough, potatoes and cheese, it's not exactly something you want to be available all of the time. Regardless, it's a need that borders on obsession this time of year, so you can be sure that this particular trip home involved picking up a half-tray of the stuff before hitting the road this afternoon. And I may or may not have eaten a slice or two in the car while on the turnpike. Don't judge me. You just try to sit in a car with a fresh box of pagash for 2.5 hours and keep your hands off the stuff. I'm only human. And besides, I've done a pretty good job so far of saving Ken half the box (3 whole pieces!!), so I've exercised some restraint. But, honestly, I'm secretly hoping he doesn't like it so I can have the rest. What? People, did you miss the part where I said it's only available once a year? Sheesh! Stop Judging!
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go do something to keep myself busy and my mind off of those 3 other slices...