It’s my intent to keep all these posts as simple as possible. Sometimes things happen and there’s a boatload of photos and the verbiage has gone off the rails. For this one I truly intend to keep in concise and to the point if at all possible. I mean it’s just pizza right? Ah well everything has significance. And the location has just as much importance as the subject at hand.
But when it comes to pizza I just can’t talk about the pizza. A drive through one of the most charming towns I’ve ever seen, Swedesboro, New Jersey (previous Jersey posts can be found here and over yonder), means the pizza and everything else I’ll experience while here is going be larger than life. At this point I don’t care how good or bad the pizza is. Actually yes I do, it better be good enough to come up with another in my long tradition of melodramatic openings.
Mama Francesca Pizzeria doesn’t have a website, I can barely find a menu, but more importantly what it does have is soul. It has character, it was charm, and it has a welcoming aura that can’t be measured my clicks, searches, or any other technical term that wasn’t even on our radars in what feels like as short lifetime ago.
What if I never walked in and only imagined the pizza as the greatest thing ever. It would be more romantic to have just driven by and thought what could have been. But this isn’t how things work or how you eat pizza. You actually have to eat the pizza.
The exterior took me back to places I went with my family when I was a kid. And I remember all the pizza being the best, no matter how good or bad it may actually have been. I loved my cheese, I loved my bread, I loved my sauce. But then I also loved everything else that went with the package, company, location, and that moment in time.
The inside had small counter with a few places to sit facing the window. The main seating area was led by a set of stairs and that’s the part that truly to me back to my childhood. I remember seeing places like that but can’t recall exactly where. And that might be the best form of Deja Vu imaginable.
I’m not a kid anymore. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get that same vibe of feeling happy, harmonious, and just grateful to grab a couple of slices and enjoy myself.
I came at an odd time so the only slices available were cheese and a white vegetable. That made my decision easier.
This is nowhere near the best pizza I’ve ever had. But I didn’t expect it. What I did get was slices that reminded me of my childhood. That cheese was your standard cheese with a thick and crooked looking crust, looking like it’s been through a war. But I didn’t care. It was perfect for this moment. I’m cherishing it even more now as I write it versus when I was actually here back in August.
And just to clarify, the white chicken veggie is not something I frequently had as a kid. I can’t say any stood out. If it did I would actually think something was seriously wrong. I guess I was mostly a cheese and pepperoni kind of guy. This slice was stacked with vegetables, and it was exactly what it was supposed to be, and nothing more. It was a slice good enough to eat and enjoy but it’s not going win and awards. And it doesn’t matter.
I loved this town. I would write about other experiences I’ve had here but that means I would have to create other blogs. It would water down some of my own memories . Some are best kept internal, for you, for me, and for the universe.
If I could write about small towns every week I could. I don’t seek them out. I let them find me. It’s fun to dream and envision living in a place like this but with the understanding that maybe I’m heaping praise on somewhere I’ve never been with no expectations, no hang ups, or any other biases. And maybe the second and subsequent visits would lose its luster.
As we approach the holidays I hope to discover more places that feel like just that, the holidays. It’s important to see the good in everything and it’s easy said and done. But that just sounds like kids stuff.