KingMidget's Ramblings

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I Had a Memory


The Queen of the realm and the younger Prince Midget were off at college orientation today.  The older Prince Midget was off doing some work with his cousin.  So I did what I do.  Stopped at Roma’s II Pizzeria to order a small white pizza and have a couple of Peroni’s while I waited.  Not having planned ahead for this side trip, I had no reading material of my own and I’m not one to just sit there and wait.  Gotta have something to occupy the old noggin.

By the way, Roma’s has been filling my gut for 30 years.  From the days with ex-psycho girlfriend and roommate Jon and our orders of a large pepperoni and extra mushrooms to my discovery of their white pizza and a whole lot of other goodness in between.  They are one of those comfort food places that withstand the inevitable test of time.  But that’s not my memory…

In Sacramento, we have an alternative weekly that has been around for decades.  Sacramento News & Review.  While the quality and depth of the reporting has gone down significantly over the years, there typically is still enough content to give me something to read for the 20 minutes it takes for Roma’s to make me a pizza.  And Roma’s typically has a stack of the News & Review by their front door.  And publication date is Thursday.  And this being Thursday, it’s a fresh, new issue.

So, I ordered.  “Small white pizza.”

“That’s it,” Maria, the owner, asked.

“Yep.  Nobody else is at home.”

“Okay,” she replied.  “You want a Peroni.  One or two or three.”  She smiled.

“Of course.”

I sat at the bar and opened the News & Review and a frosted glass of Peroni showed up in front of me.  I read here and there and got to this:

I used to wish I was Italian, and now I can pretend that I am by eating my way through Corti Brothers.  My favorite item lately is the Store Sauce, a richly flavored tomato and meat sauce labeled “for ravioli and spaghetti.” They make it in-house as they have for over 50 years, with chunks of ground meat, vegetables, herbs and tomato paste.  The recipe was adapted from the ragu made in the Corti home.  Serve it with Corti’s beef and spinach ravioli — possibly the oldest food product produced in Sacramento (since 1947) — and taste the result of generations of Sacramento flavor.

Corti’s is an old fashioned grocery store that has served East Sacramento for decades.  It’s the kind of place where you get your meat from the meat counter and none of it is prepackaged.  There’s a deli counter that serves the best sliced meats and cheeses and other assorted deli treats.  I have never been there when there hasn’t been a line at the deli counter.  It probably has one of the best selections of wine and beer in town.  And it has those raviolis and that sauce.

I remember the raviolis and sauce from my childhood.  The raviolis in a cardboard box, heavily dusted with flour, in perfect form.  The sauce in a small tub.  We had this when I was a child.  I have always remembered the box and the logo and words on the front.  Only thing is that my mother doesn’t remember ever serving their raviolis and sauce.  So she doesn’t have the memory.  But I do.

As an adult, I have tended to skip Corti’s.  It’s expensive, compared to the usual grocery store.  But lately, as our financial situation has improved every so slightly, I’ve made my way there every now and then.  Maybe to buy a couple of steaks that are more expensive and better quality than the neighborhood Safeway.  Maybe to get something from the deli counter.  And, yes, a few times over the last year or two, I’ve got the raviolis and the sauce.

It’s a memory.  A connection to something I remember fondly from the “old days.”

I wonder sometimes in a world of corporate chains that cover every corner, of homogenized food that is the same here as it is over there, where we all seem too distracted by technology to even really notice some of these things anymore … whether our kids and their kids will have these kind of memories in the future.  Seriously, can you imagine anybody decades form now recalling fondly … Chipotle.  The produce section of Safeway.  The smell of a McDonald’s cheeseburger.  Any of that.

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14 responses to “I Had a Memory

  1. Carrie Rubin June 11, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    I remember as a little girl my grandma taking me to the local bread company. We’d pick up fresh bread for the week. I remember the smell would make my mouth water before we even pulled in the parking lot. The baker would always give me a piece of white bread which I’d promptly roll into a tight ball and pop into my mouth. You’re right–kids of today probably won’t have those memories.

    By the way, I just saw your FB friend request. Sorry, I tend to just use my public page. I have a few family members I follow on my private site but I don’t really post there. I think I’m doing FB wrong. But at least this way, it’s not much of a time suck for me!

    • kingmidget June 11, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Feel free to ignore me on FB. More people need to. 😉

      • Carrie Rubin June 11, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        When I opened up the panel alerting me to friend requests, I saw a string of about 20 people waiting there. Oops. My bad. Pretty soon I’ll use FB as infrequently as I use Google+. And LinkedIn? Bet my inbox is packed over there. I never check in. And people tell me as a writer I should be on Pinterest and Instagram too. How would I find the time?!

      • kingmidget June 12, 2015 at 6:42 am

        WordPress and FB are the only ones I really use regularly and they are becoming less and less regular as well. As I just mentioned in another comment, once I decide to publish something again, I may ramp things up a bit, but at the moment, social media isn’t doing much for me.

  2. sknicholls June 11, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    The fondest memories I had of store or superb restaurant dining as a child have already closed their doors with the memories now beginning to fade. Big box drove them away.

    Social media? I’ve all but given up on anything on Facebook but lurking occasionally. I post little things, stupid stuff mostly just to put something up there, and rarely get a like, sometimes comments from family and close friends. I don’t entertain strangers well on there.

    Twitter is a constant stream of spam. Never even sign in. See where people have retweeted or commented in my emails, but I don’t know what to respond to most of it…guess I’m supposed to know…twitter etiquette, or something like that. Linkedin locked me out of my own account a long while back. I had two, but couldn’t recall the password for one, and it wasn’t the right one (it doesn’t even have my CV), and they won’t let me into my other one even though it’s the same name and picture. Pintrist, instagram..not even going there.

    I di run across the KBoard, and it seems all the authors hang out there. Don’t know if I can commit to that one. And, well, you see how the blog is (not) going.

    • kingmidget June 12, 2015 at 6:41 am

      I agree. LinkedIn? I signed up years ago and haven’t done a thing with it since. Twitter? I have an account. I only look at it when I’m somewhere without something else to do. I rarely post anything there and rarely respond to anybody who does. Instagram. Same thing. I have a Pinterest account because I had to to be able to see something a friend did. But I’ve never used it other than that. Facebook. I read the feed every day and occasionally post some pictures to share with people. And that’s about it. And my interactions with WordPress are getting fewer and farther in between. I think I’ll ramp it up at some point when I decide I want to publish something again, but at this point, I’m trying to minimize my social media time. It’s just not very real, you know. Except for a few. Like you, for instance. There are a few people I’ve “met” through WordPress that I feel like I’ve made a real connection with and who I feel I can have real conversations with, but for the most part, it’s a very superficial way to live life.

      • sknicholls June 12, 2015 at 7:27 am

        I’m on an e-cig forum, learning about how to DIY, make my own ejuices, build my own coils and such…so I don’t have to pay big box prices, and can buy wholesale. We use Google Hang Outs to get to know each other better and chat. It’s face to face, and really makes a huge difference in experience. And as an added bonus, six people bought my book. 🙂

  3. Bruce Thiesen June 12, 2015 at 6:49 am

    Big Food ruined plenty, didn’t it?

    • kingmidget June 12, 2015 at 6:53 am

      Yep. One of the reasons I’d like to move to a small town is to get away from it. We had a high school student from Australia stay with us for a couple of weeks. He was amazed (and not in a good way) at the number of restaurants and stores and everything else. This is Australia — another first world, developed country. We are killing ourselves with the endless strip malls and fast food and chain restaurants at every major intersection, and even plenty of minor intersections.

  4. Kevin Brennan June 12, 2015 at 7:14 am

    I think everyone has a Corti’s or a Roma’s in their memory banks, but you’re lucky they still exist in your neck of the woods. Sadly, where I come from (St. Louis, originally) most such places have been replaced by corporate franchises, and people don’t seem to mind. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone,” eh?

    Even more sadly, out here we’ve had to watch while Peet’s Coffee has become a mere shadow of its old self, dispensing brown water in paper cups. Twenty years ago, Peet’s had Starbuck’s beat by a mile!

  5. Philip Walter June 13, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Two unrelated things.
    I have a real memory of drinking strawberry syrup on a farm on a trip overseas when I was a lot younger, I’ve never had it since and often think about it. I guess I could attempt to make some it can’t be hard, strawberries a mason jar leave.

    The other is I had to look up ‘white pizza’ which isn’t a phrase or term I’ve heard. That lead me on a side-trip about styles and regional variants.

    And of course a third thing is that doing this before breakfast was very distracting and I’m so hungry.

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