Monday, August 10, 2015

The life and teachings of Serpico reconstructed by critical historical methods

Serpico Pizza and Pasta
10 Fila Way
Sparks, MD

Serpico has been called "the best cheese pizza north of Shawan Rd." Consider that if you keep going north, you get to York, Pennsylvania and thereafter to New York, where they have much better pizza than will ever be available in the vicinity of Shawan Rd. Is Serpico the "closest thing to an authentic New York-style slice" available in Maryland? Well I ate a slice of pizza with spaghetti on it and then more crust on top of the spaghetti. Do they have that in New York? Probably somewhere, yes, they probably do, because they have everything in New York, including better pizza than suburban Maryland.

Serpico is located next to a "Saddlery," where I think they make saddles for horses. We are in the rolling countryside particular to Maryland, a completely domesticated but unfussy pastoral. It's casual, just like Serpico's Italian dining. The people there were very nice and helped us choose an appropriate array of pizza slices. They sell by-the-slice, which is how they got me to try a "spaghetti pizza" -- it was the only thing fresh out of the oven when we walked in on a Sunday afternoon. The slices are very large in surface area; a modest but not indecent amount of grease pools in the depressions.

You'll want to stop here on your way back from swimming, tubing, or boating on the Gunpowder River and points north, because you'll be hungry but not ready to trade in the grid-less rambles of the afternoon for the strip malls of Hunt Valley. Take in the innocent dusk of Sparks, Maryland while it lasts. Across Fila Way from the plaza housing Serpico, a row of vinyl-sided, as-yet-unoccupied new homes stands on a ridge named "Fox Terrace" or "Fox View" or something with foxes. Pizza Club predicts that the children raised in these homes will often walk to Serpico and gaze upon its mural of the Cinque Terre, and think about going to Italy some day maybe for a school choir competition.

The crust was pretty good, crispy and thin but well-structured. The sauce was rounded and unobtrusive. There was cheese on it also. There is no New York slice to save us now. The historical "New York slice" never existed, it didn't die for us, it just never existed. It's a convenient lie told by generations of suburban pizza parlor proprietors to win the allegiance of the damned. In a countryside so abundant and gentle as Maryland's, one can happily believe that the world was created for us and types of pizza were ordained by a loving God. One can ascribe direction and agency to history. But our world is an accident and history is a tool of the powerful -- I suspect that people from New Jersey know it better than all the rest of us and they just aren't telling. Instead, they're driving up and down this blessed nation with their smartphones, producing a Yelp apocrypha of the one true pizza of which Serpico's is a fragmentary gospel.

4/8 slices

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