Cookbook Keepers: Page 30

Cookbook buys seldom travel. Two fates await a cookbook.
It reposes on a collector's shelf, or it becomes part of an estate and handed down to next-of-kin.

Teaser: While his driver's license name is very middle America, Michael Evans, it is understandable how and why he has become an international pizza champ. His mother's dad was named Guiseppe Collura. As Pizza Mike in his Milan, Italy, 2001, competition, his winning pizza was made with Guiseppe's sausage recipe.

Keeper Michael Evans
a.k.a. Pizza Mike

International Pizza Champ
Gourmet Galaxy Showtime Chef
TV Food Network Road Tripper
In-Character actor Jim Leo Films
Soccer Dad, Westerville, Ohio

Keeper Michael Evans has touched down on all the right Italian food stops. He's owned a neighborhood pizza shop in a pepperoni community. He's owned a top starred Italian sit down restaurant. He pioneered a successful local option election (Westerville, Ohio) that had banned beer and booze for the last hundred years. After a door-to-door petition drive the town voted down the era of the Anti-Saloon League. That was the outfit Carrie Nation and her band of temperance advocates busted up bars with a bible-in-hand and a hatchet in the other. Carrie died in 1911 but her influences created the Volstead Act in 1919.

In 1919 booze was banned and bootleggers thrived. On the books it was called the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. By 1933 the nation was tired of moonshine and gangsters...only little Westerville remained true to the Carrie Nations.

Pizza Mike thought his townspeople might like a beer with their stromboli. He was right. To celebrate he cut a strand of spaghetti to open his doors. Michael's Pizza, An Italian Kitchen, was open serving pies with a beer-battered crust and a long neck to wash it down. Elliot Ness was there in spirit.

Pizza Mike knows his market. There 100 acres of pizza served daily in the United States. There are 240 million slices served annually in the United States. Pizza Mike, a.k.a. Michael Evans, has long range plans to compile a list of the "best," a.k.a. favorites in all American pepperoni cities. As he says..."everyone needs a hobby."

Of course this is his favorite cookbook:
Rocco's Italian American
More than 150 Recipes from Rocco and Mama
by Rocco DiSpirito
Publisher: Hyperion
c 2004

Michael Evans granddad, Sicilian, came to this country and became a successful produce stand operator. The most valuable items he brought with him... his sausage and sauce recipes. The rest of that story is served from a food truck window, one pizza at a time.

With a name like Evans, how can he be an authentic culinary champ when it comes to such an internationally famous food as a pizza? Genes, remote just a tab, may be a reason. His grandfather Guiseppe Collura started it all. He was a typical Italian farmer, baker, cook and chef in the Italian Navy in that order. And he knew how to create recipes that he liked. If the rest of the world agreed his recipes were the best...best beyond his kitchen, so be it. Michael Evans's mother, Paeola Collura, recorded and passed along Guiseppe's formula to son Michael, today billed in movie and TV Food Network credits, as Pizza Mike. In today's recording of name claims, the Internet system of domain acclaim and registration, this Pizza Mike owns the early posting for Pizza Mike dot com. Repeat: dot.com. Just for good business trademark safety, Evans also owns dot,net, dot.biz, dot.us and for today's world, dot.tv. (Pizza Mike's webmeister also practices copyright law between his normal lucid hours of midnight and 6 a.m.)

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