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The One Inviolable Pizza Topping Rule


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Pizza is a blank canvas and no academy should determine what to paint on it. IMO anything goes (not that I like everything, but it is great that the only limits are the cook's imagination).

For a good time check out the Japan forum pizza thread.

Pizza in Japan

On the other hand, I could be talked into banning overly doughy crust; yuck!

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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Well, since France is on neither coast, let me tell you, just for fun, some of the combinations on the menu of our local Rapido Pizz, which delivers on a scooter within 15 minutes of your order:

There are Halal pizzas, which include combinations like kebab, Emmenthal, tomato, onions and olive, or one with merguez, tomato, onions, olives, and crème fraîche. There are the Northern pizzas, like the Alsacienne with bacon, onions, emmenthal, olives, and crème fraîche, or the Savoyarde, which is the same but with the addition of potatoes. And then, in the "traditional" category, there's chorizo with tomato, Emmenthal, crème fraîche and olives, or brandade (a salt cod purée) with the same other stuff, or the Nîmoise with chorizo and brandade and the same other stuff.

And then, look out Sam, there's a pizza called the Ecstasy with tomato, Emmenthal, chorizo, ham, and pineapple, and the Tropical with tomato, Emmenthal, mushrooms, bacon, and pineapple. Weirdly, there's also a "Texas pizza" with tomato, Emmenthal, merguez, chorizo, and crème fraîche.

But of course, my beloved Roquefort with figatelli, which is usually pork liver sausage from Corsica (as opposed to pork blood) doesn't come on a scooter. We have to drive to get it, and it's worth evey litre of diesel to do so.

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I am beginning to discern a trend. 

Northeast eaters, who have ready access to excellent pizza not made by thick crust pushing big business, tend to favor the classic pizza.

I spent a year in VT, and my sister lives in NH, and I haven't had good pizza in either of those states. The pizza there pretty much sucked, actually, and the sauce was painfully sweet.

If you can't put pineapple on pizza, then you shouldn't be allowed to put sugar in the sauce.

Good points. Sweet sauce is an abomination.

I was not rigorous enough in locating the pizza belt. My bad. It begins in the Boston area and runs in a strip about 30 to 50 miles on either side of I-95 or the Amtrak Northeast Corridor. It ends below Baltimore, but on ethical grounds cannot enter DC.

There may be islands of good pie elsewhere, but these are fortuitous aberrations.

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Well, since France is on neither coast, let me tell you, just for fun, some of the combinations on the menu of our local Rapido Pizz, which delivers on a scooter within 15 minutes of your order:

There are Halal pizzas, which include combinations like kebab, Emmenthal, tomato, onions and olive, or one with merguez, tomato, onions, olives, and crème fraîche.  There are the Northern pizzas, like the Alsacienne with bacon, onions, emmenthal, olives, and crème fraîche, or the Savoyarde, which is the same but with the addition of potatoes. . . .

I'll make another axiomatic statement about pizza: It needs to be comprised of ingredients that can reasonably fall within the culinary range of Italian flavors. "Somewhat flat bread with stuff on it" is, after all, not a uniquely Italian phenomenon. Why should we devalue the Armenian tradition by calling lahmajune "Armenian pizza"? Why would the French want to call tarte Alsacienne "Alsatian pizza" or pissaladière "Provençal pizza"?

Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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I'll make another axiomatic statement about pizza:  It needs to be comprised of ingredients that can reasonably fall within the culinary range of Italian flavors.  "Somewhat flat bread with stuff on it" is, after all, not a uniquely Italian phenomenon.  Why should we devalue the Armenian tradition by calling lahmajune "Armenian pizza"?  Why would the French want to call tarte Alsacienne "Alsatian pizza" or pissaladière "Provençal pizza"?

Next thing you know, they'll be putting broccoli raab on pizza.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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I'll make another axiomatic statement about pizza:  It needs to be comprised of ingredients that can reasonably fall within the culinary range of Italian flavors.  "Somewhat flat bread with stuff on it" is, after all, not a uniquely Italian phenomenon.  Why should we devalue the Armenian tradition by calling lahmajune "Armenian pizza"?  Why would the French want to call tarte Alsacienne "Alsatian pizza" or pissaladière "Provençal pizza"?

Next thing you know, they'll be putting broccoli raab on pizza.

Um, they've been doing that for years - nay, decades - perhaps centuries.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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I like all different kinds of food! I'll try anything once or twice!

My favorite pizza toppings are:

Light sauce made from fresh tomatoes out of my Kansas garden (includes several healthy chops of fresh basil from the same garden)

Mushrooms

Black olives

A light sprinkle of Italian venison sausage

Fresh mozz cheese

Heavenly :wub:

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Mushrooms don't have to be precooked. Just slice them very thin and scatter them across the top. Baked properly, the 'shrooms come out crisp and delicious.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I like all different kinds of food!  I'll try anything once or twice!

My favorite pizza toppings are:

Light sauce made from fresh tomatoes out of my Kansas garden (includes several healthy chops of fresh basil from the same garden)

Mushrooms

Black olives

A light sprinkle of Italian venison sausage

Fresh mozz cheese

Heavenly  :wub:

Your Kansas garden? Where are you? And when can I come over for pizza? :wink:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Next thing you know, they'll be putting broccoli raab on pizza.

Um, they've been doing that for years - nay, decades - perhaps centuries.

Um, yes, I know, it was a joke. And, it still sucks on pizza, even if they've been doing it for centuries. Especially if it's not properly blanched and wrung out till dry. Broccoli raab is a side dish and deserves to stay that way.

I like my pizza either with almost nothing on it (a pizza bianca), or with cheese, tomato and basil, and sometimes with cheese, tomato and high-quality sausage.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Whatever, grampa. Why don't you admit that broccoli rabe gets stuck in your dentures, and that's why you won't endorse it? It's delicious on pizza, not to mention being appropriate by tradition.

--

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I say (and I have said it before, so I'll keep it short) that America has often flipped Italian culinary ideas on their heads in transforming Italian food into Italian-American food.  There are a lot of reasons for this that I won't bother elaborating, but to make an obvious example:  In Italy, pasta dishes are first and foremost about the pasta.  They may be considered "pasta with a condiment," and the amount of condiment is likely to be modest.  In America, we have changed this idea so that the pasta becomes a mere vehicle for the sauce and the condiment becomes the game.  This may be considered "sauce, with some pasta," and the amount of sauce is likely to be copious.  In this case, and most others, this transformation has had a detrimental effect.

Something similar has happened with respect to pizza.  I don't think that pizza needs to adhere rigidly to Neapolitan orthodoxy, but I do think pizza should be about "crust (with some stuff on it)" rather than being about "a big pile of toppings (on a crust)."  We call that second idea "pizza" here, but I firmly believe that it is something else entirely.  Something that can be good?  Sure, sometimes.  Personally, it is not usually to my taste and I don't believe it can aspire to the heights of perfection that can be obtained through the crust-centric approach.

All of which is to say that, while I don't "insist only on the three official variants" I do think that the paradigm that calls for toppings piled high to the heavens results at best in a pedestrian product, and usually something that could perhaps aspire to edible.  The degradation of the noble pizza, indeed.

As for pineapple.  That's just wrong.  But hey, don't take our word for it.  But, at the same time, don't be surprised when the pizza delivery guy turns out to be Bernardo Gui, and you're dragged before the Pizza Inquisition as a heretic.

Very well said.

This has been an area of relearning for me the past few years, but has made a world of difference. When I learned how great simple can be there wass no going back. Pizza and pasta are 2 of the best examples of this.

Jeff

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I like all different kinds of food!  I'll try anything once or twice!

My favorite pizza toppings are:

Light sauce made from fresh tomatoes out of my Kansas garden (includes several healthy chops of fresh basil from the same garden)

Mushrooms

Black olives

A light sprinkle of Italian venison sausage

Fresh mozz cheese

Heavenly  :wub:

Your Kansas garden? Where are you? And when can I come over for pizza? :wink:

I'm north of Halstead --way out in the country. Halstead is about 35 miles north of Wichita.

And, yeah! Come on over :biggrin: Last summer the deer at my tomatoes, so this year I guess I'll have to sleep in the garden to shoo them away.

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The combination of pineapple with any kind of cheese in an abomination. Pineapple with ham is okay. Cheese with ham is fabulous. Cheese with plasticky mozzarella cheese is vomit worthy.

Decades ago, my dormitory served food that was pretty dang abominable. One item to which I came to look forward, however, was a hot sandwich comprised of a hamburger bun, some unknown yellow cheese or cheese product, ham, pineapple and a maraschino cherry. I may have had to force myself to take the initial bite the first time I saw the thing but I thought it was a pretty good concoction once I overcame my reluctance.

That experience no doubt led me to try, a year or so later and at the encouragement of my girlfriend(now my wife), the Hawaiian pizza at the late-great Morningtown(or was it Morningside?)pizza on 11th St. in Seattle's U District. It was immensely satisfying and I become nostalgic even now just thinking about that pizza even if I no longer have much interest in ordering one of today's versions.

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Can we at least all agree that those awful, weird tasting, rings of canned black olives should be banned forever? :hmmm:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I can't stand the bland sausage that you get from chains...

but the two worst pizzas that I have ever seen were in Europe five years ago. In the Paris metro, Pizza Hut was advertising its Grand Canyon Pizza -- one of the toppings was TORTILLA CHIPS!

The other awful pizza that I saw advertised was while in Madrid. Their German pizza had German sausage and yellow mustard.

Edited by Reignking (log)
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At this point, I don't think I'll share our latest pizza creation: canned chili, sliced hot dogs, chopped onion, mozz and cheddar cheese, and then a healthy squirt of mustard when it comes out of the oven. Oops, I said too much...

Actually, for me, pizza's pepperoni & mushroom or white pizza with some chopped spinach, but I've tried almost everything.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“A favorite dish in Kansas is creamed corn on a stick.”

-Jeff Harms, actor, comedian.

>Enjoying every bite, because I don't know any better...

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You are all horrible, awful, terrible people, I've had a pizza craving for three days and YOU ARE MAKING IT WORSE. *sigh* I may have to scoot out tonight to this great little Italian takeaway place (run by actual Italians, before we get all up in arms) near Tribunal...

I would gladly join you in your fear of pineapple on pizza, were it not that a) I like it and b) I was recently in Firenze, where I ate most excellent pizza in a restaurant that, indeed, offered one with pineapple. Strangely, the only ones ordering it were the Italians. I stuck with quattro stagioni, myself, but I have to say the pineapple looked delicious. And yes, this happened. I was there with witnesses. :rolleyes:

And just to flip you all out totally, try pizza that has a nice light tomato sauce with a topping of grilled peaches sometime. No, seriously.

My one golden rule of pizza is that the crust has to be able to stand up to whatever you're putting on it. I don't care if it's thin pizza, deep-dish pizza, whatever, if the crust gets soggy, you're screwed, regardless of the toppings.

Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

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Sorry! That's way too many rules. I'm an artist by day, and rules don't suit me. I just don't want my pizza nasty. Pineapple's nasty. I don't need a rule to know that. No pineapple for me. If you want it, you can have it, but keep my pizza pineapple free.

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In the UK we do struggle to find decent pizza (Though I have heard tale of a crazy maverick in Brixton - clicky). However a fairly recent phenomenon is that the best pizzas - well the most edible anyway aren't found in takeaways, pizza places or Italian restaurants but in the increasing number of bars that have fitted proper Pizza ovens. realising that it's a way to knock out decent food with a minimum of staff and with fairly low food costs. Plus it makes quite a nice centrepiece if they have it on open display.

Me and my housemates went to one tonight (2 for 1 on tuesdays!) Being the UK it had some wacky choices, and maybe more toppings than a purist would appreciate, but they are mostly well thought out. They do have a crispy duck pizza - it's actually quite pleasant, if you don't actually think of it as a pizza, but the ones we ordered were good (note to self though, if you are ordering to share, don't get one with a soft cooked egg!)

I love animals.

They are delicious.

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