To begin, just assume that I have already distilled my rant down to the essentials, which follow:
- Pizza dough can vary, in texture, in flavor, in ingredients. There are so many good ones here in the US that I cannot criticize. The purebred Italians in my family even enjoy Pizza Hut, on nights when they don’t really feel like chewing.
- Mozzarella would be SO much better if they would skip the “low moisture” concept, whatever that means. Best I can tell, it means we are going to substitute the closest industrial thing to Scamorza and just call it mozzarella. Because real mozzarella is mostly liquid, and gives the pizza its moisture in the very hot oven. This is the difference between rubbery chewy melted cheese, and delicately tender, flavorful melted mozzarella, whether cow, buffalo or goat.
- Toppings? How about squid, or mussels in the shell? (Italy) Or french fries and hot dogs? (Italy) Tuna and onion?(my favorite, Italy) Potato? (Italy) Or just whatever leftovers you have brought from home to the pizzeria and thrown on there? (Italy). I am not immune to the charms of a luscious sugary cinnamon-apple concoction either, if cooked to perfection. (Definitely NOT Italy). But you can keep your pineapple (USA) and your chicken (USA) and your Canadian bacon (America, one presumes) but I don’t want to be interpreted as the food police so: whatever. Put some kale, peanuts and corn on it if you want, but I am not eating that thang.
- The major problem, above all the others (to my mind): Why… good Lord! …do pizzas of every type here in the US have something resembling cooked tomato sauce on them? Something called “marinara” (what the heck is that??) A cooked tomato stew that could as easily go on pasta or be used for their version of lasagne or a base for stuffed eggplant? And why, oh why, does this sauce contain sugar and dusty shelf-scrapings that pose as spices? Uck. Italy: Crushed tomato, lightly pureed, and a dash of salt. That’s it. Raw, never cooked. THAT is what goes onto the dough before it is tricked out with all the other stuff. Good olive oil (if you can find any) over the final build, and into the HOT oven it goes. Wood, gas or electric, as long as it is hot enough. If you want some basil then for heaven’s sake, go get some fresh leaves and tear them onto your dough, tomato, mozzarella, and whatever else.
- OK. As I write this I am digesting the pizza I had at a popular pizza-and-beer place, along with a salad, one thing that the Americans excel at creating. Nothing like a good Caesar salad in “Murica!” And good beer! But after that pizza, I am going to have to brush my teeth to get rid of the
- overcooked aftertaste.
*…and everybody has opinions.
“Super Heroes’ Day” (oil on canvas)