Pizza. Almost everyone likes it, and many people love it. It can be a hot meal or a cold snack. And as one of the most popular foods in the country – one of the most popular foods in the world – some people feel the need to put their particular stamp on it.
Leaving aside the debates about Sicilian style or Neapolitan, Deep-dish or traditional, or the popular newcomer on the block, thin-crust… we move straight to the toppings.
There are three heavy-hitters on the “wrong” toppings list, toppings guaranteed to trigger arguments or even fistfights (if you’re from New Jersey)… anchovies, jalapenos and, of course, the dreaded pineapple.
I am here to settle the divisiveness that accompanies these pizza discussions, once and for all. I am here to declare that all of these toppings are, in fact, normal and acceptable (if not palatable to some.) I can say this with authority not because of how much pizza I’ve eaten, nor as a pizza snob from New Jersey, and certainly not as a representative of all things normal (a look back through my Night Owls would quickly render that last point ridiculous.) I can say it with authority because I’ve found some truly wrong toppings. Things that some people like but which should be understood to have very limited appeal. They aren’t pizzas. They’re Night Owl Pizzas.
BANANAS: Banana curry pizza is a thing. Specifically, it’s a thing in Sweden. Not as big as the kebab pizza – which is another abomination for which the Swedes must someday answer – but a serious thing, nonetheless. Reds, in Los Angeles, tried to market it for a while in the United States. They still have their kebab pizza available but the banana curry pizza is no longer on their regular menu. Some things just aren’t right. But for those who want to see a recipe, some Swedes happily display their national pride online. (andmykitchensink.com)
STINGING NETTLES: What’s better on a pizza than a poisonous herb? The obvious first answer would be “Anything”, but only for those who haven’t read the rest of this Night Owl (they get worse). Nevertheless, after proper cooking, the tiny hypodermic needles covering the surface of the leaves are rendered inert and no longer inject their mix of histamine and formic acid into any flesh that touches them. Any food that requires special gloves to handle pre-baking is one that probably shouldn’t be considered a default “food” however. That didn’t stop the recipe from making it into Food & Wine magazine, though.
CICADAS: Yes, bugs. Not satisfied with cricket “flour”, the naturalists who insist that eating insects is somehow satisfying decided to hijack pizza in an effort to promote their cause. Granted, it’s a way to get rid of some of the cicadas that periodically swarm, but there’s no good reason for this. If you see a giant bug in a pizza parlor it means that you should leave. Especially if the bug is baked onto the top of the pie.
PLACENTA: For those who feel a desperate need to one-up the insect eaters, there’s always low-grade cannibalism. It’s inspired by the fact that many animals eat the placenta after the birth of the young. There are many other animal habits that I have no desire to follow. I see no reason to break that tradition in order to consume human flesh. For this one, though, there’s a full article about the experience, at lifehacker.com.au. Be forewarned, the images may be a bit disturbing, even if the article is funny at points.
There. I’d like to hope we all agree that anchovies, jalapenos and even pineapple no longer seem nearly so strange. I’d very much like to hope that.
Question of the night: What is your preferred pizza style & toppings?