I Love You More Than Pizza

This is probably the highest compliment I could pay anyone, and Chuck hears it on a regular basis.

I am a self-avowed pizza junkie, it is probably my biggest addiction. It’s actually a combination of two cravings – bread and cheese. I think pizza is a convenient vehicle to bring these two delicious foods together.

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I recently started watching Ugly Delicious on Netflix. It features David Chang of Momofuku, and the first episode is about pizza. They traveled to Naples, ate a crazy pizza in Japan with all authentically Japanese local ingredients, met with Wolfgang Puck at Spago and delivered Domino’s pizza.

They also did a deep dive into iconic New York and Connecticut pizza. Growing up in suburban Philadelphia, halfway between NYC and PHL New York pizza is my life.

I am admittedly a thin crust, big honking slice, pizza purist. I am a tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese guy. If anything pepperoni and maybe (maybe) sausage and mushroom or meatball. But, they have to be homemade, light, fluffy, delicious meatballs (and sliced).

Being entirely Authentically Mark, I’m going to piss off some people here. I LOVE amazing, freshly made Philadelphia Tomato Pie, but it is not pizza. I’m not a fan of Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, it has great flavors, and I love the long strings of cheese; but the texture is odd to me.

{I almost said it’s not pizza but that would be too extreme and I’d get lots of hate mail}

I’m also not really a fan of some of the odd things people put on a pizza. Pineapple, ham, and jalapenos just don’t belong on pizza.

The other thing is that I kind of like some of the random flatbreads; but, like tomato pie, they are not really pizza. The California Pizza Kitchen’s Thai Chicken; has grilled chicken breast with peanut sauce and Mozzarella, hearth-baked then topped with crisp bean sprouts, julienned carrots, slivered scallions and fresh cilantro. It’s delicious, but it’s not pizza to me.

Here’s the rationale from my culinary career and it is still a pet peeve in my life. Caesar Salad is a classic preparation; it was created in 1924 by Caesar Cardini, an Italian restaurateur in Tijuana, Mexico.  And, it has a particular list of ingredients and a specific, unique, tableside preparation.

If it I not made tableside it is now a ‘mock’ Caesar, a bottled dressing is ‘mock’ Caesar dressing, and God forbid that you add things like tomatoes, grilled chicken or anything else; it is no longer a Caesar Salad… call it something else.

Pizza is the same way. It is about the perfect thin crust, slightly blistered on the edges, crisp on the bottom, tomato sauce (not too sweet), mozzarella cheese, a touch of good olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano and then fresh basil or maybe a few other previously discussed Italian ingredients.

What is something you WILL NOT eat on pizza? And who makes your favorite pizza?

2 thoughts on “I Love You More Than Pizza

  1. Larry Glinzman-Murphy

    Pizza is NOT a large starch disk with sweetened gooey tomato sauce and rubbery cheese on it Ala Domino’s, Papa John’s etc.
    Pizza is a hand made dough stretched by hand with a delicate home made tomato sauce and fresh buffalo mozzarella.
    Best pizza I ever had was in Old Forge, PA, half way between Scranton and Wilkes Barre, at a tiny little Italian bar and pizza joint on Main St. run by a guy who emigrated from Italy in the 1930s. I once drove from Bergen County NJ just for the pizza.

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  2. Jeanne Wojnarowski

    You should read the book “Living in a Foreign Language”. It is about Michael Tucker and his wife, Jill Eikenberry (both starred on LA Law) and them vacationing in Italy. They came across an old cottage, fell in love with it (and the people and the culture)…so they bought the cottage and stayed. The book goes into a lot of detail about Italian people and thier passion for good friends and good food. The book also tells of them building an outside pizza oven and having these amazing “pizza making parties”. I’ve read it twice, and craved pizza many times while reading.

    (Side note, I’m a pineapple junkie and admit to liking it on pizza.)

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