A colleague has got me thinking, in the way that colleagues often do – by inadvertently riling me. The poor blighter asked, in all innocent ignorance, “how do they make ‘pizza sauce’ in Italy?” Pizza sauce? Sauce? They don’t use sauce, they use tomatoes. Fret not, dear reader, I didn’t start ranting at him, I thought I’d do it here instead.
It isn’t really his fault, you see – it’s those people with whom we have a ‘special relationship’ across the ocean. Americans have been responsible for many culinary atrocities in their short time on earth but little compares to their sacrilegious contempt for pizza. Thanks to them, the very word ‘pizza’ has had its definition so mangled and pureed beyond authenticity that British and Irish people now associate it with stars, dots, huts, spongey slabs of dough, sweetcorn and bloody pineapple. Oh, and dog food too, if the ‘steak’ topping another colleague had on his dotty birthday pizza last week is anything to go by.
What is most galling is the Disney-like fashion in which the U.S. has hijacked the name ‘pizza’ – it’s not pizza. There should be a entirely different name given to this thick, doughy, sweaty, rubbery basin of fat; especially when it’s used as an open sandwich for ingredients you wouldn’t normally keep together in the same fridge – pineapple, sardines, chicken, banana, sausage, shrimp, ‘barbecue’ sauce and extra tupperwarezarella (don’t get me started on that). And, in America, where they eat piles of these things, they have to bring along another table and a cake stand in ‘pizzerias’ to house them – no wonder they needed a bigger Hut.
Instead of trying to ruin the reputation of this traditionally subtle Southern Italian peasant fare, they should simply give each one of these monstrosities a different, un-catchy, entirely American title, so we’re all clear about where the blame lies – things like Chicago Deep Dish Meat Feast Fish Face Fruit Splat Dough Head should cover most of them – just anything but pizza. Not even pregnant women should be craving such dreadful combinations.