The World Hates Pizza
What I am about to say is so controversial, so racist and disgusting, that I fully expect to receive thousands of hate mails as well as a written threat from the JDL. Jews cannot make pizza. G-d bless them, they try pretty hard, and they do make things that look like pizza, but what they make is not pizza. I'm not a bigot, I'm sure there are some very talented Jewish pizza chefs out there, but kosher frozen pizza is a thing not meant for human consumption. I recently made the mistake of buying two kosher frozen pizzas at the grocery store. I noticed a pizza with unusual toppings like eggplant and yellow peppers - both things that I feel can work on a good pizza - and so I picked up two without carefully examining the packages. What I mean to say is I looked intently at the picture of the pizza on the box and put it in the grocery basket, somehow missing the giant menorah and Hebrew writing all over the box.
I was already experiencing the hunger premonition of a delicious pizza a few days later when I removed the box from my freezer. To my horror I noticed that this was not normal pizza - it was some sort of bizarre Yiddish pizza meant to be eaten by the exotic Jews of the east. I was daring and hungry, two things that should never go together, so ignoring my anti-Semitic brain I sided with my equal opportunity appetite and inserted the pizza into my oven per the strange baking instructions. The pizza had to be cooked at about 5000 degrees for something like half a day so I patiently sat down and stared at the windowless oven door for the next five hours.
When I at last pulled the pizza from the roasting kiln of the oven I was greeted with something less pizza and more cracker covered with oatmeal. The cheese seemed to not be cheese, the sauce tasted like watered down ketchup, and the huge pieces of vegetable promised on the pizza box were actually finely chopped and flavorless lumps. I have had almost uncooked pizzas from Dominos that tasted better than this, and I have had bottled water with more flavor. A bite of pizza tasted almost exactly like unflavored shredded wheat, only blander; it was a culinary holocaust and my final solution was to throw most of it away. The piece I did choke down did not so much defeat my hunger as it toyed with it mockingly and then vacated my stomach on a fast track to my bladder.
Living in Chicago this was nothing short of a travesty. I have scraped better frozen pizza off the inside of a cadaver's intestine and that only cost whatever I paid for the taxi to the warehouse. While it is fun and relaxing to blame the Jews for everything, I have difficulty believing that they're really public enemy number one when it comes to pizza abortions. With that in mind I turned to the greatest source of information in history, a font of knowledge that puts the Library of Alexandria to shame; the Something Awful Forums. I asked the tasteless and poorly fed goons around the world to clue me in as to what passes for a delicious pizza pie in whatever part of this black earth they inhabit.
I am told by knowledge Britons on the forums that pizza in the UK is roughly the same as pizza in the United States, including the many of the same pizza chains we have here. Personally, I find this a bit difficult to believe, considering the entirety of England is a gastrointestinal nightmare world. In fact it is so horrifying there that even naming a city in England can afflict you with a variety of obscure medieval diseases ranging from Skull Dropsy to Boot Noodles. These are savage and primitive people who put organ meats in pie crust. I expect their pizza to consist of no less than ten pounds of tripe contained in a bowler hat made out of pie crust and topped with a dollop of creamed hog's blood. Forum goon Sergeant Rock provided a more accurate list of ingredients including "animal lung, baby scalp and strawberry jam".
In the UK even the banal Dominos has kicked things up a notch with a BAM! of grossness.
An American goon by the name of Antiorganic who has visited Ireland described Irish pizza for me:Irish goon Zakalwe assured me that Irish pizza was the same as American pizza, but then seemed honestly confused when people insisted that corn was not a normal pizza topping.
"It wasn't entirely inedible, but you know those tastes-like-cardboard ghetto pizzas in your grocer's freezer section that are about an eighth of an inch thick and made with cheese stolen from the back of your elementary school's freezer? It was pretty much like that."
Apparently there are a number of Armenian goons on our forums and they are all big fans of Lahmajoon, a weird lamb meat pizza that the unpronounceable yippeekiyaym assured me was delicious. From his description the recipe goes a little something like this:Hello, yippeekiyams or whatever your name is, that's not fucking pizza. That's some sort of bizarre tower of meat sludge, just because it's shaped vaguely like a pizza does not make it a pizza.
Make several really bad crusts
Take lamb meat and some vegetables and insert them in a blender
Spread meat paste on the crust and stack the crusts on top of each other
Put them in a fridge
Serve cold or hot
I wonder if the cast of the Lord of the Rings dined on a New Zealand pizza delicacy that I am told is called a "Bombay". This delicious ring to rule your appetite consists of tandoori chicken, cashews, yogurt, banana, mango chutney, red onion, and "a little greenery". Forum goon Moses insists it's "to die for". I insist he needs to seek professional help, because this pizza sounds like a forklift accident in a grocery store chain's central warehouse. I know when I order pizza I'm all about putting nuts and yogurt on it, and the first thing that tops any ingredient list should always be chutney! Just wait, in a few months Pizza Hut will be releasing their Chutney Lovers pizza with yogurt dipping sauce.
Europeans are second only to Asians when it comes to making hideous pizza and Denmark is a prime example of why. In Denmark they take what is probably a passable facsimile of delicious American pizza and then cover it with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber slices. Just in case you don't have a problem with someone spilling a salad on your pizza they have gone a step further and coated it with remoulade. I actually had to look remoulade up in the dictionary. When I did I was not disappointed by the magnitude of culinary violence unleashed upon the taste buds of the Danes. Remoulade is a "piquant cold sauce made with mayonnaise, chopped pickles, capers, anchovies, and herbs", or to be more concise; a regurgitation aid.
Swedish goon Von Pluring took us on a virtual pizzeria tour of Sweden by describing the variety of abominations served up fresh daily to unsuspecting gorgeous blond women. Before going into the gory details he assured us that normal pizza is widely available, but watch your step in the minefield of disaster that awaits you in Sweden. A kebab pizza didn't sound that gross, but a pizza consisting of bananas and curry and another loaded with beef and béarnaise sauce was capable of churning my stomach by just conjuring the imagery.
Gatts recounted, in grisly detail, his childhood experiences at "Pizza Sheikh", a knockoff of Pizza Hut in Saudi Arabia that is a crypt of unspeakable terrors. I will allow him to express the magnitude of this terror in his own words.
OOOOoooooh! This is an actual photo of a Pizza Hut in SAUDI ARABIA!The deep wounds in the Mid-East are obviously a two way street.
My foreign pizza experience comes at the bloodied and wrathful hand of the Pizza Sheikh. If I were to define a logo for the restaurant, it would be Mario dressed in Saudi garb. Now, you see, living in Saudi Arabia as a youth I did not desire pizza. Not only was I a picky eater but it just didn't seem to appeal to me. Pizza Sheikh came into the life of my school, and mine, a short period before the first Pizza Hut restaurant in the area was made.
My parents frustrated themselves as to why I wouldn't eat pizza like a good little normal boy and instead just resorted to ordering their apple pie for school lunches. Segway, think the pie like McDonalds only the goldeny slightly thick and crusty crust completely encases, no slits, the scalding hot goodness inside. Best pie ever, seriously. Anyway, it became my mother's mission to take me to a Pizza Shiekh, sit down, both force and watch me eat. My father joined to enforce.
Let me describe you a slice of pizza of which you, hopefully, will never have to endure. Sloppy doughy crust and bread, probably uncooked all the way. So much of cheese that was not so much cheese but slime. Not greasy, oh no, but slime that slid off the soft dough crust like some overtly milk Play-Doh that consumed all. The grease puddles were reserved for the most likely "beef" that was labeled "pepperoni." And the sauce was some deep red...nay brownish substance the likes of which I cannot recall. But the clincher was the stench. My God, the stench of the place and the foulness of the pizza; I took one bite and it was enough. My mother, disappointed, decided to eat and finish the food. It was not pleasant watching my parents eat this...food.
We left in silence and days later they admitted their fault for not believing me and trying to force that on me.
According to Raged the country of Australia, despite all of its American influence, has somehow managed to devise possibly the most revolting list of toppings imaginable. He claims they use hot dogs in place of sausages, but worse still they consider things like Vegemite, eggs, and sour cream as valid toppings for a pizza. I wouldn't put Vegemite on a garbage can, let alone something I'm going to be inserting into my mouth, but I guess if they love the stuff there then more power to them.
Multiple Brazilian goons offered up the tasty insider's look at pizza in Brazil. Forum goon Me Clumsy who was critical of most of Brazil's pizza also insisted that American pizza is "a fucking joke" in comparison to the taste sensation riding the flavor waves in Sao Paulo. Fellow Brazilian Solvalou provided a bit more of an objective look at the hellish creations of our friends to the South, so I'll let you judge for yourself based on the following sample pizzas:
A photo of Brazilian pizza has here been replaced with a much tastier Brazilian export.I think the facts speak for themselves, but as a Chicagoan I would like to advise Me Clumsy to consult his ass the next time he wants to talk out of it about Brazil having superior pizza. Who is the fucking joke now Mr. Brazilian Banana Pizza?!
Brazilian Banana Pizza
Dried Meat Pizza
Beef Jerky, shredded
Endives (and lots of it!)
Thailand is a good preparation for the harrowing shock of the pizzas available in Japan. Like Japan, Thailand is a country with a cuisine that uses a lot of seafood. Pizzas including seafood are not particularly popular here in the United States, but they aren't entirely alien. DJ Sizzle described a pizza in Thailand containing "prawns, hot sauce, fried eggs and peppers" as well as a stuff-crust pizza full of some type of sausage that smelled far too bad to be edible. I won't hazard a guess as to what was in the sausage (human children) so I'll just have to pretend it was something delicious but slightly odd smelling.
If you're eating anything right now I suggest you put it down and maybe stop reading this article long enough for your food to get past the stomach portion of its digestive trip. Okay, ready? Japan is without a doubt the hive of unappetizing pizza choices. It is the yin to America's delicious pizza yang, the kryptonite to our deep dish Superman, and maybe even the salt to our delectable hand-tossed garden slug. If you haven't learned it already by reading Something Awful; Japan is the root of all things evil in this world.
Now doesn't that look delicious?!
Forum goon Laopooh provided us with a bizarre and slightly disconcerting menu from a Japanese pizza franchise that actually looks to be from Denmark. The photographs of the Japanese pizzas available are a bit hard to see, but do manage to hint at how truly awful they are. For even more insight we turned to FairGame, who lived in Japan for an extended period as part of an exchange program. Among the stories he brought back to the United States with him was the tale of his trip to a Japanese Pizza Hut. It's a bit of a long one, but trust me when I say it's worth the read.Mayonnaise and corn seemed to be two of the prime offenders among bad pizza globally and Japan managed to cram both onto the same pie along with mayonnaise AND tomato sauce. It sounds vile but I can almost understand the twisted logic behind the mayo, corn, and tuna, but the inclusion of tomato sauce is the pizza chemistry equivalent of adding dynamite to a burning oil drum. You can find out even more about just how bad Japanese pizza is at "The Web's First Japanese Pizza Page", from whom I lifted the disgusting picture above.
My host mother was sick and couldn't cook. I offered to cook, and asked my 10 year old host sister what she wanted for dinner.
"Pizza," (or more accurately pi-za) she replied.
I figured I could probably handle making such a simple order, even in the really small kitchen in my homestay. But my host mom wasn't so sure.
"Adam, have you ever heard of Pizza Hut?" she asked.
I, having been on a more-or-less steady diet of Japanese food (which isn't nearly as good as the bastardized version you get in the States), was elated. I readily accepted, and my sister and I took the bus to the train station right by the Pizza Hut.
We get our one menu (you don't get menus for everyone over there) and I don't see any pizzas listed that look like they're any good. So when the waitress comes over, I order a small pepperoni pizza.
Waitress gives me a blank look.
I figure maybe I screwed my Japanese up, so I reiterate: "I'd like to get a small pepperoni pizza."
Waitress shakes her head and tells me that's not on the menu. My little sister shrieks in her awful little voice, "Adamu! It's not on the menyuuuuuuu!"
"Well, yes," I say, "but it's not very difficult to make one, you see. Just take a cheese pizza, and then add pepperoni. Only."
Waitress: "I'm sorry; I've never done that before."
I decide I'll take a different approach. "OK, I want to order this Meat Lover's Pizza in a small. Only I want no bacon and no ham on it."
Waitress: "Uh, hold on a minute."
At this point, she goes and talks to her co-worker, another girl maybe 20 years old, and they both are pouring over the menu while pointing at me. She comes back a few minutes later.
"I'm sorry, neither one of us has ever made a pepperoni pizza before. I don't think we have the technology."
I really don't feel like fighting it too much more, so I order a small supreme pizza. I know it's not going to be enough, but the pizzas are so damned expensive and I don't want to spend too much of my mom's money. I know that my sister will get a medium (she wants to bring back to her mom) and that I can probably have a piece of whatever she orders.
So she orders. A tuna, mayonnaise, and corn pizza. This WAS, against all odds, on the menu. A few minutes later, the pizzas come out, I eat mine in like 2 seconds, and my sister offers me a piece of the flat foulness set in front of her.
My hunger gets the better part of my common sense, so I try a piece.
Dear god. Tuna, mayonnaise, corn, mozzarella, and tomato sauce HAVE NO PLACE ON A PIZZA SIMULTANEOUSLY. It was all I could do not to throw up. We took the remaining 3 pieces back to the homestay.
My homestay mom takes one look at it and says, "This is tuna, mayonnaise, and corn pizza! Adam, you eat it!"
I content myself to have some of the pineapple in the fridge and pretend that I'm full so that I don't have to deal with it. I go to sleep soon thereafter.
Now, when you have leftover pizza, and a refrigerator, the correct way for the two to interact is to put the pizza in the fridge. Especially when said pizza has seafood and mayo on it.
However, the correct way, according to my host family, was to set it on the dinner table all night so that I can wake up and look at the sign that says "Adam's breakfast" on it. It soon found a resting place in the trashcan of the train station as I went to school.
Together I think we've learned here that pizza around the world is not something that can be addressed lightly. When I posed my question a number of people slandered the likes of Pizza Hut and Dominos here in America, which I consider ignorant but understandable. Everyone knows that American pizza is at its most generic and generally worst when it comes from franchises like Pizza Hut and Dominos that care more about the timeliness of delivery than the quality of the food. Here in Chicago we have a number of wonderful regional chains that are at least a magnitude of ten or twenty times better than what Pizza Hut churns out. I would venture a guess that New York has a similar situation, offering its take on New York Style pizza that is probably better from a roach infested hole in Brooklyn bought by the day-old slice than the most expensive gourmet pizza in Japan.
Italy also came up a few times in our discussion and I was a bit surprised by the bitterness with which Italian pizza was compared to American pizza. I have got to say that I have had traditional Italian pizza made by off-the-boat Italians and, while certainly good, I don't think it holds a candle to the best the USA has to offer. Out of respect for pizza's heritage I did not include Italy on the list of offenders, although I'm nearly certain some horrible octopus and squid pizza is lurking in a restaurant in Sicily.
Lastly, special shout-outs to the monsters perpetrating supposedly gourmet pizza on America's West Coast. You California Pizza Kitchen fucks wouldn't know good pizza if it lubed your prolapsed rectum with marinara and gave you a prison handshake. The next time you want to talk shit to NYC I'm letting you know that Chicago has got its back. That's right, I enjoy New York style pizza from time to time, but I never find myself craving some new age crystal Ben & Jerry Patchouli-smelling tofu and artichoke heart disc of shit. Go back to Berkeley and take your extra-large Birkenstock and hacky-sack flavored abomination with you.