Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A travesty from a purist standpoint, but apparently quite tasty

LITD readers may know that I host a Saturday-morning food-focused talk show on a local radio station in the small city where I live. I have a lineup of regular segments -  a recipe of the week, an herb of the week, Food History Corner - and sometimes I have guests.

When so motivated, I do get on a soapbox about issues at the intersection of food and culture. In fact, I believe it was on the very first show, twenty years ago, that I read what at the time was a recently published essay from the print edition of Newsweek's back-of-the-book "My Turn" column. The essay was called "Whose Food Is It Anyway?" and decried the hybridization of items from various cuisines. Think Korean tacos. Or reuben egg rolls.

Or Hawaiian pizza.

In fact, pizza has continued to be an emblem of our culture's tendency to take everything over the top.

So it was with particular interest that I came across Allahpundit's  Hot Air piece on grilled-cheese-stuffed crust pizza that Pizza Hut is offering. He says that, within the context of a fearlessly jumbled foodstuff completely unmoored from any roots in the medieval pies of Naples, it's quite a taste treat.

But for sheer candor about the immediate pleasures of meaningless consumption (with none of the crude millennial touches one finds at sites like Foodbeast), check out the concluding paragraph:

. . . granted, a proper grilled cheese would be made with American cheese and actually grilled, but we burned the pizza authenticity bridge the moment we started screwing around with stuffed crusts years ago. Complaining about the authenticity of stunt pizza is like going to the Olive Garden and complaining that the chef isn’t actually Italian. You’re missing the point. You’re not there for authentic Italian, you’re there to find out whether they really will keep refreshing your breadstick basket after you’ve cleared it eight times. The question any Frankenfood connoisseur must ask himself is only this: Is this dish truly worthy of a little extra closure to my aorta? The answer in this case is obvious.

Yes, there's a touch of capitulation in his viewpoint, but it forces us to look at the degree to which we may concur.

I think I'll be discussing this on Stirring Something Up this coming weekend.

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