America, the land of the free, the home of the brave… And a nation full of people with wildly conflicting opinions.
I must admit, I’m ready to stir the melting pot with this column. It’s America’s birthday after all, and our first president George Washington couldn’t tell a lie– so I’m not about to either! A lot of you folks have been making bold claims about one very specific, controversial issue that I’m fully prepared to dismantle. So buckle up, pilgrim, this horse and buggy ride is going to get bumpy!
Some say there is a right way and a wrong way to make and enjoy pizza. Some say that certain toppings “don’t belong.” Well, let me make my claim concisely and clearly for all to hear: There is room enough for all manner of toppings on a stretched and sauced disc of dough. Both salty and sweet can indeed live in perfect harmony, even after they are shoveled down a red-blooded American gullet toward the great belly of freedom.
Pineapple, my friends! Some say it found its way onto our pizzas from across the ocean in Hawaii, while others claim it descended from our moose loving friends north of the border. The truth is irrelevant, as what matters is that it’s here now, and we have claimed it… Like we have claimed so many other foreign delights. The real truth is that cultural appropriation is as American as apple pie– which in all actuality originated in the Netherlands.
Pizza itself may not have started in America, but we have stone baked it into our identity– and since we put our stamp on it, it may as well have been ours all along. Just ask the moon! I’ve seen some of you rush to the side of celebrity chef (and general foul mouth), Gordon Ramsay, as he has been quoted as saying, “You don’t put f—–g pineapple on pizza!” But is that really who any real American patriot wants leading the charge? Quite frankly, it reeks of theatrics, and if you think that redcoat wouldn’t sell you out for an extra crumpet, you better think again.
Personally, if we’re outsourcing our opinions to popular television food gurus, I’m riding into battle with UGA alumnus Mr. Alton Brown, who clapped back at Ramsay’s comment like any rebellious son of liberty should, “I don’t want anyone saying what should and shouldn’t be on pizza.” He even took to Twitter, invoking our nation’s storied history of manifest destiny, “If I want pineapple on my pizza, I’ll by God have it.”
Amen, Brother Alton, amen.
By God, I’ll have it.
If you do happen to be one of those Hell’s Kitchen loyalists, pizza-pie-purists who refuse such supposed culinary chicanery, that’s fine. But I’ll be double damned if I’m going to sit here and watch you tell anyone else what they can and can’t do with their pizza. My pizza, my choice. This is America, where if you start telling us what to do with our food and drink, we’ll drown your tea in the nearest body of water.
These flavors don’t run.