Monday, February 14, 2011

What makes pizza good pizza?

I've been thinking about pizza a lot lately. Most likely due to the fact that I kind of went vegan-esque when I moved back to Cali (for a lot of reasons, none of which being animal rights, sorry PETA!) and haven't had any due to the cheese thing (vegan cheese is not the same as cheese, no matter what anyone says, ever). However, I broke down and had a slice of real pizza with pepperoni on my break today, and oh, how good it was...
Now, some people say there is no such thing as bad pizza. Obviously, these individuals never ate in my elementary school cafeteria...
But what exactly is good pizza? Disregarding the NY vs. Chicago style debate (clearly NY style for the win), what exactly makes pizza sooo good that you go back over and over again?
People will mention artisan ingredients or wood burning ovens or the water for the dough, but there is where the actual dilemma lies. What kind of pizza are we talking about here?
I view pizza as the everyman's food. Everyone, at every level of society, likes it in some capacity (seriously, find me someone who hates all pizza and I will give you a cookie).  Now, I have had some fabulous pizzas, with perfect crusts and fabulous, fantastic toppings, but isn't it the everyman aspect of pizza that make it great? So in my mind, the good pizza is cheap pizza, pizza that you can eat while you are studying, consume cold to sooth your hangover, AND eat with friends at movie night on the couch straight out of the box.  In my mind the perfect pizza was the Jumbo pizza from Ameci's.  It served all these purposes and reminded me of my childhood at the same time.  The pizza is like 20 some slices and cost like $10.  There's not a lot of sauce, the middle gets a little soggy cause it's so big, and the cheese tends to slide off the first slice you pull from the pie. It's this chain from the area where I grew up that happened to put one on my college campus 400 miles away from the rest of their stores.  It's the pizza that was served at my childhood girl scout pizza parties.  It's where I decided pepperoni and pineapple should become pizza topping buddies. It is my guilty pleasure.  And isn't that what good pizza should aim to be, so bad that it is actually good?

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