what it means to feel at home.
Food is an important part of culture, and I find it interesting when a staple from one society is incorporated into another. When I think about the universality of food, pizza comes to mind. Originating in Napoli, pizza has been integrated into food cultures reaching from the US to Japan, leaving no one unaffected by its perfect blend of cheese, sauce, and above all, bread.
I’m originally from New Jersey (central Jersey, if you please) and I know what good pizza (in the US) is. I’ve spent time around Manhattan-made slices, and I think New Jersey has excellent pizza-making skills as well (the secret is in the water!). With that said, I love pizza.
Ohhhh, yes. Pizza. Cheesey, crispy, pizza.
In this country, there is a huge disparity between New York-style and Chicago-style pizza. New Yorkers (and anyone with good sense) prefer a thin, well, crusty crust. A crust that doesn’t succumb to the weight of sauce and cheese. A crust that doesn’t flop around, spilling your toppings everywhere. On the perfect slice, there is neither too much, nor too little sauce. And the cheese: a nice mix of peccorino and mozzarella. Yes, the combination of carbs, dairy, and–dare I say–vegetables gets me every time.
Well what, you ask, is Chicago-style pizza? To put it simply (and nicely), an oversized casserole of bread, sauce, and some cheese. I cannot be impartial about this.
Regardless of what your preferences are, pizza is ubiquitous throughout this country, as well as many others.
Purists believe pizza isn’t pizza unless it’s a margherita pizza. Other non-traditionalists feel there can never be too many toppings.
Some people are sauceophobes, preferring white pizza to the norm.
White pizza typically involves ricotta, mozzerella, pesto and some olive oil.
And then, there is Sicilian-style pizza.
Unlike traditional Neapolitan pizza, the cheese is placed under the sauce. It is also square, and of a fairly thicker crust.
Pizza always was, and continues to be, a comfort food. Pizza unites. When there is pizza around, people are usually enjoying themselves. Little kids have pizza parties for birthdays or other celebrations. Student organizations on campus almost always provide pizza at their meetings. It’s everywhere, and god damnit, I love it! Whenever I go back home to Jersey, one of the first things I try have is a good slice.