Americans have a real love affair with pizza. There are over 60,000 pizzerias in the United States and each American eats an average of 46 slices of pizza a year. With all of that love and experience, it's a shame that we still don't know how to "do" pizza. I much prefer the Italian pizza culture to ours. Read below and find out why. Because, my friends, you really are doing it all wrong.
- You share your pizza - I am all for sharing as a philosophy. I teach it to my kids, I embrace it when I go to a tapas restaurant - there is nothing better than trying a bunch of different small plates. But pizza is not meant to be shared. Sharing means compromise and there is enough compromise in the world that I don't want to have to do it when I am choosing toppings. Because believe me, compromise in my family would definitely mean that the arugula and mushrooms would be left off. And that my dear people is a huge mistake. HUGE. The beauty of the pizzeria in Italy is that each person orders his or her own pizza. Therefore you get EXACTLY what you want without having to eat unwanted pepperoni or olives or anchovies. Save the sharing for the ice cream sundae.
- You order extra cheese - Cheese should be applied sparingly and should only enhance the flavor of the dough and other toppings. It should not, I mean NOT be an added layer to the creation. Lay off the cheese and enjoy the plethora of other topping options.
- You have a salad as an appetizer - Salad? Really??? Who are you kidding? It's pizza night for heaven sakes. Throw all caution to the wind and order all'italiana. Italians start pizza night with a bunch of fried things: supplì (rice balls), olive ascolane (olives stuffed with meat and fried) and potato croquettes. For the table, of course (these things CAN be shared).
- You drink wine with your pizza - Even the Italians drink beer with pizza. It's like peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, prosecco and everything.... it just goes together.
- You don't put Nutella on pizza - in Rome there are little stands that sell pizza a taglio (pizza by the slice). You tell them which of the 20 kinds of pizza you would like and how much. They cut the piece and weigh it and you pay by the weight. While it is never out on display with all of the other savory pizzas, Nutella pizza is always an option. It's pizza dough sliced open horizontally and slathered with Nutella. It's got the sweet/salty thing going and because you can choose how large a piece you want, it can be considered a reasonable indulgence. Ok, so it's obscene and over the top. But so, so good.
Happy Friday, Happy Pizza - now go out and make me proud!