Pizza Today - June 2017 - 18

with SCOTT WIENER

man on the street

In Defense of Pineapple
Do your customers love or hate this tropical treat?

I

considered writing this month's
column under a pseudonym because
my views on pizza toppings could
get me kicked out of New York City
forever. Staunch traditionalists cringe at
the mere thought of "unconventional"
ingredients infiltrating their idyllic
image of a perfect pie, but that attitude
feels antithetical to the entire concept
of pizza in the first place. The past few
months have been tumultuous for topping egalitarians such as myself, with the
president of Iceland surprisingly at the
epicenter. When asked about his opinion
of pineapple as a pizza topping, Guðni
Th. Jóhannesson told a group of students
that he would outlaw the combination if
he could. It was a comical response
delivered in jest to an audience that likely understood its levity, but the Internet
predictably ran with it amid a seemingly
endless barrage of memes attacking the

1 8 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / J U N E 2 0 1 7

validity of fruit as a pizza topping. And
now I'm forced to defend it.
My favorite reason people site for
the illegitimacy of pineapple as a pizza
topping is that "it's not Italian." If Italian
origin were a requirement for ingredient
acceptability, we'd all be in big trouble.
No single element of pizza is originally
Italian. Tomatoes are from South and
Central America; basil is from India;
olive oil is a staple of the entire Mediterranean region; early evidence of cheese
making goes back at least 7,500 years
to Kujawy, Poland and yeast-leavened
bread was introduced to southern Italy
by Greek settlers around the time of
Alexander the Great. Evidence of
pineapple in Italian cuisine exists at
least 2,000 years ago. When I visited
Pompeii in 2009, I saw a mural of several
tropical fruits that included an image of
a pineapple. That means Italy had been

exposed to the tropical fruit at least
2,000 years ago. That's not to say it was
used as a topping on the earliest versions
of pizza, but it was at least in the room.
Meanwhile, pepperoni's first written
reference didn't appear until 1919 - and
it happened in the United States.
A more reasonable common excuse
for anti-pineapple pontification is that
it's too acidic to balance well with other
pizza toppings, but it assumes that every
pizza is made with tomato sauce. I agree
that the acidity of pineapple clashes with
that of tomato, but white pizzas (no
sauce) are a much more neutral canvas. One of my favorite Italian-owned
pizzerias in Manhattan's East Village
experimented with pineapple the last
time I stopped by with a pizza tour. The
pizzaiolo (who prefers to remain anonymous) made a pie with small shreds of
fresh pineapple, pancetta, red pepper
flakes and rosemary. It was the perfect
balance of sweet, salty and spicy I look
for in a pizza, and the group totally loved
it. The incredibly popular Roberta's in
Brooklyn puts their fruit flag on display
with the Da Kine, a pie with ricotta,
prosciutto cotto, jalapeño and fresh pineapple. NYC clearly isn't the fortress of
pizza protection it makes itself out to be.
At the end of the day, some people
like pineapple on pizza and some do
not, but it's incorrect to make a blanket statement that it just doesn't work.
After realizing that his benign comment
had become an international story, the
president of Iceland clarified that no
person should have the power to outlaw
that which they personally dislike. He
then mentioned his own preference for
seafood on pizza, which could be seen as
equally offensive. ■
SCOTT WIENER is

the founder of Scott's
Pizza Tours in New York City and
SliceOutHunger.org.

By JOSH KEOWN


http://www.SliceOutHunger.org http://www.PIZZATODAY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - June 2017

Pizza Today - June 2017
Commentary
Contents
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
Interact
Conversation
Man on the Street
Respecting the Craft
On Tap
Destinations
Knead to Know
Turn Down the Sound
Pizza Style Guide
Adding Sustainable Food
Caprese Across the Menu
Employee Reviews
Increasing Check Averages
Pizza Today on the Road: Harry’s Bishops Corner, West Hartford, CT
Pizza Today on the Road: The Original Vazzy’s, Bridgeport, CT
Product Showcase
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - June 2017 - CT1
Pizza Today - June 2017 - CT2
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Today - June 2017
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Cover2
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Commentary
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 4
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 5
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Contents
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 7
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 8
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 9
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Contributors
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 11
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 13
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Interact
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 15
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Conversation
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 17
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 19
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Respecting the Craft
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 21
Pizza Today - June 2017 - On Tap
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 23
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Destinations
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 25
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 27
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 28
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 29
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Turn Down the Sound
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 31
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 32
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 33
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Style Guide
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 35
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 36
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 37
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Adding Sustainable Food
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 39
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 40
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 41
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Caprese Across the Menu
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 43
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Employee Reviews
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 45
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 46
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 47
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Increasing Check Averages
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 49
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 50
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 51
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: Harry’s Bishops Corner, West Hartford, CT
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 53
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 54
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 55
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 56
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 57
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 58
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 59
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Today on the Road: The Original Vazzy’s, Bridgeport, CT
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Product Showcase
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 62
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 63
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 65
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 66
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 67
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 68
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 69
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 70
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 71
Pizza Today - June 2017 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 73
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 74
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 75
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 76
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 77
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 78
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 79
Pizza Today - June 2017 - 80
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Cover3
Pizza Today - June 2017 - Cover4
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