“Goddamn it AFFotD, now I REALLY want pizza for dinner.”
We here at AFFotD have a hard time shutting up about pizza, probably because it’s delicious and incredible and if you don’t like pizza you’re a bad person and you should feel bad. However, in our rush to point out things like “Pizza with toppings put in the crust” or “Goddamn it Japan you’re doing it wrong” we’ve overlooked one of the most important aspects of pizza’s culinary life—its European beginnings, and America’s impressive ability to adapt it for its own heart-clogging purposes. Pizza as a dish originated in Naples, Italy, much more recently than you would assume—while variations of bread baked with cheese have been around since the ancient Greeks, and Italians were eating some combination of baked bread, cheese, and tomato called “pizza” since the 17th century, the “modern” pizza likely wasn’t invented until 1889, using red tomato, green basil, and white mozzarella so as to cover the pie in the three colors of the Italian flag. It’s basically the same logic that America applied when inventing red, white, and blue jello shots.
Despite being such a famously “Italian” food staple, America wasn’t particularly far behind the curve in the pizza department. The first American pizza establishment opened up in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York by 1905. Once pizza reached our shores, we went to work on perfecting it, and we’ve since gone on to develop countless regional forms of the dish, some of them barely resembling the original Italian creation. Usually that’s for the best. Sometimes, not so much.
But we are a land of experimentation, and we’re here to embrace that quality, so join us for the first part of a two part pizza spectacular where we show you the best and worst of America’s regional pizzas, starting with the best because we know you’re hungry right now and we do so love to torture you.
The Five Best Regional Pizzas In America
“That’s not a pizza, it’s a damn casserole! I feel strangely threatened when I see different versions of a food my city’s supposed to be known for!”
At its heart, pizza is just cheese, dough, and tomato sauce, topped with whatever additional ingredient you want. Inherently, pizza exists to breed creativity and adaptivity. In the hands of madmen and foreigners, this culinary freedom can be disastrous, but in the hands of true Americans, this can create an unhealthy, delicious American meal glorious enough to single-handedly keep additional-belt-hole-punchers in business. One of the most glorious examples of this, of course, is the Chicago-style pizza. Less of a pizza pie, and more of a pizza cake, Chicago’s deep dish pizza gives you as much fat, grease, and cheese as you’d expect to find from a city that’s primary gift to the realm of fine cooking involves hot dogs and roast beef dipped in its own juices.
So with a casual, “Get over it, yes, we get it, you guys are proud of your pizza, and you have good pizza places, but stop acting like you’ve done anything original to the style just because you use special tap water to make the crust” to our now-livid readers in New York, AFFotD is proud to present you with…
The History of Chicago-Style Pizza
“Second city? More like fifth coronary, amiright?”
~AFFotD Food Critic, John Goodman
America loves to eat. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. When you live in a country that has 14,000 McDonalds, 7,500 Pizza Huts, and 6,500 Dunkin’ Donuts, you know that you have a pretty large population of people who live to stuff their faces. But while fast food chains are appropriately American, getting you unhealthy food quick enough that you can fat fat fatty FAT, it is truly the local American restaurants that are able to really embrace American culinary ideals. Because sure, if Hardees wants to make a burger with twice your daily allotment of fat in it, people are going to flip their shit, but if someone has a heart attack in the midst of eating a 6,000 calorie burger, it’s fucking awesome (unless that man’s family is reading this, in which case we salute him for going down like a fucking boss).
That’s why we here at AFFotD are starting our latest American feature—the most American restaurants of major American cities.
So when we think of cities that thrive on unhealthy food and have so little shame that we’re pretty sure veganism is a considered a misdemeanor by its police force, we think of the one city that we’d like to start this segment out with.
The city of fat asses broad shoulders… Chicago, Illinois.
The Most American Restaurants of: CHICAGO
“We’re not strange, YOU’RE strange, shut up internet.”
When we want to say that something is, without fail, awesome, we refer to that thing as an “American Tradition.” Seriously, when have you ever heard of “American Tradition” being used in a bad way? Baseball is an American tradition, fake birth certificates are not. Fireworks are an American Tradition, and hand reconstruction surgery is improving each and every year. If something has been deemed an American Tradition, that’s like America’s version of the hall of fame (we’d like to introduce this year’s recipient to our American Tradition list: Playing beer pong using mixed drinks when you run out of beer but want to keep playing).
It is with this in mind that we have to bring your attention to yet another site that is trying to besmirch America with their “articles.” You know what this means, it’s time for us to take a massive shit on someone else’s writing.
Today’s recipient of our ire is the website “HowStuffWorks” for their egregious slideshow (eww, slideshow?) about “10 Strange American Traditions.” Umm, asshats, is being awesome strange, because that’s the only way we can make heads or tails out of your article’s title. These 10 American activities have been chosen because the writers here think that other nations would find them “strange at best.” Which means that they totally named this article the wrong thing. It should be called “10 American Traditions That Prove That Every Other Country Is Doing It Wrong.”
Hold us back, Internet. Hold us back…
AFFotD Lampoons The Naivety of Foreigners Who Dare Protest The Intrinsic Value Of 10 Fine American Traditions
“Midget! Midget midget midget!”
If there’s one complaint people have about baseball, it would be that it’s too straight laced. That is, if they have a complaint about baseball. That’s usually because baseball players only show a lot of effort for short periods of time before resting a while. It’s the only sport that has a bench that doesn’t require a bench, because honestly, when was the last time you saw a guy walk to the dugout and need to rest his legs?
But if there was one man out there that understood how to jazz up Baseball and take an American sport even more American by adding something crazy, it would be the great Bill Veeck, a man who saw a sport that could be stuffy and uninviting and decided to liven the hell out of it, likely saying, “We gotta do something to make this game more exciting. You know, something like a midget baseball player. Well, not a midget baseball player, but you get the idea, something like that.”
“Dammit, fine let’s just go with it.”
Yes, Bill Veeck was a unique brand of MLB baseball team owner. While some owners might have their team involved in messy divorce court proceedings, Veeck (“as in Wreck” as his autobiography so astutely put it) would do absurd promotion stunts (his ugly divorces very rarely involved the teams he owned). As the last Baseball owner who was not independently wealthy, Bill Veeck had everything a true American could ask for. A man who built himself from the ground up, lost a limb in the war, and caused a mass riot when he wanted to destroy as many Disco albums as possible. Veeck was a man too great for embellishment, though we once heard that he could life a car over his head with one hand while juggling midgets with the other. But only 3 midgets. Like we said, we’re not going to embellish any of this.
So here’s the tale of the man with one leg and a love of midgets.
“With the power of…DAIRY!”
~Cheeseman, a short lived American superhero
Fair warning, this America Fun Fact of the Day will not be about Cheeseman. We know, you’re all a little saddened by that revelation, but we decided to rip the band-aid off cleanly, and right away. Shh, shh, it’s okay. It’s okay. Drink to forget. Drink to forget.
But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to talk about cheese. Not an American history of cheese, because holy shit that’s a good idea but we’re way too hungover for that, but we are going to talk about a little place we have mentioned before in passing, a venue that is all beer, cheese, and absurd Midwestern ideals of grandeur.
We’re talking about…the Mars Cheese Castle, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Well, that’s a good question, an…wait…no…NO! What are they saying? WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?”
~AFFotD Editor-in-Chief Johnny Roosevelt
The America Fun Fact of the Day staff likes to follow various printed media sources throughout the nation with the same grim fascination as British people watching David Blaine suspended over the Themes. We like to see if it’s going to die, or if it’ll just keep hanging around. For now, media is hanging around.
Though thankfully, newspapers are not making giant stone Abraham Lincolns.
We find one thing funnier than watching Newspapers struggle, and that’s watching newspapers ineptly try to adapt to the information age. Yeah, New York Times, we’re absolutely going to pay to go to your damn website. It’s not like the internet has already found a the surprisingly easy way to bypass the paywall already or anything. Face.
We bring all this up because, in our routine of going through newspaper’s facebook pages (which totally pale in comparison to the AFFotD facebook page which is absolutely up and running) we discovered a question posed by the RedEye, a free publication based out of Chicago. Their facebook paged asked the simple question: What would you do if you were given $100 and had to spend it in an hour.
Easy question, right? “Booze and scratch-off tickets” would be an acceptable answer. “Give me the hundred bucks first, and then I’ll let you know,” would be another one.
That didn’t get through to the 100 plus people who answered incorrectly (“oh it’s a rhetorical question though, AFFotD, you can’t have a wrong answer to a rhetorical question” oh yes you fucking can, dammit). And so, in a manner that we usually on reserve for Mike Adams or children, we’re here to tell dozens of Chicagoans how they would choose to spend 100 dollars is stupid. And just so we don’t have to put down the like, twenty people who said they would spend it on clothes, we’ll save you some time. No, clothes are not an acceptable way to spend the 100 dollars in this situation. Jesus.
And let’s start the list of hate.
“Yeah, screw you, online book buyers.”
Before we go into today’s AFFotD Image of the Week, we wanted to give you, the American reader, some background. As we all know, the economy has led to some tough times for many businesses. Chief among them is the bookseller, Borders, who recently had to close 30% of their stores. Now, who that really sucks for is the American citizens who are now going to be out of a job. Because, honestly, English Graduate students need work too. But, at least they have a good sense of humor about it. As we can see in today’s Image of the Week, which comes to us from a soon-to-be-closed Borders in Chicago.
Yessssss. If you’re going to get laid off, at least do it with a shit-eating grin on your face. God Speed, Borders employee. Let us know who you are, and we will totally buy your self published novel about a former book store manager when it comes out in three years. Have a good weekend, everybody.
“You’re never gonna take me alive, AFFotD fuckers!”
Our undercover investigative journalist, [REDACTED] has been through a lot. We forced him to eat at a Vegan restaurant, which is the very reason why we can’t in good conscience list his name here, then after a quick apology party we got him to sign over, essentially, his soul. We made him write about cricket, and about opera, and finally, he snapped.
We didn’t hear a word from him for a week, until our specially calibrated American hunting dogs found an unusually large amount of America around the Chicagoland area. Sure enough, that’s where [REDACTED] had been hiding out. After we sent in the hounds (ha ha, don’t worry, they weren’t really hounds. They were more of a wolves/huskie hybrid) we were able to bring in [REDACTED] and get his story behind his one week spent, as he put it, “Trying to get my America back on, you cocksuckers.”
Here is his tale.