Tag Archives: Italy

The Five Best Regional Pizzas In America

“Goddamn it AFFotD, now I REALLY want pizza for dinner.”

~You

more pizza

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

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The History of Chicago-Style Pizza

“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!”

~New Yorkers

chicago style pizza

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

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Pizza Bagels Are Delicious

“Mama mia, I’m an ethnic stereotype!”

~Chef Boyardee

http://frombagelstoburgers.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/pizza_bagel.jpg

(editor’s note:  Yup.  We’re still in the midst of a hostage situation.  Hopefully it will be out of the way by tomorrow . Until then, here is a previously scheduled AFFotd)

While AFFotD staff members have been known for their enjoyment of pizza for its unhealthy joy, but what we try to avoid mentioning is that Pizza actually originated in a foreign land with a foul and unpronounceable name (Italy), so that, despite managing to find a way to combine otherwise healthy items like cheese, bread, and tomatoes in such a way to make massive amounts of grease, it technically is not an “American” food.

But it is if you put it on a damn bagel.

Yes, America is known as a melting pot, which given the fact that the term is used as a metaphor for “people of different races, ethnicities, religious affiliations, and backgrounds” is actually pretty gross and conjures up an image of a bunch of melted together people, which some of our staff members who got nightmares from watching Raiders of the Lost Ark as children don’t particularly appreciate.

http://www.toplessrobot.com/toht%20face%20melting.jpg

“Bring us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe….AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH”

And being a Melting Pot…or, you know, “mix of people,” one thing we excel at is taking things we like from one culture and mixing it with something else to make it even fucking better, like the man who took rum and invented Coca-Cola to mix it with, or how we mixed a white European with a Mexican-American and made one Jessica Alba.  Which is why, in the early 20th Century, when Jewish and Italian populations in New York got together, the end result was a delicious, snackable, entirely unhealthy Pizza Bagel.

Which we are here today to salute.

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Ohhhh, yes

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