Pizza was introduced into the American zeitgeist when 4 million Italian immigrants came across the Atlantic and brought their cooking skills and traditions with them.
However, it's actually much more Greek than Italian.
"Shortly after its introduction stateside, pizza became more popular in the U.S. than it was in Italy."
"This is partly because pizza's not exactly Italian to begin with."
"Naples was originally founded by Greek settlers around 600 BCE, and pizza is known to have existed there before the city was unified with the rest of Italy in 1861."
"The cheesy, tomatoey delight wasn't introduced into greater Italian cuisine until the 1940s."
"So, at least for a while, pizza was much more American than Italian."
"Traditional" toppings are actually not that traditional at all. That's why we see all sorts of variations on the theme of pizza and why there's much debate on which toppings are the best.
Redditor TheMulefromMoscow asked:
"What's the most underrated pizza topping?"
The debate was taken to Ask Reddit, so we made a list of the best of the best.
That's a lot of garlic.
"Roasted whole garlic."
"[Pizza My Heart] makes a pizza with 40 cloves of roasted garlic on it. It's flipping delicious."
"I love garlic a lot but that's way too much garlic."
"Cries in thin blood."
"Cries in vampire but also mildly interested in your thin blood."
Salty and heat.
"Jalapeños. When I worked at Domino's someone ordered a thin crust pepperoni/jalapeño and called back later to cancel. So my manager and I said f*ck it and ate it. Despite thinking it wouldn't be good. Holy sh*t was it good. If you don't mind the heat, I highly recommend it. Doesn't matter if it's thin crust or not, but just pepperoni and jalapeño."
"So close to my favorite which is =pepperoni, jalapeños and bacon. So good!!"
"Hear me out: pepperoni, jalapeño, and pineapple."
"Salt, heat, sweetness and acidity. It's a goddamn revelation the first time you try it."
"This is the holy trinity of pizza combos. Every time I have friends over I order this pizza and even if they don't normally like those ingredients they just work so perfectly off each other everyone loves the combination."
"Try that combo with chicken instead of pepperoni. Got it by mistake one time, and it's fantastic."
More of a good thing.
"Sometimes all ya need is cheese pizza."
"Simple, slightly greasy, delicious cheese."
"A few months ago I had the messiest night ever, and as a 27 year old my hangover resistance is starting to fade."
"I had ordered an absolutely filthy triple cheese and pepperoni pizza from a trashy takeout and it saved my life I'm sure. That amount of cheese and grease just resonated within my soul. Hot and cold it was simply beautiful."
"I remember this one pizza joint that was open late. Always hit it up after a night on the town. Massive amount of cheese (and grease) that was the best while drunk and barely tolerable while sober. It was just that perfect combo that resonates with alcohol and seems to help with hangovers."
A better substitute for pepperoni.
"Sausage and onions. Everybody wants pepperoni but they are sleeping on the sausage and onions."
"Chorizo's a good alternative to pep. Chorizo and chicken. With fresh herbs on top after it comes out."
"I live in a place that I should see this, but I never even thought of chorizo on a pizza. that sounds so bomb, cilantro, fresh onion and a squeeze of lime, that would be it."
"Banana peppers. So much flavor!"
"Banana peppers or pepperoncini? There's a substantial difference and having worked at a Chicagoland pizza place - the amount of complaints from people who order one but want the other was massive."
"Idk if it's regional but if you want a pickled pepper - like you get with your papa John's (trash) - order pepperoncini. If you want a fresh pepper that's mostly sweet with a mild kick - banana pepper. Hardly anywhere actually has banana peppers though - except for more upscale pizza places. - may be regional. Dunno"
Don't forget your greens.
"Or arugula at the very end. Delish."
"Spinach and roasted red peppers is my favorite combo when I make a homemade pizza."
The controversial topping.
"I'm about to start a war here....Pineapple."
"Before I tried Hawaiian pizza, I would've argued against it; But after trying it, I will wholly support you."
"Ham and pineapple is okay, but ham is already a sweet meat. I prefer my pineapple with a more savory meat, usually either pepperoni or sausage or bacon. Yeah those are often also made of pork but they're smokier or spiced, so it hits different and I enjoy it more than regular ham. Throw some jalapeños on there and I'll wolf it down."
"This is the best answer. It seems that reddit hates pineapple on pizza for some reason, and yet obviously plenty of people love it since it's offered as a topping by every pizza place that exists."
"It's weird because I'd call pineapple a top 3 topping. Like if I was ordering pizzas for a big group and I was doing 3 types, I put pineapple on a bunch of them."
"It's extremely popular. I had no idea it was even supposed to be controversial."
According to Huffington Post, the top three are pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions.
If none of these are your favorite, not to worry. It's all just pizza anyways.
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Who doesn't love a delicious slice of pizza?
It's quite funny, you have to admit, to hear how passionate—even angry—people get over pizza toppings, particularly about pineapple on pizza.
If that bothers you, then you haven't really lived, have you?
You've never been, for instance, a pizza shop employee tasked with making an absurd concoction to the detriment of your sanity.
We heard all about people's strange pizzas (and the even stranger tastes that spawned them) after Redditor HiddenLayer5 asked the online community:
"Pizzeria workers, what's the most disgusting or ridiculous pizza someone has ordered?"
"Some lady didn't like the cheese turning brown as it cooked in the oven so she wanted her freshly made pizza microwave cooked instead so the cheese would still be the same color."
That crust must have been so soggy. Revolting. Can we not?
"But I was game."
"Almost 18 years ago, a guy wanted a pizza with every. Single. topping. I assured him it was a terrible idea. He said a friend lost a bet. It was a "gourmet" pizza place (Round Table) and salad bar toppings could be used as pizza toppings. But I was game. Many toppings had to be cooked separately, and placed on the pizza, to ensure health and safety. The pie had to weigh a solid 10 pounds (about 4 kg). It wouldn't fit in a standard box, so we had to franken-box it.
I worked at that place for several years and considered myself the custom order queen (I really enjoyed inventing off-menu items with customers) but that one was truly memorable."
You had me at "Franken Box." Of course that had to be the only way to make this monstrosity work!
"We used to trade pizza..."
"Worked at Little Caesars for a while. We used to trade pizza for tacos with our neighbor. They ordered an anchovy, pineapple, and jalapeño pizza. We didn't get a lot of anchovy orders so we loaded it with all of the anchovies and a ton of pineapple and jalapeños. It was this soggy mess and they loved it. Asked us to make it again the next time we traded. That pizza probably weighed 10 pounds."
The idea of a soggy pizza is horrifying to me. I need the texture of a nice, firm crust!
"Had a guy..."
"Had a guy that wanted triple black olives on thin crust. Worked at Domino's where thin crust is supposed to be cut into squares, but this guy wanted it cut into regular slices. We ended up making it three times because force of habit you just cut it into squares.
No one was eating those mistakenly made pizzas just straight into the trash."
Triple black olives sounds like... a bit much. The flavor would likely be overpowering (and I love olives).
"Someone legit called..."
"Worked at a pizza place where we offered delivery through a local third party that charged $10 for delivery. Worked at a higher-end pizza place so pizzas were kinda expensive but delicious.
Someone legit called one day and said "I'm allergic to gluten, garlic, and onions, and I'm vegan. What can I get?" I soooo badly wanted to say water and ice. But told her literally everything is made with at least one of those ingredients.
She ended up ordering 2 gluten-free pizzas with Daiya vegan cheese. No sauce no toppings no nothing. They looked so bad coming out the oven and since she wanted it delivered it cost her $57."
She paid $57 for THAT? People have truly lost their minds. I would never. My standards must be too high or something.
"Any time someone asks for anchovies on the pizza. And not the grossest but probably the weirdest pizza I've ever made was just alfredo sauce, extra cheese, and cashews. It was so weird making just a cashew pizza."
Cashews on a pizza?
Is this not a hate crime?
"I had to deliver pizza to a bunch of Italian American guys at Lamarque Ford in Mandeville, Louisiana. They would order so much garlic on the pizza that I had to open all four windows in my car because it was just too overpowering."
"The cut section..."
"One time a dude ordered a small sausage pizza with no cheese. The cut section sent it back after it came out the oven thinking it was a mistake, and they wouldn't take it back until I showed them the ticket."
I can understand the incredulity! Makes total sense to me.
"I worked at a movie theater where we made/sold pizzas. We had a regular for a bit, came in several times for a month or two, and asked if we could make a vegan pizza. We didn't have much to help him out, but we made wraps and things too. He settled on a pizza with no cheese, a bit of tomato sauce to cook in the oven with the dough. Then we added fresh (and cold) tomato/lettuce on top.
Saddest thing was that our dough came in balls, sized up to a large already (the only size we sold). He would end up paying for a full large pizza every time we made it for him, and then would only eat 2 slices."
This sounds so... wasteful.
"When I worked..."
"When I worked at Pizza Hut years ago we had a guy that regularly ordered a cheese lover's pizza with double extra cheese. As I recall it was something like 7-8 layers of cheese and required two trips through the oven. The man loved his cheese."
Well, I'm disgusted.
I would say pizza sort of needs cheese to be a pizza so some of these stories disturb me. But I'm pretty sure there are some worse pizzas out there.
Have some stories of your own? Have you eaten or known someone who ordered a truly revolting pizza? Feel free to tell us about it in the comments below!
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