Someone once said, “You are what you eat.” It’s my considered opinion that individual was an idiot. I believe it can be scientifically proven that I am not composed of tuna salad—something I’ve consumed more of in my lifetime than probably any other type of sustenance. So, let’s please dispense with that ridiculous aphorism. Like so many things, it sounds good . . . until you think about it . . . which is something I recommend in all cases.
But I’ve digressed before I’ve begun. I’ve pre-digressed. The misguided and inappropriate behavior we’re to discuss this week has been on my list for quite some time. Perhaps I’ve avoided it because of the potential controversy—not that the Curmudgeon fears the controversial; indeed, each week, I fully expect to lose some readers as they become outraged by my rightly intolerant stance on one thing or another. So far, you’ve proven quite the stubborn lot. This week, however, I expect I may spark enough outrage to trigger a mass exodus from my mailing list. Nevertheless, I must speak the truth.
Pineapple does not belong on—or indeed, anywhere near—pizza. Yes, I’ve said it. This is not a negotiable thesis as they are mutually exclusive foods. Alone, they are delightful. In combination, they are disgusting. And that, as they say, is that.
The offensive pairing was invented in 1962 by pizzeria owner Sam Panopoulos—a Canadian originally from Greece, which is enough to confuse anyone—as a stunt designed to attract customers to his restaurant. “We just put it on, just for the fun of it, to see how it was going to taste,” said Panopoulos, “We were young in the business and we were doing a lot of experiments.” Experiments.
When the Curmudgeon was a child, I remember putting dirt in my soup. It was an experiment. It didn’t taste good, so I abandoned that particular culinary technique at once. Such should have been the fate of the pineapple pizza. But no, people ran with it. Maybe they were trying to be antiestablishment, or ironic, or interesting, like those dolts who have snakes as pets and take them everywhere. Regardless, in their desperation for . . . something . . . these adherents convinced themselves that this horrid combination of tomato sauce, melted cheese, and heated fruit was desirable. And now, there are people who select it from menus and insist they enjoy it. These people are deserving of our sympathy, as someone has clearly hypnotized them and removed their taste buds.
Fruit has no place in any savory dish. (I’ve held my tongue regarding sweet-and-sour Chinese entrées because . . . well . . . if I started calling out the bafflingly weird offerings of other cultures I'd hardly know where to begin. I certainly don’t understand the appeal of Sumo wrestling. Or kilts. Or yodeling.) But pineapple on pizza is chaos; it’s anarchy. We may as well put hot tangerines in our meatloaf, or raisins in our fettuccini Alfredo. How about a nice chicken pot pie with bananas? What the hell; maybe it works both ways. Let’s add some braised tofu to our peach cobbler while we’re at it, or top our apple pie with sushi.
Your Curmudgeon only asks for some small shred of order in this world—a sense that there are at least some rules that are sacrosanct as we head ever closer to the complete erosion of civilization, hurtling down a highway that leads away from reason, decorum, and good taste. Pineapple pizza, I’m afraid, is a sign of the end. And we missed the exit back in 1962.