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PICKING APART PIZZA

Lydia’s opinions on random things pt. 2
different+pizza+toppings
Karma Patey
different pizza toppings

Oftentimes, we hear people ask, “What is American culture?” in the context that we are a relatively new country and have collected most of our ideas from other cultures. Despite not actually being invented in America, I would say that I’ve uncovered our culture. Pizza.

But pizza comes with its own set of controversies: the toppings. Throughout America, there are different opinions of what really belongs on the perfect pizza and the occasions on which pizza should be eaten.

Pizza is probably one of the most debated foods in the country because we, as a society, cannot seem to agree on the best version of pizza. But do we even need to? I mean, it would be pretty boring if pizza stores only sold pepperoni pizza.

That being said, some toppings are more debated than others, such as the long-standing argument about pineapple or the debate about what type of cheese truly belongs on a pizza but, one thing is for sure: Pizza isn’t going to go away anytime soon.

 

Cheese

To start off, we have the most basic of all the toppings: cheese. While cheese alone can be a boring topping, it is the most important topping for differentiating the type of pizza. When it comes to cheese, there are three main factors that impact the end result of the pizza.

Stretchiness, melting ability, and browning ability. The most common cheese used on pizza is a mixture of mozzarella and cheddar, and this, while basic, is my personal favorite. The reason for this is that mozzarella (shredded) has a high melting point and does not split at high temperatures, while cheddar browns nicely and contributes to the overall appearance. This combination results in a less-oily pizza that is perfectly melted.

Some pizzas will also use cheeses such as parmesan, gouda, and ricotta, and while, if used right, they can be delicious, they lack the ability to melt evenly and stretch when pulled apart.

Cheese is absolutely essential on pizza, and when paired with other toppings, it makes for the perfect pizza; however, a pizza with only cheese is often boring and anticlimactic. Because of this, cheese must be rated in two parts.

Cheese pizza alone is a very popular choice, but honestly, it lacks any interesting flavor combinations. Plain cheese pizza is generally the go-to because it is predictable and sold at any pizza store. Because of this, it only receives 1.5 stars.

For cheese as a topping, however, it easily gets a 5-star rating as it is arguably the cheese that makes the pizza. People can argue about pizza toppings all they want, but the one thing they agree on is that cheese (whatever kind it may be) is vital to a good pizza.

Rating: 5 stars

 

Olives

Olives hold a lot of controversy in our society. Some people hate them, and some worship them. Only 34% of people in the U.S. are likely to order olives on their pizza, and I think that this is for good reason. An olive has a very distinct flavor that is well paired with more acidic dishes but poorly paired with dairy.

There are many people, such as myself, who enjoy olives on some things and refuse them on others. Pizza is one of these things. Including olives on pizza doesn’t necessarily ruin the pizza entirely, but it also does not contribute to its betterment. For this reason, it seems counterintuitive to use olives as a topping when things like tomatoes and basil are much more fitting for the flavor profile of pizza.

In general, olives are mostly ignored and only included on ⅓ of pizzas around the country. They are almost exactly at the center of the scale, and to continue their mediocrity, I give them 2.5 stars.

Rating: 2.5 stars

 

Pineapple

The long-standing battle of ‘does pineapple belong on pizza?’ will probably never be answered. People continue to debate whether pineapple is good or if it creates a soggy and strange pizza. From a purely statistical point of view, 59% of people have a positive reaction to pineapple on pizza.

This is strikingly high for such a controversial topping, as only 6% of Americans reported pineapple as their #1 least favorite topping. But when compared to the population of the U.S., which is 19,914,000 people, that must count for something, right? Well, not really.

Despite the 19% of pineapple haters, it’s strange to argue about a primarily enjoyed topping. It seems that this is just a standard case of negative opinions being louder than positive ones. While pineapple haters can have validity to their argument in some cases, usually the quality of the pizza is the factor that determines if the pineapple causes sogginess, not the pineapple itself.

At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal preference and circumstance whether to get a pizza with or without pineapple, and no one needs to be shamed for leaning either way. I mean, when did asking about pineapple on pizza become a first-date question?

Because I feel that the argument against pineapple is not very strong and that pineapple does, in fact, have a time and place, I give it 3 stars.

Rating: 3 stars

 

Pizza has evolved throughout our history and is one of the most commonly eaten foods in America. In 2023, when asked, 60% of Super Bowl fans mentioned getting pizza as their takeout dinner to celebrate. That’s over a million pizzas.

Pizza is easy to make, convenient, and cheap. All of America’s favorite qualities.

 It is also widespread, with 98% of Americans eating pizza on a semi-regular basis.

I would rate pizza as a topic a 4.5 because, overall, pizza has managed to remain one of America’s favorite foods for decades and has improved (mostly) throughout the years. It has a huge variation in toppings such as squash, meats, seafood, and more, and it is a staple in many cities. One would think that we would run out of things to put on a pizza, but so far, they just keep coming.

Rating: 4.5 stars

About the Contributors
Lydia Becker, Reporter
Karma Patey, Illustrator
the dude who draws the things who isn't the other one