America has had a long, sensuous, passionate, intimate, debauched, decadent, degenerate, perverted, raucous and tender (today’s Eighty-Four Glyde is sponsored by Thesaurus.com. Motto: Why use one word people do understand when you can use three that people don’t?**) love affair with pizza that goes way back in the annals of history. Let’s reminisce, shall we? History can be quite interesting, and…historically accurate.
Star date: December 8, 16.15, during the first Thanksgiving, Squanto, the famed time-traveling Patuxet warrior from beyond the 8th Dimension, arrived at the feast with what many believe to be the first pizza known to the white man in America. He would not tell the Pilgrims from whence the pizza originated, but did tell them to “Always avoid the Noid”. This proto-za was different from the pizza we know and devour today. Firstly, it was in the shape of a double helix, instead of the more modern “circular” shape, or its disgraceful younger cousin the “rectangular” shape. Instead of tomato sauce, it used moose blood, the cheese was camembert, the sausage was rabbit pellets and the basil was poison ivy. It was not well-received.
Fast forward to the 1980s, (okay, I’m sure some other pizza-related stuff happened in those centuries I’m glossing over, but come on gang, we all took ‘Pizza History and Appreciation’ in college, right? That shit has been covered to death!) the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came along and rekindled this country’s love-affair with the flattest of foods. This decade also saw the emergence of pizza “restaurants***” that will deliver pizza to domestic dwellings! Imagine a world before pizza delivery. You probably can’t, because you’re not old and most old people don’t read the nonsense I spew anyway and even if they did, the Alzheimer’s will take care of that pesky memory thing.
Besides home-delivery, other forms of pizza businesses came into being. From companies that sell pizza-making kits for customers to personalize at home, to companies selling frozen pizzas for customers to cook at home. There is also the option of having pizzas delivered to the homes of unsuspecting chumps. Truly, these are the salad days we live in.
But for me, the weirdest pizza-selling concept comes straight out of Colorado (if they do this other places, please keep that info to yourself, this is not a thing to be proud of). There are pizza places, in the vein of a Dominos, or Pizza Hutt, or a Panuchi’s, or what-have-you, but instead of delivering hot, gooey deliciousness, at these places you go in, (Or to the drive-up window? I have no clue, the whole thing is so confounding to me that my brain shuts down.) and you purchase a frozen pizza, to go home and cook yourself.
“But Josh,” says the straw man replier I’m crafting, “what’s wrong with that? They sell frozen pizzas at grocery stores. What’s the difference? Maybe this is more convenient for the customer. Ever thought of that smart guy?! Huh? Have you?! God you make me sick!”
It’s true, grocery stores do sell frozen pizzas. But they don’t just sell frozen pizzas. They sell all types of crap, like Karo syrup and dog food (that’s basically it though). The point is that they diversify the products because just focusing on frozen pizzas is a bad business model. But that’s not even my main beef with a frozen pizza drive thru. It’s that people keep trying to explain that it is very convenient for people who are short on time. This logic really makes me wonder what’s in they put in the water in that state. You know what’s even more convenient then buying a frozen pizza? Buying one that’s already been cooked! Witchcraft, I know, but we have the technology. Hell, we’re practically a step away from putting ovens in the delivery cars so they can cook the pizza on the way over to your crib, thereby making the process even faster.
Great, now that we’ve covered the history and the many eclectic ways a person can go about purchasing a pizza, let’s get into the real reason I wrote this thing: toppings.
I couldn’t even try to list all possible topping options and combinations. Nobody can. Get me Stephen Hawking, Deep Blue and a couple of Super Crays, and it’d still take longer than Betty White running a marathon to even cover a quarter of the variations of things you can put on a pizza. (Speaking of which, hey Canada! They’re called TOPPINGS for a reason. Stop hiding them under the cheese!) My personal favs are pepperoni, green peppers, onions, sausage, and…that’s it, I’m a simple man of humble desires, (also, I don’t need all those things on a pizza at once, they’re my go-to for different combinations.) There are many other things you can put on a pizza, but I’d judge you harshly if you did.
I mention that to mention this. If there is one single, steadfast rule of ordering toppings on pizzas, it’s that you must please the masses. I can’t tell you how many parties, orgies, lacrosse games, cotillions, bar mitzvahs and funerals I’ve been to where the selection of pizzas always include a few with weird shit on them, like pineapple and prosciutto, or asparagus and durian, or peas and potatoes. When I see layouts like that, I know that the person who ordered the pizzas wasn’t trying to altruistically open up our minds with new flavor combinations, they were just ordering the kind of pizzas they like so they get a whole pizza to themselves. I see through your shit anonymous pizza orderer! And it both disgusts and frustrates me. It’s a simple problem, with a simple solution. Depending on the number of diners, the ratio remains the same, but the amount of pizzas purchased changes. It’s a simple 1 x 1 x 1. 1 meat pizza, 1 cheese pizza and 1 veggie pizza. There’s no need to get any more complicated or fancy than that. Pizza is a simple comfort food, it’s not a food where you order weird ass toppings to show how cultured and hip you are.
Save that for hot dogs.
*Made In China.
** Fun Fact: there is no synonym for pizza.
***No tables, no chairs, is it even possible to “dine-in” at a Papa Johns? I’m going to walk into one of them one day and place an order for here, then sit on the bench and eat an entire damn pizza in front of their greasy teenage faces.