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Monday, 30 July 2012

Food of the gods!


When the poor fare drove them to set their teeth
into the thin discs, the rest being eaten, and to break
the fateful circles of bread boldly with hands and jaws,
not sparing the quartered cakes, Iulus, jokingly,
said no more than: ‘Ha! Are we eating the tables too?’

                     -Virgil (Aeneid (Book VII, 112-116, 1st century BCE)
  There is something about a pizza that makes me smile almost always. I have no shame to admit that I have feelings for a delectable slice of pizza. As weird as that sounds, I find no shame in calling it the “Food of the Gods”.  At the risk of sounding like a 300 pound champion on diet, it is a fact that I anticipate, plan and argue the pros and cons of having pizza. There are endless discussions in my mind regarding calories, money and the fact that my trainer almost forbid me to have pizza, I almost always end up swaying towards this breaded delight more than anything else. There have been times where one pizza has constituted my breakfast (ummm cold pizza), lunch and dinner. Good times.
The other day I told my mother, rather seriously, that when I do kick the bucket, I would like my wake to consist of pizza; and why not? If people are congregating to mourn the loss of a loved one, they ought to partake in a meal that the deceased loved. Morbid I know, but so is death. Fact of life I say.
Mass produced and definitely inferior than the Italians intended, the pizza we eat today is not even the “real” one. It is like Indian food in the UK. All Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani food taste the same and not even close to the real taste. It is only fair that I venture a little bit into history to justify my eternal fascination with Pizza, and to be able to say, “As history is my witness……”
Flatbread covered in tomato sauce and toppings has been around since time immemorial in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine. In 16th century Naples, Italy, a Galette flatbread was called a pizza. Around 1843 Alexandre Dumas made this meal of the poor, famous. In June 1889, to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, the Neapolitan chef Raffaele Esposito created the "Pizza Margherita," a pizza garnished with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and basil, to represent the colors of the Italian flag. He was the first to add cheese.
Mediterranean focaccia, coca from Catalonia, Greek pita in Turkish are all derivations of the Pizza. Like dogs, designer bags or coffee, the “breed” of pizza is taken by the Italians rather seriously. The Neapolitans purists, like the famous pizzeria “Da Michele” in Via C. Sersale (founded 1870), consider there to be only two true pizzas — the Marinara and the Margherita — and that is all they serve. These two "pure" pizzas are the ones preferred by many Italians today.

So I have done an evaluation of what I am doing right now in my professional life, and have come to the conclusion that I ought to make it my life’s purpose to become a member of "Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana” (True Neapolitan Pizza Association). Founded in 1984, it is the organization to determine the quality of Pizza and is the last voice in which one is the best. Oh! What a wonderful, amazing job to have!; to test pizzas for a living.

Most pizza places in this wonderful country of ours are rather stingy with pizza toppings and quality, so when that day comes (again) and I am fed up with paying for pizza’s, where I can count the number of olives slices scantily thrown about like cheap confetti, I shall buy me a pizza base and ingredients, load it with toppings till there is not a space left and they fall over in the oven, and watch the tantalizing heat of the cheese bubble.

See now, this is the thing that dreams are made of ♥

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