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The most popular pizza. August 7, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in recipes, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. When I last opened my e-mail, I saw an ad for Domino’s pizza, featuring, of course, a photo of a pizza. You could see plenty of veggies on the pizza—green peppers, mushrooms—as well as the usual pepperoni. Of course, this started me thinking.

Veggies add color hits to a pizza photo, but do people actually order them on their pizzas? I was willing to bet my last slice of Papa John’s Garden Fresh Pizza that when push came to shove, they went for pepperoni. Or maybe pepperoni and sausage. I turned to my good friend Google to find out more.

Mind you, I’m not throwing stones here. Before I became a vegetarian, my favorite pizza toppings were pepperoni, anchovies and black olives—with plenty of extra salt on every bite. (Now they’re black olives, onions and mushrooms, but still with added salt.)

I was just curious, especially after reading an article recently that noted that the more fast-food chains added “healthy” options to their menus, the more it drove business—right to the good old burgers, fries and shakes or whatever. Apparently, just seeing salads and whatnot on a menu is enough to make customers feel good about ordering a quadruple cheeseburger with supersized fries and a 90-ounce soda. Was the same true for pizzas?

Well, boy, did I find out more than I was asking for. An article on a site called TLC Cooking showcased favorite pizza toppings around the world. Oh, my. I guess the plus side is that pizza has taken off worldwide. But those toppings!

Mind you, if you’re willing to expand your definition of “pizza” to a hot flat bread with toppings, the possibilities are already out there in abundance. I’ve enjoyed hot garlic naan (a flat Indian bread) or Greek-style pita (a bit more like naan, i.e., spongier, than classic Middle Eastern pita) topped with a little butter, crumbled feta cheese, and a sprinkle of dried thyme, oregano, or mint many times. Simple but satisfying!

And of course hot pita wedges topped with hummus and chopped kalamata olives, green olives, crumbled feta, and/or roasted red peppers is supremely yummy. (Try it with white bean/garlic “hummus,” salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, and just the least squeeze of fresh lemon juice for an out-of-this-world experience!) Many cultures have their own favorite topped flatbreads; “pizza” seems to be a universal favorite worldwide, quick, yummy, and easy to eat.

But let’s get back to the TLC article, which focused on actual Italian-style pizzas with out-of-this-world toppings. If you live in Japan, the most popular pizza toppings are eel, squid, and Mayo Jaga (a combination of bacon, potato, and mayonnaise). If you’re in Brazil, you’ll order your pizza topped with green peas; in Costa Rica, with coconut. In Pakistan, you’ll top yours with curry (that sounds good to me!); in India, with pickled ginger, minced mutton, and paneer cheese.

In Australia, no surprise, the favored toppings are shrimp (doubtless hot off the barbie), pineapple, and barbecue sauce; in France, bacon, onion, and fresh cream. In Russia, you’d be ordering these toppings: mackerel, sardines, red herring, onions, tuna, and salmon (hey, no caviar?). And in the Netherlands, it would be the “Double Dutch”—double meat, double cheese, and double onion.

So what about the good old US of A? To my astonishment, the article said that America’s choice was a pizza topped with pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, and extra cheese. I guess those Domino’s people had done their market research before taking that pizza photo!

As for who’s the most popular pizza purveyor in the States, according to Google it’s one I’ve never even heard of, CiCi’s Pizza. They don’t have those here in scenic PA, or anywhere else I’ve ever been. I guess I’ll have to stick to Pizza Hut’s Veggie Lover’s Pan Pizza, with its yummy, crunchy crust, and, when I’d like a lighter treat, Papa John’s Garden Fresh Pizza (with the thin, crispy crust and no fresh tomatoes) for now.

Of course, I could simply make my own. I don’t make my own crust, but I do make my own dense, rich, veggie-laden spaghetti sauce, and when I have leftover sauce, it’s a great pizza topping. I buy a crust, spread it with olive oil and pesto, then layer on the sauce (full of onion, mushrooms, green pepper, garlic, zucchini, herbs and spices, red wine, and of course tomatoes and tomato paste), top it with a yummy mix of shredded cheeses, Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper, and into the oven it goes! Oh, yum.

Looks like most Americans don’t just order plain cheese, pepperoni, or pepperoni and sausage, after all. I guess I’ll have to give that last slice of Papa John’s Garden Fresh Pizza to our friend Ben. When you order pizza, what do you top it with, and who do you get it from?

‘Til next time,




1. Huma - August 8, 2013

Sorry Elly, my favorite is very thin crust sea-food pizza which I can get even here in a little French Restaurant literally across the building from where we live. And of course with plenty of crushed red pepper.

Eeww eeww eeww, seafood pizza, yikes! Seafood’s flavor is so delicate that lemon and butter is enough. But then, seafood gratins have been popular for centuries, and that’s basically what a seafood pizza is (plus a crust). The thin, crispy crust and restraint in the toppings is what makes me enjoy Papa John’s pizza, too.

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