Pizza and Purity [NOT 9/2/24]

People making pizza
Rocco Cuts a Pizza as His Mother Performs an Unidentifiable Task / Thomas D. Carroll / Paterson NJ / 9/2/1994 / source:

How Far Can You Go From The Ideal?

I recently had Detroit style pizza for the first time in a good while, and was reminded of A) how different it was from idealized NYC pizza and B) how much I like it.

If you haven’t had it, Detroit-style pizza has a thick crust where the cheese kind of soaks into the edges, but it’s not nearly as dense and loaded with sauce and cheese as Chicago deep dish. Try it!

When it comes to pizza, as long as the crust and cheese and sauce are good, gimme gimme! I’ve had Chicago deep dish, classic NYC slices, artisanal pizza from a wood fired oven from this guy‘s franchise, Trenton NJ tomato pies, Pizza al taglio in Rome, I like them all!

Are you an absolutist as far as pizza, or are you an omnivore?

Let’s Talk Purity

And as far as other questions of purity, dear Deadsplintermozzarellinis, do you have certain parochial lines you draw? Do you insist, for example, that Mozzarella must only be made from Italian buffalo milk, or will regular cow milk work for you? Must a Martini have gin and not vodka, and only an olive and not a lemon twist?

Must jeans be blue and not black, green, or purple, or for that matter only Levi’s and not Lee’s or Wrangler?

Where do you draw your lines, and where do you blur them? And if you find the entire point of this NOT to be pointless and chauvinistic, how might you change the boundaries of discussion to be more worthy of discussion? No right or wrong answers! Unless you’re sure that only some answers count!



  1. I draw the line at barbecue sauce or raw tomatos on a pizza.  I witnessed both in California, and let’s just say I no longer live in California and leave it at that.

    • …so…there was…no…is a chain in the UK called pizza hut…their idea of deep pan pizza is…not the full chicago deep dish, sadly…so it’s fairly middle of the road pizza top with about a half-inch or so of basically bread a little less dense than ciabatta for a base

      …I have definitely found a use for BBQ sauce in the course of consuming that sort of thing…but I wouldn’t dream of approaching a decent thin crust neapolitan kind of a pie that way?

      …the (sicilian?) kind in the sort of pans that have corners where the cheese is under the tomato I haven’t had in more than a handful of places…but there was one out coney island way that was good enough they only served it one way (no other topping choices beyond chilli flakes & maybe oil as I recall) but still had people queueing up

      …so…no BBQ sauce on *good* pizza I could get behind pretty easy…but…can’t claim to have only eaten good pizza in my time?

        • No bbq chicken pizza is a thing. A delicious thing.

          But I do think it only works as a thin crust pizza.

          Missing detail that might help – Midwestern bbq has a very sweet bbq sauce. Like either molasses or high fructose corn syrup based. So it works really well with the acidity of the red onion.

          • No.

            I can’t believe this. Y’all make a huge deal about the very deliciousness that is avocado with spaghetti whilst there are people running AMOK about corn syrup in bbq sauce and having the audacity to put it on pizza?

            There is only one syrup and it’s maple. GRADE A maple. And it sure as fucking hell neither goes in bbq sauce nor on pizza.


              • @hammerzeitgeist (edited version pending your approval)


                I can believe this. Y’all make a huge deal about the very deliciousness that is avocado with spaghetti whilst there are people running AMOK about corn syrup in bbq sauce and having the luxury to put it on pizza?

                There is only one syrup and it’s maple. GRADE A maple…unless, of course, it is made with corn. And it sure as fucking hell can go in bbq sauce and on pizza.

                But it’s not my bag!

    • Ouch. I have native New Yorker friends who now live in LA and no evening with them is complete without them all bitching about how horrible the pizza is. It is bad. Really, really bad. But that’s why God created sushi and burritos.

        • Oh no. And of course they’re in San Bruno. You ever fly into San Francisco? From the airport into the city, depending on how horrific the traffic is, you in your rental or your driver might take a leisurely tour of San Bruno.

          • I lived in SF for a short while. That’s how I know about the shushirrito. I was tempted to try it but never got around to it. And yes pizza generally fucking sucks on the West coast.

          • Hey now! All my wife’s cousins live in San Bruno.  It is a little weird but some nice homes.  Fun fact, they bought most of the city triple pane windows when they expanded the airport.  I want that!

            • I want that too! The planes, sea planes, and fucking army helicopters are so loud. They used to shake our windows in their frames. We replaced all the windows a couple of years after we bought our house. The sales person offered triple pane ones but we declined because of the added weight (we have big windows) and for fear that it would be more likely to fail over the years. There are moments when I regret that decision.

  2. I like lots if cheese. Marinated eggplant is a nice touch if you pick the right restaurant. I am déclassé in my pizza tastes. I don’t care for wood fired pizza, to me it is just an excuse for a charcoal bottomed crust.

  3. We just got a Detroit style pizza place near us, it is really good.  First time I had that style the place put arugula on it which seemed weird but was delicious.  I am of the opinion, if it tastes good, I will eat it.  One of the best pizzas I ever had was a wood fired pie with kim chee, jalapeños, pork belly, & goat cheese.  The place is called the Pine Box (on Pine St) but also a former mortuary turned taproom.  I am pretty sure my pizza saw dead people but was fucking delicious!

      • I’ve only had it with crummy ham and canned pineapple, and it’s awful. I wonder though if it’s possible to pull off somehow with top quality ham and fresh pineapple prepared right.

      • Brudduh, I have yet to see my boyfriend Danno from “Hawaii 5-0 ” eating any sort of pizza, so it’s obviously a fraud. Whenever they do eat, it’s takeout Chinese in the office.

        “Law & Order” does this too. Late nights, mulling over a difficult case, chopsticking their way through various scenarios. But that’s totally believable because Chinatown butts up against the vast court complex buildings and when you do jury duty, which I have done many, many times, one of the benefits of it is you usually get like a two-hour lunch break. So the savvy prospective juror, me, seeks out a court officer for dining tips.

        In fact, I might have been one of the first to react to Covid. To get down there, the way I do it, you have to walk through Chinatown. There had been reports of this strange virus coming out of Wuhan and several of the Asian residents were wearing masks. So I did the jury duty, we were packed in like, I don’t know what, and I wasn’t chosen, thankfully.

        So I was released and strolled around Chinatown looking for masks, but all the stores were sold out. I thought, “These people know something we don’t.”

        I returned to my neighborhood. I live near a medical supply storefront. They had a box of masks. The cashier laughed at me. “You’re falling for that crazy Chinese flu thing?”

        “I’ll be paying with this credit card. It’s a Visa.”

        • The irony of all of the abuse the New York Chinese American community faced in the early days of Covid is that they were masking up before the rest of NYC was. It was already common practice to wear masks for the flu both as a protection and as a courtesy for other people if someone felt a little off.

          But there were miserable jackals in the right wing media looking for scapegoats who pointed the finger at Chinatown, when they were the ones pushing people to treat masks as an effete affectation. And of course Murdoch was personally paranoid and made it a firing offense to skirt his Covid rules, even as he worked overtime to convince his audience that there was a giant liberal plot.

          Murdoch sure wanted to keep his audience scared and dependent on him.

  4. Whilst in NYC my favourite pizza is Chicago pizza. Whilst in Chicago my favourite pizza is NYC pizza.

    Neither of the two things I just stated are true but whilst in either place I say it is which basically tells you all you need to know about me.

    That said, deep dish pizza isn’t pizza. It’s a pie…but it’s not a pizza pie because the OG pizza pie was focaccia…dating back to the 1300s.

    Because “Detroit-style” pizza more closely resembles focaccia, the correct answer to the “what city’s pizza is better between NYC & Chicago?” question is: Detroit.

    All that said…if you haven’t had ACTUAL focaccia that my friend Frank in Woodbridge makes or the focaccia my friend Renzo in St. Leonard makes your opinion is invalid and you should stick to your deep dish Chicago and two-hand-slice NYC westernised crap!

      • Commonly the saying is when in Rome but I’m neither common nor in Rome so I say “whilst” the way a lot of English-speaking people from England say it? While in the US that suffix is like the “u” in “colour” which might be something about simplifying things for an American audience? I don’t know why Canadians can understand it but maybe it has to do with us learning our ABCs without needing it to rhyme?

          • …it’s sort of a funny one…like…there’s maybe some nuance to it

            …if you’re on the couch & someone’s on their way past something that would be handy but currently out of your reach you’d probably say “oh, while you’re up…”

            …but if you’re talking about a trip you took it would definitely be “whilst we were there we…”

            …like while is a current ongoing timeframe & whilst is one in the past

            • Whilst you’re up, fetch me a beer!

              Past & present. What do you know about English being from the UK? You can’t even pronounce the letter “r” and you fucking invented it.

              It’s WHILST. It is WHILST 100% of the time!

    • …once had a pretty tasty seafood pizza with neither cheese nor tomato…just chilli oil & calamaretti & scallops & such…so I’m not in the lawful good quadrant of the chart

      …but…white sauce?

      …& my feelings about broccoli are…well, even not on pizza I wouldn’t describe myself as a fan

      …so that’s at least two strikes out of three before I’ve even tasted the thing?

      • I’ve had good white pizza, but the tolerance levels are a ton narrower compared to tomato sauce. And broccoli for me is one of those things where the window between raw and overdone is awfully narrow. A lot narrower than steak.

        Trying to get those two together seems almost impossible.

  5. i tend to assume america destroys all it touches….so detroit style is probably wrong

    ….that dont bother me none if it taste good tho

    honestly…if its round oven baked and delicious… a pizza……unless its a quiche


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