Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


I love pizza. Hell, pretty much everybody loves pizza.

What’s not to love? Gooey cheese piled atop crusty bread. Some kind of tomato sauce and/or toppings may or may not be involved. Pizza is delectable.

For me, pizza is not just food - it is a part of my geocultural identity, given that I grew up in the village of Massapequa on the south shore of Long Island, where Italians were thick on the ground. What with the relatively large population of both Jews and Italians, it’s no wonder the place carried the sobriquet “Matzoh-Pizza.”

Massapequa Triptych

Even today, you can start a passionate discussion - perhaps even a fistfight - over which local restaurant served the best pizza forty years ago. Dick and Dora’s? Dino’s? The place at Sunrise Mall?

And no matter where you are, you can always argue about Pizza Details. Do you like a thin, crispy crust? Thick and bready? Kinda thin and floppy? Do you like massive or minimal amounts of cheese? What kind of toppings do you like - are you a plain cheese pie person or do you go for add-ons? Meaty standbys like pepperoni, meatball, and sausage compete with options such as bacon, Indonesian chicken satay, and duck confit... not to mention outliers like ham and pineapple, or the not-for-the-faint-of-heart anchovy. The vegetarians will face off over the issue of whether bell peppers, mushrooms, and spinach should be included.

Regardless, there is one thing upon which all pizza lovers will agree: Few things can spoil the pizza-eating experience more thoroughly than the Dreaded Pizza-Burn.

Cheese has a relatively high heat capacity, so when your pizza arrives in front of you fresh from the oven, you have to resist the temptation to just grab a slice and shove it into your Pie-Hole. If you don’t give that bad boy a chance to cool off a bit, you will immediately sear all of the flesh in your mouth. While that’s unpleasant enough, it gets even worse as the blistered skin of your palate sloughs off over the course of the next few days... a fresh reminder of your momentary Pizza Impatience.

Don’t ask me how I know this.

If you’re the masochistic sort who likes Pizza-Burn (I am sure such people exist, though I have never met any of them), be sure to load your slice up with crushed red pepper flakes. You can get your Pizza-Burn at both ends.

Don’t ask me how I know this.


Rahel Jaskow said...

Yee-ouch. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

I love pizza. And yes, I wait. And yes, I stay far away from the crushed red pepper flakes.

The Maximum Leader said...

Not asking...