Reaching in to the Slice mailbag, we've got ...
Egg on pizza? No way. I'm sorry, I think I am just too old school. Using the Pizza Cognition Theory and my memory as best I can, my family lived on Ocean Avenue and Avenue J in Brooklyn from 1958 to 1961. Avenue J was our main shopping area. As a young child I had my first and maybe the first in the area slice of pizza at what is now Di Fara. I remember the owners were Italian and right from Italy. I can still remember eating a hot slice right out of the oven on a cold winter day and getting pizza mouth. From that day I have been hooked on pizza.
But back to old school; to this day the only thing I would put on pizza is onion, and not caramelized. As time has gone on I see where pizza has become a depository for everything in the fridge or where pizza places can make a few extra dollars. Putting all kinds of toppings on pizza, I feel, just dilutes and disguises what pizza really is.
And white pizza? Come on! Pizza is about crust, cheese, and sauce.
When we start talking about toppings it reminds me of bagels. Is a blueberry bagel really a bagel? Sun-dried tomato bagel?
I have always considered myself somewhat liberal, but at the end of the day I guess I am just a purist and "old school."
Just give me a good "Slice," hot out of the oven, the hotter the better. Cold pizza? for college mornings.
Sincerely, Alan M.
------------------------------------------------------------ Dear Alan,
Thanks for taking the time to write in. I'm sure there are many old-schoolers reading this now. You are their champion.
Given that it's Slice's birth month, I'll do some reminiscing myself. When I started the site, I was pretty much a purist, too, and routinely avoided toppings beyond my favorites — sausage-and-onion (not caramelized; I'm with you there), maybe pepperoni. But after years of eating pizza in the service of this beast of a website, I started to get a little tired of plain pies. I know the toppings aren't for everyone, but I've happily joined the explore-it-all camp. Sometimes you find something amazing.
As for white pies, personally I find it depends on what it is. There's the old-school corner-joint-pizzeria white pie, which has no sauce and often is only mozzarella, ricotta, and pepper — and then there are white pies that are "white pies" by virtue of having no tomato sauce but that might be wildly different from the old-school white pies (think: the brussels sprout pizza at Motorino, which combines both things you rail against here). As Cosimo Tiso of Louie & Ernie's in the Bronx pointed out when I talked to him earlier this year, "You either grew up eating white pies or you didn't. If you didn't, it's not your thing."
I'm afraid I didn't grow up eating the old-school white pies, so I rarely order them. They're not my thing.
Anyway, just my two cents. Thanks again for taking the time to write!
Hasta la pizza, Adam