AMERICAN EATS
The History Channel
10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific, 9 p.m. Central

Order a pizza in and get ready to watch. Or set the TiVo and go out for a pie. From the "New York Times":

The migration of pizza westward — from southern Italy to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles — is the story of mutation, innovation, perversion. And in spite of the documentary's wonderfully nonjudgmental narration, viewers will find it hard not to take sides.

Midwestern deep-dish types tend to see coastal pies as too wan or too fancy. Californians like their Spago-era artworks all fusioned and deluxe; I imagine they silently believe that other kinds of pizza are only for fat people. New Yorkers, who are fundamentally right on this subject, know they have the real thing.

Or almost. One thing this documentary does well is show how importation is always transformation: even when Gennaro Lombardi, the founding father of American pizza, opened his shop on Spring Street in SoHo a century ago, he was tampering with tradition. He had to use local tomatoes, explains the voice-over, "instead of San Marzano tomatoes grown in the volcanic soil of Mount Vesuvius." And atop the local tomato sauce he melted ordinary cow cheese, instead of the distinctive Italian mozzarella made from water-buffalo milk.

'American Eats' Offers the True American (Pizza) Pie [New York Times]

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