April 10, 2020. On our fourth day in lockdown, I made pineapple pizza from what I have scavenged from the refrigerator — pieces of Middle Eastern flatbread, tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, green bell pepper, canned pineapples, and frozen hotdogs.
Judge me! But before you do, you might want to review your food history.
Pizza first materialized as a Neapolitan peasant food.
Between the 1700s and early 1800s, Naples thrived as a waterfront city notorious for its throngs of working poor. In response to the need for an inexpensive food that could be consumed quickly, the Neapolitans created pizza — a flatbread with various toppings and sold by street vendors and informal restaurants. Source: History.com
Pizza later rolled on to various regions in Italy. When the Italians began immigrating to the United States, pizza spread throughout the Americas and the rest of the world. As pizza traveled from region to region, the toppings evolved as locals adapt the Neapolitan food to local flavors.
Therefore, to hate on pineapple pizza is to hate on the flavors of another person’s land.
Granted, the infamously despised pineapple pizza did not originate from the tropics (where pineapples grow in abundance). Neither did it originate from Hawaii, contrary to this pizza flavor’s namesake.
In 1962, Sam Panopoulos, a Greek who moved to Canada created Hawaiian pizza as an experiment to expand the offerings in his Satellite Restaurant in Chatham. The sweet and sour fruit topping became a hit among his patrons.
Pineapple pizza remains because it has demand. At present, pineapple ranked 9th among the favorite pizza flavors in an analysis of pizza orders from thousands of restaurants in the US and Canada.
My first encounter of an online hatred for pineapple pizza came from a tweet from Gordon Ramsay. The celebrity chef whose rise to fame relies strongly on food snobbery. The same chef the Italians vilified for putting oil on pasta water.
“Pineapple does not go on top of pizza,” he tweeted. Internet chaos ensued!
With the Coronavirus hovering around, this is not the time to hate on pineapple on pizza. Be extra creative with your limited access to food.